The U.S. Travel Association concluded that 464.4 million single-traveler domestic business trips were taken in 2019. Although business travel dipped during the pandemic, reaching a low of 185 million trips in 2020, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses have begun to attract business travelers once again. Business travel demand is gradually increasing each year, and the USTA anticipates that single-person business trips will reach 457 million by 2024.
As corporate transient travel picks up, hoteliers, sales directors, and revenue managers are working hard to attract business travelers, often facing stiff competition from their comp set. In this blog post, we discuss uncovering business travel demand, capturing new business, appealing to travel managers, and a variety of strategies and tips for boosting business travel.
Discover effective ways to attract business travelers and captivate travel managers
14 strategies hotels can use to attract more business travelers
- Streamline the click-to-click online booking process.
- Ensure your website is accurate, high-quality, and easy to navigate.
- Host site tours, networking events, and local business meetings; invite the community.
- Launch an online campaign showcasing your hotel’s best business-friendly features.
- Include content that appeals to business travelers in social media and brand campaigns.
- Partner with the Chamber of Commerce to host a local or regional event.
- Offer shuttle service to area businesses.
- Advertise exclusive perks for locally-negotiated accounts (early check-in, complimentary laundry, or valet parking).
- Create an advertising campaign targeting business travelers with personalized discounts and offers.
- Support local companies at ribbon cuttings, fundraisers, and other events.
- Attend networking events with area business leaders to foster local connections.
- Run video and search ads that target business travelers directly.
- Send retargeted advertisements to prospective guests who visited your hotel site but didn’t make a reservation.
- Market your hotel as the perfect destination for bleisure travelers. A booming business travel trend, bleisure travel (business + leisure) demand continues to grow. In a 2019 survey conducted Great Hotels of the World, 75% of respondents confirmed they had extended a business trip for leisure in the last year. In fact, most respondents had done so more than once.
How to capture the attention of travel managers
In addition to targeting transient travelers directly, hotels can attract business travelers by successfully connecting with travel managers.
- Identify target travel programs and buyer corporations to improve lead visibility. Travel managers have the ability to peruse hotel accommodations in a flash through supplier networks, global distribution systems, and preferred venue directories. Facing so much competition, hotel sales and revenue managers work hard to put their marketing dollars and revenue efforts where they matter most. Target travel managers that manage high volumes of travel in your area; be where the buyers are.
- Schedule RFP season prep and post-season analysis each year. Bring the sales and revenue team together to analyze the previous year’s negotiated account performance. Did any accounts fail to meet their guaranteed room night minimum? Do any rates need to be increased? What did you learn this past year that will factor into your future negotiated rate strategy? Overestimating room night production for an account can result in missed room nights, or even cause hoteliers to turn down one RFP in anticipation of high performance in another.
- Beat the competition by responding first; steal market share by proactively targeting nearby companies that need accommodations. Are you responding to leads before the competition, or are they beating you to it? What is the comp set offering that your hotel can’t? What do you have to offer that other area hotels don’t? Track the competition’s wins, losses, and turndowns. Watch for drastic changes in ADR index rankings, especially if competing hotels are dominating in occupancy. This could indicate that a large piece of business travel was accepted at a minimal rate.
12 strategies to attract travel managers
- Target the right travel managers to improve your lead visibility.
- Enhance your hotel SEO efforts to boost SERP rankings and, in turn, exposure.
- Publish content on major global distribution systems.
- Serve retargeted advertisements to travel managers via Google Ads, YouTube, and other online channels.
- Use your proposal to show travel buyers how your hotel meets their exact needs.
- Improve your corporate travel sales strategy by keeping track of competitor bids and adjusting your bids accordingly.
- As with local accounts, offer perks, added amenities, or early check-in privileges for travelers.
- Limit your number of annual blackout dates.
- Offer complimentary shuttle service for guests booked under the negotiated rate.
- Promote flexible event and venue space. Offer virtual 3D photorealistic site tours and interactive floorplans travel managers can explore. Give them an opportunity to visualize what your property can offer.
- Offer double rewards points when travel managers book meeting space or guest reservations at their company’s previously-negotiated rate.
- Maintain a great reputation with all parties involed in your transient business. Word-of-mouth is a big player in tight-knit groups of travel buyers.
Cvent Transient: Where travel buyers are
Cvent Transient helps hotels win corporate transient business and manage it more efficiently. With Cvent Transient, hotels can:
- Discover more active transient buyers. 134K hotels received a Business Transient RFP in 2021.
- Close more transient RFPs. Transient helps chains and properties transform from passive recipients of RFPs to a proactive organization that targets and closes travel programs worldwide.
- Beat the competition. Using market insights from Cvent Transient Business Intelligence, the product showcases data from your hotel and competitive set to help you make better decisions during the RFP season and outsmart the competition.
Start attracting more business travelers to your hotel today.
Once you attract business travelers and loyal travel managers to your hotel, work hard to ensure guests are satisfied and look forward to returning. Remember, it's not just about bringing in the business — it's about keeping the business, too.
Next up, take a deep dive into the world of hotel advertising.