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Hotel events: Guide to increasing revenue

  Posted in Resources  Last updated 29/05/2024

What are hotel events?

Hotel events transform hotels into hubs of activity and excitement. These events range from elegant corporate conferences to vibrant weddings, each offering a unique atmosphere and a multitude of opportunities. At their most simple, they’re gatherings for connection, and at their best, they’re experiences that leave lasting impressions on hotel guests and attendees alike.

Events are a never-ending marketing opportunity and a major source of tourism. Any sensible hotel manager will be using events to inform their rates and their website content.

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Hotel event examples

Hotels as a whole are versatile venues, accommodating a diverse array of events. Each type of event brings its own unique vibe and set of requirements, and understanding these differences is key to successful management and hosting.

Here’s a few examples of the kinds of events your hotel should prepare for:

Conferences and meetings

These are staple events in the hotel industry. Ranging from small, intimate board meetings to large-scale international conferences, they often require technological support, such as high-speed internet and audiovisual equipment, alongside flexible seating arrangements.

Weddings

Weddings are hallmark events for hotels, known for their glamour and emotion. They demand meticulous attention to detail, from elegant banquet halls to customised catering and decor. Hotels can offer comprehensive wedding packages, including accommodation for guests, to make the event as seamless and memorable as possible.

Corporate events

These might include team-building retreats, product launches, or award ceremonies. Corporate events require a blend of professionalism and creativity, often needing spaces for both formal presentations and informal networking.

Exhibitions

Hotels hosting exhibitions must have ample space for displays, good foot traffic flow, and robust logistical support. These events are opportunities for businesses to showcase their products or services, attracting both industry professionals and the public.

Sporting events

Accommodating sports teams or hosting sports-related events, like post-match functions, requires understanding the unique needs of athletes and fans. For athletes, this may mean offering nutritious meal options, ample storage for equipment, and relaxation facilities. For fans, this could include offering special packages designed specifically for the event they’re attending.

Networking events

These events are all about connections. Hotels can create an inviting, relaxed setting with refreshments and comfortable seating to facilitate great discussions. These are often bundled up with other events and exhibitions, so if you’re planning a corporate event or exhibition, ensure that you have a space suitable for a post-event networking opportunity too.

Health and wellness retreats

An emerging trend in the hotel industry, these retreats focus on relaxation and rejuvenation. They might include yoga sessions, meditation workshops, and health-focused menus. Providing a tranquil environment along with wellness facilities can make these events a huge success. This is a great opportunity to make the most of on-site gyms and exercise spaces, as well as local natural splendour. Like networking events, health and wellness retreats often come bundled with lectures, talks and workshops.

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What does an event manager in a hotel do?

A hotel event manager plays a pivotal role in the orchestration of events within a hotel setting. Their responsibilities encompass the entire lifecycle of an event, from initial planning stages to execution and post-event analysis. This role demands a blend of creativity and meticulous organisational skills, ensuring each event aligns with the hotel’s standards and client expectations.

In hotel event management, the manager acts as a liaison between the hotel and the client, coordinating with various departments such as catering, housekeeping, and technical support to deliver a seamless experience. They must also manage budgets, negotiate with vendors, and handle any unforeseen challenges that arise during events. Ultimately, a hotel event manager is key to creating memorable and successful events that enhance the hotel’s reputation and guest satisfaction.

How to manage hotel events

1. Planning

Effective planning is the cornerstone of successful hotel event management. It involves setting clear objectives, choosing the right venue within the hotel, and determining the event’s format and content. Detailed planning ensures that every aspect, from guest flow to technology needs, is thoughtfully addressed well in advance.

Tip: Utilise digital event management tools. These tools can streamline the planning process, from scheduling to guest registration. They provide a centralised platform for tracking all event details, ensuring nothing is overlooked and enhancing collaboration among team members.

2. Budgeting

A crucial aspect of managing hotel events is maintaining a comprehensive and realistic budget. This encompasses all costs, including venue, catering, staff, and equipment. Staying on top of the budget throughout the planning and execution stages is essential to ensure profitability while delivering high-quality experiences.

Tip: Always include a contingency fund in your budget. Unexpected expenses are common in event planning. Allocating around 10% of your total budget for unforeseen costs can help you manage these surprises without compromising the event’s quality or going over budget.

3. Pricing & marketing

Developing a strategic pricing model is key to attracting the right audience while maximising revenue. Coupled with this is the need for effective marketing strategies, which might include digital advertising, social media promotion, and leveraging local partnerships, to ensure the event reaches its target audience and achieves maximum attendance.

Tip: Leverage social media for targeted marketing. Create engaging content that highlights the unique aspects of your event and hotel facilities. Use targeted ads to reach potential attendees based on interests, location, and other demographics to increase event exposure and bookings.

4. Hotel event staffing

The success of an event heavily depends on having a skilled and well-prepared team. This includes everyone from the event manager to catering staff and technical support. Proper training and clear communication of roles and expectations are vital to ensure smooth operation and excellent guest service.

