HSMAI Customer Insight: Global Booking Levels Off with Pockets of Growth | Siteminder

In this video, SiteMinder’s Founder Mike Ford provides HSMAI insight into how hotel booking has reached a global plateau with many regional differences. Sourced from SiteMinder’s guest acquisition platform, used by 35,000 hotels and connected to more than 400 hotel booking channels globally, the SiteMinder World Hotel Index provides data and commentary for the hotel industry at both a macro and local scale never before seen.


HSMAI Customer Insight: More People Are Travelling Than You Think | Fuel

This is the ninth release of Fuel’s COVID-19 Consumer Sentiment Study series.  For this edition, Melissa A. Kavanagh, Director of Analytics, Fuel, provides HSMAI exclusive insights  on how confidence in travel has continued to rebound since their last survey, and is nearly at the level seen in June.

Full Report:


For additional information, insights, and tools, visit HSMAI’s Global Coronavirus Resources page.

HSMAI Customer Insight: Turning Traveler Comfort Into Confidence | MMGY

While there’s no denying the uncertainty across the nation and the travel industry as a whole, we have uncovered data that reveals a collective sense of ease as we move into the next phase of our new normal: The likelihood of booking domestic leisure trips during the next six months is the highest ever since we began tracking in mid-March. Americans are continuing to gravitate toward regional travel and road trips in their personal vehicles, and over Labor Day weekend we saw the highest number of air travelers since the early days of the pandemic. As we enter into what MMGY Global has identified as the new Stretch Season, now is not the time to sit back and wait to see what’s coming next; it’s time to nurture that growing level of comfort and amplify messages around health and safety initiatives, and yes – even hotel travel deals.

Full Report: 

» MMGY Travel Intelligence Travel Safety Barometer, September 2020

HSMAI Customer Insight: Business travel bookings in the US post-Labor Day | Amadeus

Part 1 of a 2-part series for the sales teams

By: Katie Moro, Vice President, Data Partnerships, Hospitality, Amadeus

The individual business traveler has always been a source of demand for hotels.  In fact, there is an entire RFP process, and sales deployment on and above property to pursue and ensure brands/management companies and individual hotels are receiving at least their fair share of the production from this segment.  As with most things this year, the corporate travel landscape has changed. While airline and hotel demand has been impacted by a decline in corporate and group business, we think it’s vital for hoteliers to know that corporate travel still exists.

Recently there was a lot of attention around market performance through the end of summer. Labor Day saw an increase in bookings. It seemed as though remote working and learning would help fuel booking demand as leisure trips extended into the fall season.  But leisure business is not the only available opportunity.  Today we want to dive into the performance related to individual business travelers immediately following Labor Day and looking forward through the end of October.

Are businesses traveling?

The on-the-books total occupancy in the US for the current and upcoming six weeks is 13.8%.  While this is lower than last year’s performance, we must consider the changing dynamics of demand.  Pre-pandemic, the individual business travelers associated with the negotiated market segment contributed approximately 16% of the total occupied rooms.  Considering the forward-looking data in our Demand360® business intelligence solution, we show the current individual business travelers’ business in the negotiated segment is at a 15% contribution.

When we review these percentages, we must consider that the US hotels have just 35% of the rooms occupied compared to the same time last year, so percentages are from a smaller base of business in the current year.  But when things are constantly shifting within our markets, it’s encouraging to see that with the right sales resources and data, we still can influence the performance of our hotels.

Who is traveling?

In April 2020, US markets saw a drop off in booked business.  From that time through the current week, the business sector has been steadily working to move forward into month over month increased room nights.  Peering deeper into the data, we see the healthcare, aerospace & defense, retail, and industrial sectors contributing the highest room night production during this time.

Where are they going?

Looking at the current and upcoming six weeks, we identified the top-performing markets for individual business travelers.  These markets are not achieving the highest overall occupancies for this period but do represent the highest mix of negotiated room nights.  For example, New York City currently has 8.3% of its total capacity committed, with 9.7% of that coming from the negotiated segment.

What can you do next?  

People are still traveling for business. You need to understand who is traveling and where they’re booking.  Review business intelligence booking data for your market and identify account activity in your CRM to target key accounts booking business.  Reach out to these companies to let them know you have availability and outline your COVID-19 safety precautions.  Take some time to share the latest regulations for your market to help them gain confidence that travel to the area can be done safely. Be sure also to consider the channels where these travelers may be booking as current trends are showing shifting booking patterns.

For more best practices on leveraging data to build an effective marketing strategy, please visit our Planning for Hospitality Recovery resource center

Please look for our October publication when we evaluate group business in 2021.

People are still traveling for business. You need to understand who it is and where they’re booking.

