Cash in on Corporate Hospitality
Don’t be lulled into dismissing this huge growth area. For many venues, the ability to host conferences, events and meetings can be lucrative and relatively simple to organise.
Market intelligence provider Keynote estimates that the corporate hospitality industry will increase by 8.5 per cent to a value of 1.34 billion by 2016. With this is mind, there is a huge opportunity for hotels and other venues to tap in to this market. You don’t need a stylish venue, over the top entertainment or super stars – just think outside the box and utilise your current facilities.
The recent growth in mobile working provides a massive opportunity. Many business people require meeting rooms to rent, somewhere to access wi-fi or a quiet area to make a phone call. This not only provides income opportunity itself from renting a room but in many cases refreshments or meals will be required. If you are a hotel it also provides the potential for an overnight stay.
The recent growth of Regus centres shows there is a real need for flexible, accessible meeting rooms. As Managing Director Steve Purdy notes:
Approximately two fiths of Britain’s workers now work half the week or more at locations other than their employer’s main office.
Mobiles, tablets and cloud technology make this possible, but workers still need access to office-type facilities – even if it’s just for 10 minutes to print, email, think or meet a contact.
With this in mind, as a hotel, coffee shop or pub, if you provide free wi-fi and office-type facilities, you could adapt your offering slightly and tap in to this growing market.
One hotel that embraced diversification and tailored their offering towards the corporate client is the Coniston Hotel in North Yorkshire. Originally just a hotel, the venue soon made the most of its estate setting in the rural Yorkshire Dales and started to offer corporate events and activities. Today, the hotel offers clay pigeon shooting, a Land Rover experience, archery, target golf and fly fishing. It also has a falconry centre. Marketed as the perfect addition to any meeting or event, the activities are offered individually as team building, client away days or staff rewards. In addition to revenue generated by the specific activities, the hotel also benefits from increased room and restaurant bookings as guests require overnight accommodation or meals during the day. This is in addition to money generated from refreshments such as hot drinks, sandwiches and cakes.
Here are Take Stock’s top tips for catering for the business customer:
- Market your services – if you have rooms to offer or welcome business people meeting at your establishment then shout about it. If you have conference facilities then promote them. Register with generic corporate hospitality websites and market your business locally.
- Look at gaps in the market – no one else offering meeting rooms locally? Why don’t you?
- Get your wi-fi right. One pub owner recently noted, it is almost as important to provide a high quality wireless internet service, as it is to serve beers at the right temperature.
- Get your food offering right and capitalise on the fact that business people will require snacks, meals and drinks.
- If you haven’t the facilities to cater for corporate events and activities then link up with local companies that do. You could partner with your local golf club or spa to offer business guests that added extra. Or for something a bit different, source hot air ballooning, caving or mountain biking.
- Hire appropriate entertainment if needed. Many companies will run themed evenings at your hotel for example. Think casino evenings, tribute acts, murder mystery evenings and race nights.