Many hotels miss out on the opportunity for capturing the corporate travel crowd when marketing their rooms and services. By appealing to business travelers, you have guests who tend to be more frequent, loyal, and less price-conscious than leisure travelers. Because of the nature of their needs and expectations, marketing to business travelers should be handled differently than other guests. Below are a list of tips for marketing your hotel to those booking business travel.
Many business travelers take numerous trips in a year. A personalized relationship gives your hotel that “home away from home” feeling. When they’re on the move from airports to meetings, guests like to be remembered. Personalize your relationship by remembering their preferences: what room they like, whether they have the paper delivered, or preferences for certain options and amenities (more about these later).
Develop corporate relationships
Building a relationship with businesses - especially those within the company who manage travel arrangements - is a key way to ensure your hotel is at the top of the list when it’s time for an employee to travel. Oftentimes, travelers can only stay at approved accommodation options, so having a relationship with the company itself means your hotel will make the cut.
Connect with local businesses
Be sure not to overlook local businesses when looking to bring in business travelers. Not only may they have remote workers or other office locations, with employees traveling to visit, but they also may be asked for hotel recommendations when their partners/customers/affiliates come for meetings and need a place to stay.
Making it easy for business travelers to accomplish as much as possible without needing to search nearby for what they need, is an easy way to keep them happy and returning to stay with you again. Things such as coffee, reliable internet access throughout the hotel, a full-service business center (for printing, scanning/copying, desks, and even computers), airport pick up and drop off, and plenty of plugs for charging electronics, can make your guests’ lives much easier and more efficient during their stay.
Automated services are gaining popularity in the hotel industry across the globe. Self-service empowers your guests to move at their own pace, while maximizing resources used by your hotel itself. Things such as digital entry (where the entry “key” for the guests’ room is via mobile app), mobile concierge services (which allow guests to book services or make requests via app or text message), and automated room assignments (which select a room based upon preferences, freeing up your staff from searching for options) allow a more streamlined approach to the overall process and experience of the guests’ stay.
Time is precious for business travelers. Often they have spent a lot of it moving from one place to another - home, airport, taxis or shuttles, etc. - before arriving to check in and rest (or run to their next appointment). A swift process such as online/mobile check-in, collecting all necessary data and processing payments before the guest even arrives, will keep them happy. Consider also having a flexible policy for check-in/out times for business travelers, to help them avoid gaps in their schedule, making their life easier and building loyalty.
Business travelers are more likely to visit frequently than leisure travelers. Loyalty programs are a great way not only to collect additional data for marketing, but to encourage and incentivize repeat stays or activities such as writing reviews or sharing your hotel on social media.
Constantly check what your guests prefer and what would they like you to improve
It is always helpful to encourage feedback from your guests. There is no better way to truly understand what is going well (and what may need improvement) than by hearing it from guests directly. Encourage feedback face-to-face while travelers are still at your hotel, and be sure to check review sites to see what they share after leaving.
All travelers have one thing in common: they all want to be comfortable when they stay at your hotel. Things like hair dryers, ironing boards, full-length mirrors, and the availability of toiletries such as razors and toothbrushes in case they forgot to pack them, are great ways to ensure their comfort. If you don’t have a fitness center, spa, or restaurant on-site, consider partnering with local businesses for discounts or priority bookings on your guests’ behalf.