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From Empty Rooms to a Full House: How to Increase Group Hotel Bookings?

By: Steve Behrisch , President & CEO

The hospitality industry is a very competitive market, and hotels are always looking for ways to welcome more guests and increase revenue. 

One of the most effective ways to do this is by increasing group hotel bookings. Not only do they provide a significant revenue stream for hotels, but they also allow guests to take advantage of special deals and packages, making it easier for them to organize their events. 

These bookings can bring in significant revenue and have a positive impact on the hotel’s reputation. In this article, we will explore various strategies that hotels can use to increase group hotel bookings.

Table of Contents

Let’s head in.

How to Increase Group Hotel Bookings?

1. Develop a Group Sales Strategy

A solid group sales strategy is the foundation of any successful group booking. It’s important to identify your target market, set goals and determine the resources needed to achieve them. Your group sales strategy should align with your overall hotel sales and marketing plan.

One of the first steps in developing a group sales strategy is to identify your target market. You need to know who you’re targeting, what their needs are, and how to reach them. Your target market could be corporate groups, social groups, sports teams, or any other type of group.

Once you have identified your target market, you can set goals and objectives.

How to increase hotel group bookings?
For example, your goal may be to increase group bookings by 20% in the next year. To achieve this, you could set objectives such as increasing your sales team's outreach efforts, improving your group sales packages, or expanding your target market.

It’s also important to determine the resources needed to achieve your goals and objectives. This may include investing in technology, hiring additional staff, or developing new marketing materials.

2. Offer Incentives

Offering incentives is a great way to attract group bookings. Consider offering group discounts, upgrades, or complimentary amenities such as free Wi-Fi or breakfast. You could also offer a special promotion for groups that book a certain number of rooms or stay for a certain length of time.

Discounts are the most common incentive for group bookings. They can be offered as a percentage off the room rate or as a flat rate discount. Upgrades can also be a powerful incentive. For example, you could offer a free room upgrade for every ten rooms booked.

Such types of complimentary services are quite essential for travelers. Complimentary breakfast is also another valuable perk, especially for social groups.

3. Create Customized Group Packages

Creating customized group packages that cater to the specific needs and preferences of your target market can be a game-changer for increasing group bookings.

For example, if your hotel is located near a convention center, consider creating a package that includes transportation to and from the center, as well as other amenities that will appeal to convention-goers.

Customized packages can also be created for sports teams or social groups. For sports teams, you could create a package that includes transportation to and from the sporting event, as well as a pre-game meal. For social groups, you could create a package that includes a wine tasting, a spa treatment, or a city tour.

When creating customized packages, it’s important to keep in mind the unique needs and preferences of your target market. You should also ensure that the packages offer value for money and are competitively priced.

4. Provide Exceptional Customer Service

Providing exceptional customer service is crucial to retaining group bookings. Make sure your staff is well-trained in handling group reservations and providing personalized service to guests. Respond promptly to inquiries and be attentive to the needs of your guests throughout their stay.

Group bookings can be complex, with multiple rooms, bookings, and requests. It’s important to have a dedicated group sales team or staff member who can handle these bookings and ensure that everything runs smoothly.

During the guests’ stay, it’s important to be attentive to their needs or any requests. This can include providing extra towels, arranging transportation, or offering recommendations for local attractions and restaurants.

#OnResTip: Get the best tips to improve guest experience at your hotel.

5. Leverage Technology

Technology can be a powerful tool for increasing group bookings. Consider using a group booking software that allows you to manage room blocks, reservations, and guest lists. This can streamline the booking process and make it easier for guests to make reservations.

Using an online booking system can provide real-time availability and pricing information, making it easy for group organizers to compare options and make a reservation.

Another technology that can be leveraged to increase group bookings is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. A CRM system can help you keep track of customer information, preferences, and booking history.

This lets you give a personalized approach to each group, making them feel valued and increasing the chances of repeat bookings.

6. Make use of email marketing

Another way to leverage technology for increasing group bookings is by using email marketing campaigns. By collecting email addresses from your previous group customers, you can send targeted emails to promote your group packages and special offers. 

This can help increase the chances of repeat bookings and encourage customers to recommend your hotel to their friends and family. In addition to this, offering group discounts and packages can also be an effective way to increase group bookings. 

Consider giving discounts on room rates, free meals or drinks, complimentary meeting room rentals, or other incentives that can make your hotel more attractive to groups.

7. Develop a strong relationship with event planners

Event planners are essential players in the decision-making process for group bookings. Building a strong relationship with them is crucial for hoteliers to attract and retain group bookings. 

