ARLINGTON, VA—Many select-service and boutique hotels depend on group business to fill rooms and bring in a large portion of revenue throughout the year. The COVID-19 pandemic has decimated the meetings business for every segment of the hotel industry, including select-service and boutique properties.
Knowland, the provider of group hospitality analytics, based here, has launched Knowland Prospector, a prospecting solution designed for these chain scales to increase occupancy and meeting room revenue during this extremely tough period for sales professionals.
With Prospector, hotels can target small group business using filters for distance from their property, meeting size and previous booking history by hotel class or brand. It gives smaller hotels an advantage to compete and win meetings business they may have overlooked in the past.
During the height of the pandemic’s first wave, group business was virtually nonexistent. Some of those meetings and events are slowly coming back.
“The industry has gone from the cancellation of all meetings to the cautious return of smaller, local meetings,” said Kristi White, VP of product management, Knowland. “There is still a lot of uncertainty but now companies are starting to spread their wings and hold meetings. Smaller—secondary or tertiary—markets are returning quicker than larger markets and this will likely continue for the foreseeable future. Companies will go from large single events to smaller regional events leveraging hybrid meetings to connect larger groups together. This allows them to engage groups while continuing to promote in-person meetings safely.”
She pointed out that Knowland Prospector will help hotels get back into the swing of prospecting. “The lost art of prospecting needs some fine-tuning,” said White. “Prospector can help them understand what companies are in their markets holding meetings. Additionally, Knowland’s algorithm helps rank those accounts so the sales team knows which accounts are the best fit for their hotel. In short, Knowland helps prioritize who hotels should prospect to, making it faster and easier to get to hunting.”
Knowland Prospector is powered by a database of more than 16 million meetings and events, noted White, who added, “These are actualized events from hotels in more than 150 markets around the world. They are collected through a variety of means then analyzed by our data algorithms to match them for hotels to determine best fit against chain scale, market, location and market category. This helps sales teams prioritize which accounts to contact first because they have the highest probability of booking.”
Prospector is available as a free 90-day trial for hotels with 10,000 sq. ft. or less of meeting space in 80 global markets, and there is no credit card needed to sign up.
“What better way to kick start your hotel into selling,” said White. “There are some initial hotel profile guidelines, such as limited meeting capacity and select markets where it is available, as we roll it out. However, hoteliers can quickly determine if they are eligible from our website.”