Essential hotel B2B sales strategies

21 December 2021
Running a hotel is a business, which means that hotels need customers. There are two types of customers, B2B and B2C. The split varies depending on the hotel type, concept, target groups, and many other variables. However, more than half of the revenue comes from B2B customers in a typical full-service city hotel. This blog post will focus on strategies to build a solid base of B2B revenue.
Every hotel needs to implement B2B sales strategies that work best for their target market och the reason for travel to the destination. All hotels are different, and therefore every hotel needs a customized sales strategy. Here are some B2B target groups that every full-service city hotel should consider.

Corporate travel and meetings

Individual corporate travel

The new way of working remotely and virtual has changed corporate travel. However, the contracting process has not changed much, just the volumes. Sales need to build a relationship with corporate travel managers to participate in the bid for the individual corporate travel. The hotel will not get any room nights from that specific company without a contract. Some companies have outsourced corporate travel management to a business travel agency, so sales also need to build solid relationships with agencies. This segment will take longer to recover to the volumes before the pandemic, but hotels still need the agreements to get their fair share of the business.

Corporate meetings

Hotels sell corporate meetings on a case-by-case basis. The sales process often starts with an incoming inquiry for a meeting from a potential customer. The tactics here are to respond to the inquiry as fast as possible after finding out exactly what the customer needs. To increase revenue generated from corporate meetings, the salespeople need to expand their network and ensure that the hotel is top of mind for corporate meeting planners.

Groups

Business groups

A business group is a group that travels for a business purpose. These groups typically travel on weekdays and compete with individual business travelers and MICE about the hotel rooms. Hotels can segment business groups to easier customize their offerings to get away from being the same as other hotels and then only compete on price. There are two ways that business groups might consider the hotel. The first is that the hotel has a contract (corporate) with the customer and therefore is a preferred hotel. The corporate agreement does not usually include business groups, so these groups will be extra revenue on top of the contracted individual business travelers. The other way is that the hotel is popular and has a good reputation, and therefore the potential customer sends an inquiry to the hotel. The salesperson needs to quickly respond to the inquiry to win the business over the competition. To increase the revenue from business groups, the hotel should increase the number of corporate agreements and be responsive to inquiries from business groups. This sub-segment is less price-sensitive than the annual corporate negotiated agreement, where the price is the primary reason for the negotiation in the first place.

Leisure groups

Most leisure groups travel during summer (high season), but there is also an opportunity to capture a few leisure groups traveling on shoulder periods. There is only one reason that leisure groups might consider a specific hotel. Price and only price. When offering a rate for leisure groups, it is crucial to fully understand the next best alternative for the group organizer so that the rate is not too low compared to other options in the market. Leisure groups are suitable for hotels during low-demand periods when no different segments require hotel rooms. To increase the revenue from leisure groups, sales need to cooperate closely with revenue management to set the strategy for periods and rate levels. Remember, this segment is usually very price sensitive.

Shifts in the segment mix

Most hotels need business from many segments. The demand from each segment varies in time and price sensitivity and therefore requires specific tactics to win the business. Hotels have seen a shift in the segment mix during the pandemic and will most likely see a change in segments during the recovery towards something that looks similar to a pre-pandemic mix.