I recently read a great article from Sherry Cimmings and I thought I re-post it for everyone to learn from.
Sherry Cummins has over twenty years experience in the meetings and events industry. She is currently president of Meeting Professionals International Michigan and has earned the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and Certification In Meeting Management (CMM) certifications. Prior to working as a member of the sales team at Mission Point Resort of Mackinac Island, Michigan, Sherry was the first event manager of the Fortune 500 transportation and logistics company, Con-way Inc. From marketing an event venue and booking resort group business to planning the ultimate event, Sherry will share her thoughts with you in hopes of sparking return energy and ideas! She is a published author of books, technical manuals, newspaper and magazine articles and enjoys speaking publicly. Sherry’s passion is all things hospitality and event related.
Summer vacation season is just tapering off, but those sweltering temperatures are still hanging on. Hard to think about the upcoming holidays, but the time is NOW to design holiday packages that will entice groups to host their special occasions at your venue! How can you create a package that will keep your group guests staying overnight and experiencing more of your venue?
Consider the Culture
In the next few months there are numerous religious and secular holidays that include Halloween, Thanksgiving, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Christmas. Will you target specific holidays or will you target a more general audience when designing your packages? Considerations should include your local culture and the culture of your group clients. Corporate and association groups may be drawn to general themed packages—such as Winter Celebration or Harvest Celebration—as opposed to a specific holiday with a religious connotation. SMERF groups will, overall, prefer specifically themed events.
Offer Irresistible Value
When figuring costs also include value. Create package “Hot Dates, Hot Rates” for even more value. What can you add to the group party besides the overnight stay? Options that will make your package unique may include an afterglow coffee bar and meeting area for post celebration mingling, or a breakfast buffet and thank you gift send off. Turn-down service may be a nice addition. Include something party theme-related on the pillow. Think of ways you can you add value to the package without adding to the cost for either your resort or your client.
Market Your Package
Develop a creative and engaging marketing piece for your package. Then promote, promote, promote and promote again! Now is not too soon. Send an Early Bird Rate to your house client list with a deadline. Advertising an event venue to the masses is easy and quick! Post your information on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media outlets. Run ads on the local radio stations and cable stations. Send emails to all of your prospects. Then follow up with phone calls. Nothing is more engaging and more convincing than YOU.
Time is still passing and the holidays are upon us again! Increase hotel group bookings with a special invitation to your clients and prospects for an event they will not soon forget! Create overnight group packages that will speak to the culture of your groups and provide value that is irresistible! Use the holiday gathering opportunity as a way to show off your resort to local groups who may soon become repeat business. With a strategic marketing plan and by following through on your commitment for an unforgettable celebration, you too, can celebrate with increased group rooms for the holidays and for added group events in the future!