Establish immediate Sales & Catering virtual staffing and phased onboarding of remaining Group & Catering sales team.
Immediate Rooms Need During Crisis– target local contacts who are booking.
First Responders- Healthcare and others distancing from family by isolation in hotels during service and exposure.
Historically Local Business/Groups Returns First- “Recovery Period”
Smaller Regional Events- drive market up to 5 hours vs. flying. (post 911)
Small Catering Business
Meeting Size you will see 30-50 room peak will be business that returns (post 911).
Shorter meetings and booking window recover business.
Predominantly local and regional market recover first.
Don’t expect larger group business to return soon.
Video conferencing will reduce the size of meetings we see in 2020 and well into 2021+.
Groups will remain smaller to include virtual coverage for remote attendees.
Too soon to know but at best expect to see larger group blocks booking/rebooking now for 2021 or later.
Future of Group Meetings-
Smaller but meetings will not go away. Will see virtual incorporation for virtual attendance.
Attendance will shrink for existing contracted meetings until attendees feel comfortable to return. Virtual attendance will be a prime growing contributor to in person meetings.
Education meetings will be impacted may see more virtual meetings. Now Universities are going virtual 100% they see this continuing after recovery period
Cancelled or Rescheduled Group- Reporting & Policy
Track by cancelling all cancelled definite- regardless of their intent to rebook.
Better tracking reporting when Leadership & Owners request data.
COVID18- all rescheduled groups create a new booking. (add a code in Delphi to indicate “Rebook” to track rebooked related to COVID19).
Establish clear written policy applying to rebooking, deposit credit and Sales to be able to clearly communicate this verbatim, and in writing.
Clause protecting new bookings should COVID19 government restrictions prevent meeting to occur on booked dates. Include extension of period group can rebook. Seeing through 2021 with no penalty but no return of deposit 100% credit.
Canceled meetings often are annual. Rebook meetings now for next year to lock in dates.
Inventory for later in 2020 is limited. Ability for meetings to postpone are limited. Groups will try to rebook at a hotel they contracted with but if they don’t have space and meeting needs to happen later 2020 other hotels will have options. Know your comp set and market bookings and target this opportunity.
Future contracting of groups will have many more detailed terms applying to crisis like COVID-19.
Change Catering Free Sell Policy- written clear document outlining policy and term applying to this short-term demand.
Dropping rates will not create new demand. Maintain integrity of rates
Understand your position in the market. Don’t set expectations on capturing transient/group you would not have in previous times. Don’t be the weakest competitor and compromise rate -it will not grow business or create demand.
Panic pricing further out will be a big issue do not do it.
At MOST current transient discounting should be within 30 days max. Transient booking window stands at 14-30 days at most.
Distribution Strategy- Outside 30 days maintain standard transient pricing. Don’t give into discounts like multi night stays and do not lower rate not going to drive demand. Impacts group further out.
Protect group rate integrity by managing pricing outside 90 days.
Consider what you do today with transient pricing further out how it will impact group 9 months from now.
Keep BAR ABOVE contracted group rates.
If you drop rate Sales, please be proactive contacting planners and adjust rates. Impacts planner relationships and takes their time renegotiating existing contracts when they need to be free to book NEW contracts future groups.
Redesign forecasting into buckets of the 1st30 -2nd 60 & 3rd 90 day
Each will have different strategy and pricing.
Within 30 days pricing for transient booking window.
60-90 days have differing strategy to 90+. Clear message to industry- maintain rate at normal levels. Dropping rate will not see new demand nor shift share. Causes longer recovery of rates.
Weekly repeat process.
Pivot again as see shift.
Review business you didn’t want before but may now. Group/Transient.
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