How to Get Corporate Guests To Stay At Your Hotel or Apartments
Corporate guests can provide an excellent source of regular business and have the potential to greatly boost your occupancy over periods that are less popular for leisure travellers. They also have a high on property spend.
Are you looking for software to increase corporate reservations?
How do you attract these corporate guests and ensure they stay with you every time they are in town? More importantly, how can you do this efficiently (and relocating your accommodation to outside the nearest conference centre is probably a little bit extreme!)
Aside from offering the obvious amenities (free Wi-Fi, a desk and a chair), there are some simple steps that could help you gain corporate guests with relatively little effort:
- Update your website and branding to appeal to corporate guests as well as leisure guests
- Make sure that the way that you take bookings, and the way that they can be checked, is “business friendly”
- Target whole companies at a time, and let their employees become your agents
I have included some links to the features of Elina PMS that could automate many of these tasks, making these changes even easier!
Whilst having an attractive website is likely to be impress both corporate and leisure guests, the content is an easy opportunity to show off your assets and target corporate travellers specifically. In the content, you must SHOUT ABOUT YOUR AMENITIES that are of particular interest to corporate guests.
An excellent way of doing this is to have a “Business Amenities” page on your website. Some examples of amenities that could be included on this sort of page are: complimentary printing, copy and fax facilities, extra-large work desks, cordless phones, electronic safes with space for a laptop, meeting spaces, and luggage storage.
The amenities that you list do not have to be things that are only offered to corporate guests, rather things that you think will be particularly valuable to them. I have even seen a hotel advertise its “plush terrycloth bathrobes” under its “key for business” section... Whist which of your amenities are “key for business” is debatable, making sure that you are showing off your assets is not!
Another key asset that you can show off is location. You may not be (or want to be) next to the nearest conference centre. However, it is important to make sure that you are advertising the assets that you have! Information as to how long it takes to get to nearby transport links, immediately gives corporate guests the information that they need, and may help to spike their interest. Additionally, a line on your website that says “near” or “close” to XXX station will help it to come up when a traveller searches for “hotels near to XXX station”.
Looking for a system to manage corporate bookings?
Corporate bookings are often made online, so ensuring that you have an excellent booking engine is essential. In addition to this, make sure that this is connected dynamically to your reservations calendar - repeat business is often likely with corporate guests, but if you lose their booking or double book their room they are pretty unlikely to come back. Once this is set up it should be easy to run, and will save you both time and effort!
In addition to this, people travelling for business often check their bookings on-the-go, and it is important to make sure that they have this information easily accessible. Email confirmations are a very effective way of doing this, as many corporate guests will check these on smart phones. Even better, why not send your guests an automatic welcome email a few days before they arrive? That way, they won’t have to hunt through their emails to find their booking with you!
Setting up automatic confirmation and welcome emails should be easy to do from within your PMS system, and could save you a huge amount of time. When you set up a welcome email, make sure that you reap the full benefits - take your chance to advertise any other products that you offer, and give your corporate guests useful information.
Another way of making sure that your corporate guests have easy access to their bookings is to build a guest lounge on your website or booking engine. It is also important to make sure that the guest lounge is linked to your PMS system so that you are aware of any changes that guests make. Getting them in the habit of going directly to your website may also encourage direct bookings in the future.
Looking for a system to manage company profiles?
Targeting companies as prospects
If you are going to put the effort into developing a relationship with a single corporate guest, why not upscale? Target the whole company! If a company has regular business commitments near to you, they are likely to need accommodation for their employees on a regular basis. So what steps can you take to tap in to this potential gold mine?
The first step is to create corporate accounts with a company, so that they are able to pay directly for their employees’ stay. Flexibility with this is KEY, some companies may prefer their employees to pay for themselves, or may be happy to pay for accommodation but not food and beverages. Strangely employees seem to hold on the champagne and caviar when this is the case. A PMS system with this capability should make setting this up take no more time than making a booking, allowing you to reap the benefits with very little effort!
Secondly, make it easy for the company to book on a corporate guest’s behalf. Many companies share PAs between several people, and they are often responsible for arranging business travel. If you ensure that this is a positive experience for them, they may be some of your most loyal customers. Some hotels even offer specific PA discounts or incentives - for example after making five bookings on behalf of their colleagues, they could receive a discounted stay for themselves! Again, a PMS system with corporate business capabilities should allow you to automate this easily.
Thirdly, getting in touch with a company and offering them a loyalty discount may greatly increase their bookings. Bearing in mind that travel budgets have been slimmed down by the recession, offering them a preferential price (with rewards for more bookings) may make a great difference. If a company feels that your accommodation is a safe bet in terms of amenities, and that they will be getting a good deal, this may improve their loyalty to you dramatically.
Corporate guests could be an excellent source of business, especially if you can attract an entire company. By taking a few simple steps, which should be supported by your property management system, you could win a reliable stream of business with minimal effort!
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