Now the fun really starts – how do you keep your lead generation investment from losing value? Statistics show that successful sales organizations attempt to reach a contact 6-8 times before they are ready to buy your product or service.
To be successful in keeping your brand top of mind, Hotel Sales & Marketing Managers should have a concrete action plan in place to nurture leads. Here are some best practices we've observed in the field:
- Email communication. Drip campaigns are great to help you with your lead nurturing program. This can be with newsletters with timely tips on meeting planning (i.e. green meetings, team building activities, bridging generational gaps at your meetings, etc). With Email marketing – large chain hotels may be at a disadvantage when it comes to creating custom content. Likely, the content would need to be approved by Corporate and have to follow their pre-determined Standard Operating Procedures – which can be very time consuming. However, if you set up a group of contacts in your email software and when an interesting press release is posted on your corporate website, share it with them with a personal note attached; it will draw their attention back to your website.
- Send them a personal handwritten note. With email, how many people get anything but bills in the mail anymore? As you build the relationship, send them a card on a special day in the year. While the holiday season is a fevered time to do this, pick something out of the ordinary to draw their attention. Last year one hotel chain, whose ownership is mainly based in Asia, sent out cards on Chinese New Year instead of Christmas – the Christmas card rush was over, and it drew the attention of planners.
- Send a Fax. Who uses a fax machine anymore? Occasionally some clients still use the fax for signed contracts, but more often it is used by travel discounters to advertise low price cruises! But don't be too quick to dismiss this means of communication. Recently our team at Greenfield tested this out. We sent a fax to prospect clients. The message was simple: we know that it is budget time and that they are “crazy busy”, but have they thought about prospecting efforts for their next fiscal year? The call to action was to email/call us for further assistance, and within 24 hours we received three responses. One contact in particular said that it drew her attention as they never receive personal faxes anymore!
- Send them the information they need. Chances are, during the lead generation process, a lot of information has been gathered. Focus on the meeting specifications that were provided and put a package together that suits your targeted meeting planners’ needs.
- Social Media. Do you have a blog, or does your corporate site have one? Are you on LinkedIn or Twitter? Connect with the planner as many ways as you can. When something is posted about your property, ensure that it is forwarded to your connections.