A good relationship with event planners means they are more likely to consider your hotel as a venue for their upcoming events.

To build a strong relationship with event planners, hotels should offer them special deals and packages.

For example, you can offer complimentary upgrades or discounted rates for event planners who book their events at the hotel. 

Hoteliers should also make themselves available to assist event planners with their event planning needs, such as arranging for audio-visual equipment or providing catering services.

8. Offer special group rates and packages

When it comes to offering special packages, it’s important to keep in mind that the rewards you offer should be valuable enough for your guests to choose your hotel over competitors. Discounts, free meals, and activities are all great ways to sweeten the deal, but make sure the value of the package is greater than the sum of its parts.

Another consideration is to offer flexible pricing based on the size of the group.

For example, you could offer a discount for groups of 10 or more, or a larger discount for groups of 20 or more. This can help to attract larger groups to book with your hotel and can be a great way to maximize revenue.

It’s important to make sure that the packages you offer are prominently displayed on your hotel’s website or your marketing channels. This will let your potential guests be aware of the benefits and are more likely to choose your hotel for their group booking needs.

9. Utilize social media and online presence

In today’s digital age, a strong online presence is crucial for any business. It helps reach a wider audience, showcase their offerings, and engage with potential guests. Hotels need to create an attractive and user-friendly website that provides all the necessary information about the property and its facilities. 

Social media is another powerful tool to attract and engage potential guests. Hotels can use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to share photos and videos of their rooms, amenities, and services. 

They can also create engaging content that resonates with potential guests, such as behind-the-scenes glimpse of the hotel, local area guides, and user-generated content from happy guests.

By having a strong online presence, it becomes easier for you to build trust with potential guests and increase their chances of booking group reservations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Group hotel bookings involve reserving multiple rooms at once for a traveling party. This can be for anything from a family reunion to a corporate conference. Hotels benefit from the guaranteed occupancy and potential for additional revenue from events or catering.

Group bookings offer several advantages for hotels, boosting their bottom line and guest satisfaction:

  • Guaranteed Occupancy: Large group bookings fill rooms that might otherwise remain empty, especially during shoulder seasons. This provides a predictable income stream for the hotel.
  • Increased Revenue: Group stays often involve additional revenue streams beyond just room rates. Hotels can upsell services like catering, meeting spaces, or event planning.
  • Streamlined Booking: A single point of contact for the entire group simplifies the booking process for both the hotel and the organizer.
  • Upselling Opportunities: With a large group, hotels have the chance to upsell amenities like room upgrades or premium catering options.
  • Positive Reviews: Providing a smooth experience for a group can lead to positive online reviews, which attract future guests.
  • Customer Loyalty: Building strong relationships with group organizers can lead to repeat business and referrals.

Many hotels cater to groups by offering special rates, dedicated group coordinators, and meeting spaces. To stand out, highlight your unique features: spacious rooms for socializing, on-site restaurants for group meals, or amenities like pools or activity areas that cater to larger parties.

To foster repeat group bookings, hotels can provide excellent service, offer loyalty programs with group discounts, and stay in touch with past organizers. Personalized communication and addressing specific needs go a long way in securing future business.

The travel industry is constantly evolving, and group hotel bookings are no exception. Here are some of the latest trends that hotels should be aware of to stay competitive:

  • Eco-friendly choices are rising.
  • Bleisure trips (work + leisure) are booming.
  • Tech streamlines booking and communication.
  • Unique experiences and local immersion are in demand.
  • Multigenerational travel needs are catered to.
  • Flexible booking options are desired.

Hotels can leverage social media by creating targeted content showcasing group amenities, highlighting successful group events, and offering exclusive deals. Engaging with group organizers and travel agents online can also boost group booking reach.


Increasing group hotel bookings can be a challenge, but with the right strategies in place, it is achievable. Implementing these strategies can help hotels stand out from the competition and earn more business revenue.

However, it is important to remember that each hotel’s approach may differ depending on their target audience and competitive environment. 

Therefore, it is essential to continuously monitor and adapt strategies to ensure maximum success in the long-run. 

Steve Behrisch, President & CEO

Steve joined the OnRes Team as an account rep in 2008 and was promoted to VP of Operations a short time later. In 2011, Steve agreed to purchase OnRes and became President and CEO, and has been steering the ship since; achieving significant milestones such as rebuilding the reservation software from the bottom up, forging new partnerships, doubling the revenue, and much more…
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