Facebook Tips For Recovery

The COVID-19 outbreak has affected businesses around the world. Employee health, work patterns, production and consumer habits have all been affected. With this continued shift of consumer behavior comes an opportunity to redefine media strategies and focus on driving new demand for hotels, regaining consumer trust and fortifying customer loyalty. Facebook offers these creative tips for recovery in it’s new Hotel Playbook:

Capture current intent/demand
Ensure high-quality hotel catalog images and relevant text to improve dynamic hotel ads performance. Add overlays to capture attention.

Highlight local/domestic destinations
These can replace some of the international trips people are missing out on. There is also potential to work with creators/
talent to feature great local places.

Highlight confidence messaging
Showcase new cleaning protocols, loyalty program changes to help people maintain status, flexible cancellation/refund policies,
customer service assurance.

Building brand, re-inspire wonder of travel
Rather than highlighting specific brands or properties, help people re-imagine travel not only physically, but virtually.

Building social good
Highlight the great work your hotel may be taking part in to help alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on communities.

Leverage immersive formats
Tell an empathetic, relevant story with formats like Instant Experience, Stories and Instream video. Highlight the current environment while driving consideration of your brand for future travel.

Download the full Facebook Hotel Playbook for more insights.

HSMAI Customer Insight: Safety Still Top Concern | Fuel

This is the eighth release of Fuel’s COVID-19 Consumer Sentiment Study series.  For this edition, Melissa A. Kavanagh, Director of Analytics, Fuel, provides HSMAI exclusive insights on how travel sentiment has seen a big increase in the percentage of people who want to go to a destination with a mask ordinance vs. those who do not want one.

Full Report:


For additional information, insights, and tools, visit HSMAI’s Global Coronavirus Resources page.

HSMAI Customer Insight: U.S. Travelers Still Hitting The Open Road | MMGY

After months in quarantine, one of the things that I appreciated the most and hope others recognize and appreciate too is the experience of travel, and that it is not just about the destination, says Brian Klein, MMGY  Senior Business Strategist.  Perhaps road trips may lead travelers to gain a better understanding of their country and those around them, but honestly there is nothing like getting out and exploring on the open road.  This said, the research is telling us that as consumers remain reluctant to hop on a plane, traveling in a personal car is the preferred way to travel for the near future.  In fact, we have seen travelers continue to get a bit more “adventurous” with their drive radius as time has progressed.

HSMAI Customer Insight: The Part-time Planner Is an Underserved Market | Groups360

By Katey Hubbard, regional sales director, Groups360

As a follow-up to our spring 2020 research into the buying journeys of full-time meeting planners, Groups360 initiated a second double-blind research study, this time focusing on part-time meeting planners from associations, small businesses and large corporations.

This group featured executive assistants, office managers and human resource professionals who plan multiple smaller events and meetings each year but for whom meeting planning is not their primary responsibility.

The types of gatherings these planners organize include board meetings, executive team meetings, company town halls, team-building events, training sessions, customer advisory councils or informational seminars, association committee meetings, vendor meetings, road shows, and satellite events associated with a larger conference.

Our biggest takeaway from the latest round of interviews is that this group of administrative professionals represents an underserved market for hotels and suppliers. With the right attention and guidance, this untapped opportunity could mean more loyal group business for the hotels that meet their needs.

Ready to resume in-person meetings

“We are a very personable company and people like to see one another, especially if there are new folks. It’s just nice to get everyone together. So I do see that things will return to normal, not next month, but maybe next year.” —Corporate professional

“Everyone’s so Zoomed out. Everyone’s upset that a number of our education conferences will be held virtually. Once this is over, I think you’re going to see conference attendance skyrocket. People are going to be so excited to get out and meet in person. It’s going to be great.” —Association professional

“Our business is relationships. They want to get together. They want to talk about the latest ways of keeping the environment clean, but they also want to play golf. It’s really about the cocktail hour. That’s where business gets done.” —Corporate professional

After the pandemic put a halt to live events and in-person meetings, the professionals in this cohort either canceled meetings or moved them online. The meetings that ended up canceled instead of held virtually included events whose attendees weren’t tech-savvy, offsite team building, training sessions that require in-person learning, and strategic planning meetings that couldn’t be replicated on Zoom.

There has been ongoing speculation about how business travel will rebound after the pandemic subsides. One sentiment these part-time planners shared is that their corporate teams, fatigued by Zoom, are ready to return to face-to-face meetings as soon as it’s practical. Their companies depend on in-person interaction to build relationships and conduct business, both within and outside of the office. Their associations’ revenues and programs also largely depend on live events.

When in-person meetings do resume, these administrative professionals foresee all previous types of meetings and events returning to a live, in-person format, except for staff meetings, which are easy to arrange and meet their goals, even online.

