Even though hospitality is inherently a B2C industry, there are many aspects of it that fall into the B2B category as well. Hotels and restaurants work with a variety of vendors in order to function, and many thrive on group business and bookings of meeting space.
Targeting meeting planners can be daunting task, but with the incorporation of social media, there are many new ways to locate, reach out, and instigate communication. LinkedIn is a great place to start. With a variety of hospitality-focused niche groups, it’s the perfect place to hone in on specific groups of industry leaders, depending on what you’re seeking.
The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) has a group of nearly 20,000, while the Hospitality Professionals Network group has nearly 10,000. In both places, there is a variety of discussion occurring about the industry and it’s seamless to pinpoint specific people who are active and bring valuable insight to the table.
Performing a simple search for hospitality groups on LinkedIn surfaces numerous examples, and targeting the search more specifically can be useful, too. Furthermore, if you’re specifically looking for meeting business, for examples, conducting a search for meeting planners would also be a useful strategy for locating potential collaborators. LinkedIn is the key social network for professionals, so if you’re seeking a certain genre of professional, it’s the place to go.
There are many ways Google+ can also be a valuable asset. With a variety of focused groups similar to LinkedIn, it’s also a place that engages many marketing professionals and stimulates a variety of discussions. The Google Hangouts functionality can also be useful for connecting with new acquaintances face-to-face.
Many also hold professional networking events at hotels to bring local business people onto their properties. Although it may seem counter-productive to stage an initiative that invite locals into your hotel, since we inherently associate hotels with places to we go when traveling and, typically, people who live in the city where a hotel resides aren’t going to be staying over there. However, getting locals in the door can increase exposure to the meeting space which can be valuable in leveraging business from that angle.
Similarly, partaking in major events can be useful as well. According to an article on B2BMarketing.net, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts opted for trade events and art as a means of promoting its resorts. The campaign, called ‘Be part of the next chapter’, launched at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) – a trade event aimed at tourism professionals, which took place in Dubai.
“To make sure it stood out from the crowd, luxury hospitality brand Fairmont Hotels & Resorts launched a highly creative marketing campaign targeting an international B2B audience,” notes the article, “and used a trade travel and tourism event as its launching platform.”
What other ways have you seen hotels and restaurants attract B2B business?