Tip: Conduct role-specific training sessions. Before the event, ensure that each team member understands their responsibilities and how they contribute to the event’s success. This clarity in roles and expectations can significantly improve efficiency and service quality.

5. Safety and security

Ensuring the safety and security of all attendees and staff is paramount. This involves implementing strict security protocols, emergency preparedness plans, and compliance with health and safety regulations. Regular staff training in these areas is essential to handle any situation that may arise efficiently and effectively.

Tip: Conduct regular emergency response drills. Ensure that all staff are familiar with emergency procedures, including evacuation routes, first aid processes, and communication protocols. Regular drills help prepare your team to respond effectively in case of any emergency, ensuring guest safety.

Image representing hotel events

How to increase revenue with hotel events

Whether your hotel is located in a tourism hotspot and can capitalise on huge events like the Olympics, or it’s smaller and relies on worldwide occasions such as Valentine’s Day, there is always something you can repurpose to create promotions, drive bookings, and generate additional revenue. Both local and global events are constantly on the horizon to provide fresh opportunities every year.

There are a few ways you can use an event to boost the popularity of your hotel and adjust your rates, depending on the event in question and what your competitors are doing.

1. Make your hotel a source of information

It may simply be a case of writing a post on a local event, providing details, and FAQs. This will improve your SEO and attract potentially very thankful guests to your website.

Examples could include writing about a music festival and posting the location/directions, set times, regulations, and attractions. People looking to attend the event may find this information on your site and decide to book accommodation with you at the same time.

Doing your own research will also give you an idea of how many people are expected to attend and for how long, so you can optimise your occupancy and keep an eye on the rates of your competitors with a pricing intelligence tool.

2. Use event-inspired promotions and extras to attract bookings

Some events are universal, like Halloween or Christmas, and need no further explanation.

You can still boost your bookings by running themed promotions, offering specials, or adding topical extras to fuel the excitement of guests and capitalise on the fervour that always surrounds such occasions.

For example, on Halloween you might offer extras such as chocolate or other candy, or run a best dressed competition.

With a good pricing intelligence tool, you’ll know if your competitors are doing the same thing and adjust your strategy accordingly, meaning you’ll stay on par with similar properties.

3. Use social media to engage guests

Commonly the public will follow certain events on social media such as Facebook where they’ll have their own pages. Posting your own content on the event or mentioning it to your followers will connect your hotel to that event.

If you already have guests that are attending an event, encourage them to share their experiences of their stay via pictures and videos with your hashtag and the event’s hashtag.

This is a powerful form of marketing because everyone who views the posts will associate the pleasurable time at your hotel with the event. It will act as a recommendation, one of the most effective ways to influence travellers.

4. Create a Facebook event

More than 550 million people are using Facebook Events each month, meaning the potential to attract interest is quite high, even if your page itself is low on followers.

There are four benefits of creating an event page:

  • You easily invite guests from your friends list to the event
  • It makes your event discoverable to friends of attendees
  • People going to the event will get reminders prior to the event so they don’t forget
  • If you partner with anyone for the event, you’ll also have access to the traffic they bring in

It might seem obvious, but you need to be vigilant in promoting your event on your own page leading up to the date of occurrence. There are a few ways you can do this:

  • Create content to support the hotel event: Relevant and interesting content to engage viewers can work very effectively in getting people to sign up for your hotel event. When you post related content, always include a link to your event website or page.
  • Run a contest: To build awareness and interest in the hotel event you can hold a contest to give away free tickets or put people in a prize draw to be awarded on the day. This will further help broaden the reach of the event.
  • Use a shorter event name: Since 54% of Facebook users only use it through mobile, you want an event name that won’t be cut off on their screen.

Facebook allows you to create adverts specifically for hotel events. Use ads to target users whose preferences match your event, or people in the local area who aren’t already connected to you. You can also use retargeting on people who have shown interest but have not yet confirmed their attendance.

5. Targeted advertising

Planning for a hotel event in advance will go a long way to securing more bookings, and advertising prior to an event is one way of doing this. You can even do it via social media as explained here.

Pick a popular event that will be happening near you, e.g a theatre production, and create a Facebook ad that will redirect to your website every time it is clicked. It’s vital to define your audience first, so you know who to target and convert as many visitors to bookers as possible.

However, before you do this you need to be equipped to accept direct bookings from all this traffic. Without a functional, integrated booking engine, like SiteMinder’s booking engine, or an optimised website, there’ll be no point.

6. Respond to market demand for increased revenue

Events usually create an influx of tourists and a big opportunity for hotels to capacitate 100% occupancy.

Naturally, some serious revenue will follow – but you need to be aware of your competitors’ rates and occupancy levels to ensure you are staying competitive and offering value for money.

Using SiteMinder’s insights feature will allow you to know when other hotels have increased or decreased their rates and when their availability has reached zero. This enables you to optimise your rates at all times for more bookings and consistently high revenue.

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of SiteMinder, the leading technology provider delivering hoteliers unbeatable revenue results. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at SiteMinder. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance and value for accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations achieve their goals.

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