Least favorite part of the job

“Probably the least favorite part of my job is arranging these meetings, choosing food, and scheduling transportation. I don’t love it. I’m not a secretary. I went to college and got a degree.” —Corporate professional

“I like the idea of planning something and executing it, but sometimes meeting planning can feel like an added responsibility. It’s stressful because it doesn’t necessarily help me achieve the written pieces of my role.” —Association professional

“I think people assume HR managers have a degree in meeting planning. It’s always been that way — I did this for years in my last organization as well. They just believe that HR people know how to a plan meeting.” —Corporate professional

The planners in this administrative group feel a sense of satisfaction from a successful meeting, but they view the logistical work and preparations to be a nuisance. These busy professionals are likely to appreciate anything hotels can do to make the task easier on them.

During the years I spent in hotel sales, about half of my clientele came from this part-time planner pool, and I spent a good part of the sales process teaching them the business. Hoteliers shouldn’t expect them to be as well-versed in the ins and outs of rate negotiations, attrition policies, or what makes for a fair set of concessions — and more importantly, shouldn’t use that lack of experience to their advantage.

If you want to build strong, ongoing relationships with these professionals, take the time to guide them through the process and listen to the needs of their group. There is so much at stake in their types of meetings that they can’t risk anything going wrong. Once you have made their short-list of trusted venues, you will be rewarded with repeat business year after year.

Looking for a one-stop solution

“I’d like a one-stop-shop where you can see availability, average rates, the perks or incentives you might get. If the property is far from the airport, whether they have a complimentary shuttle, as well as possible events in the area for networking activities.” —Corporate professional

“To have a site with information on pricing and availability so that I don’t have to reach out and wait. I’d like to see the floor plan of the meeting space, A/V, restaurants, catering, pictures of the restaurant and guest rooms. If I’m looking for a hotel, visuals are very important to me.” —Corporate professional

When asked what they would want if they could have anything to make their jobs easier, many of these part-time planners expressed a desire for one site where they could see rates and availability and manage all the logistics of a meeting. They are looking to make the planning process simpler so that they can return to the more central aspects of their roles.

The other discovery was that these planners are unaware of the event technology and sourcing solutions currently on the market. One way that hotels can help is to invite these types of planners to collaborate on RFPs and the booking process within online search-and-book solutions such as GroupSync. Technology that reduces their search to the specific hotels that best fit the group’s needs can drastically speed up the process for both planners and suppliers.

Not a fan of the sales pitch

“I would prefer to not have to do all the back and forth on things like attrition, concessions and deposits. In an ideal world, I’d get everything the first time that proposals come back without having to go back and ask for more and more. Start from the top, let me know that I’m getting everything I can possibly get, and I can eliminate some of that negotiating.” —Corporate professional

“It’d be nice if there was a way to negotiate with hotels without having to call them. If there was a way of just pulling it up online and getting that started like Expedia, where you can see the rates and whether they’re in our range so that I don’t have to go calling all these places.” —Corporate professional

Many hotel salespeople bemoan the fact that meeting planners no longer want to pick up the phone. These planners certainly don’t, at least not in the initial stages of their planning process. They would prefer to evaluate rates, availability, rooms and meeting space online and conduct initial inquiries via email. They want the basic facts before the sales pitch starts.

Once your hotel is on the short list, these planners will be willing to talk details. Given the need to streamline the process, they prefer to avoid extensive negotiations. It’s not their personality nor in their typical job description to do so. To the best of your ability, offer them the most reasonable deal that will address their needs and requests while ensuring the group business is beneficial for your hotel.

Where and how to reach them

“Everything is more digitized now, so I would suggest sending direct email blasts to folks who are in this line of work or have meetings as part of their responsibilities.” —Corporate professional

“I subscribe to several daily newsletters about the news and markets. Every now and then, they have a sponsored ad that I tend to ignore, but I see it. It’s in the context of a relevant business newsletter. Advertise like that or post a testimonial.” —Corporate professional

Ready to reach this untapped market? The planners in our study said that the best way to advertise your offerings and services is to send direct email campaigns or advertise in their industry publications.

These planners are often members of professional societies that send out daily or weekly news digests. Consider advertising in publications aimed at groups such as the American Society of Administrative Professionals, the Association of Executive and Administrative Professionals, or the Society for Human Resource Management. When possible, include testimonials or case studies in your outgoing marketing materials.

Another gateway is through the events team on staff at their organizations. Full-time corporate event planners frequently attend industry conventions and bring back vendor information to the administrative staff at their companies who plan meetings. Keep that in mind when you exhibit or present at a hospitality industry conference or trade show.

If you have existing corporate event planner or association meeting planner customers, consider asking them for referrals to admins in their organizations, as that’s another great way to communicate what you have to offer.

Read more planner pain points and how Groups360 is addressing these needs through industry-changing event technology.