Imagine your hotel just took a call from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She wants to host the wedding of her grandson Prince Harry to Meghan Markle at your venue. After picking your jaw off the ground, what would you do next?
Optimising a group rate for 300 state dignitaries, A-list celebrities and members of the royal family would be no mean feat. The budget would be high. When Prince William married Kate Middleton in 2011 the estimated cost of the entire event was $34m (£25.4m).
Prince Harry’s wedding is less than six months away. Your hotel will already have guests on the books. But this is a high profile event, and the Queen wants a total buy out of your venue. How do you manage it?
First, you would need to contact all the guests currently booked at your hotel in May 2018 and arrange alternative accommodation. Then, you’d probably look to carry out some refurbishment and redecoration. You’ll be running on partial inventory for the best part of half a year, but the end result will be worth it. An event of this magnitude will certainly put your hotel on the map.
Four tips for managing a headline event
Unfortunately, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have already secured their venue. They will marry at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. While the fairytale wedding may not be coming to your hotel, hopefully other high-end events will. How you prepare for them will help you maximise on profit and deliver an unforgettable experience for your guests and the external event organisers.
Groups business is a vital component to the hotel industry. Conventions, weddings, business meetings, team building events, and more, can provide a good base of business, often booked well in advance.
Here’s how to make the most of this important revenue source:
- Remove operational silos. The sales team wants to fill rooms, the revenue manager wants to increase profitability. Often, these departments work in a vacuum. Improve communication, work together and improve visibility on booked and potential group business to optimise results.
- Yield rooms dynamically. Sounds scary, doesn’t it? For too long, contracted rates have remained static, with hotels relying on transient business to push profits. A shift towards dynamic group rates makes sense for both the event planner and the hotel.
- Use waterfall cut-off dates. Often with groups there is a set rate for attendees to avail of, providing they book before a certain cut off point. With a more dynamic strategy, hotels can waterfall cut-off dates, increasing rates closer to the event. This is an incentive to attendees to book early to secure the best rates, while enabling you to push greater revenue closer to the event.
- Share date and insight. As mentioned in point 1, hotels need to break down departmental silos. By sharing data between sales, marketing and revenue teams hotels will be better placed to determine optimal rates for future events, and avoid displacing anticipated transient room revenues.
By adopting a more cohesive and dynamic strategy you will attract more groups and fill your rooms at maximum profitability.
And if the Queen does decide on a last minute change of venue for next summer’s wedding, you’ll be better prepared to make the most of the opportunity.
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Michael joined Duetto as managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa in 2014 to spearhead the rollout of the Revenue Strategy technology company throughout the region. Before joining Duetto, he served as CEO of eRevMax. Michael has an engineering degree from the University of Cape Town and a business degree from the Open University. Discover more at: http://duettocloud.com