Knowland: Group Business faces threat of commoditization

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Robert Post, CEO
Today, the hospitality industry is dealing with a threat similar to the commoditization of transient business during the 2001 and 2008 recessions. Processing the deluge of inbound leads has brought group sales teams to their knees. Salespeople spend more time reacting to the increasing volume of often unqualified leads than responding to them in a thoughtful way. Quality tends to suffer as hotels are not putting their best foot forward in their cookie-cutter RFP responses with speed as the metric of success over conversion rate. With low-quality RFPs coming in, meeting planners often default to price as the main factor for selecting a hotel venue. This process is leading to the commoditization of the group space. Hotels have become challenged to differentiate themselves in a price-driven environment.

At the same time, Hotels face an additional concern. Their sales teams don’t have the skill sets to proactively prospect accounts effectively as an alternative to responding blindly to in-bound RFPs. This perfect storm is leading to a critical tipping point where hotels are losing control of their group business and their ability to yield it effectively. One company, Knowland, is uniquely qualified to help them avoid the commoditization fate. The company delivers best-in-class sales solutions by combining powerful analytics with the industry’s most extensive historical database of events and meetings to transform the group sales process, drive revenue, and accelerate the sales cycle for hotel group sales.

In the present scenario, hotels relying on inbound RFPs and erratic market demand to sell group business are not set up to maximize revenue or achieve optimal repeat business, which hinders their long-term success. “In a recent survey conducted by Knowland, respondents reported that 36 percent of hotel group business is sourced via inbound leads or RFPs issued by meeting planners. So, more than a third of hotel group revenue comes from business that it has no control over. The industry needs to shift that revenue mix to optimize hotel performance,” states Robert Post, CEO of Knowland Group. “Powered by a database of 17 million global events, the Knowland business intelligence platform helps hotels identify and win group sales business before the competition even knows about it. Procuring your revenue with a proactive group sales strategy is worth about ten extra points of bottom-line EBITDA and profit than sourcing it via an inbound RFP strategy,” explains Post.

Knowland’s Insight Elite lead delivery solution with SmartSearch feature enables hotels to get ahead of the RFP process, take control of the buyers’ journey, and deploy a systematic approach for proactive selling to accelerate the sales cycle and optimize revenue. A Knowland proprietary set of algorithms analyzes group-buying behavior patterns across seven key dimensions that are most likely to predict booking decisions—hotel class, market tier, region, market, brand group, location type, and previous bookings.

Powered by its database of 17 million global events, the Knowland business intelligence platform helps hotels identify and win group sales business before the competition even knows about it

The resulting cluster pattern is then compared to a property’s attributes to yield a score that enables the sales team to immediately identify and prioritize the best matches across both inbound and outbound leads. Hotels can expand parameters to include new groups that otherwise may not have been targeted. Users can prioritize the most qualified leads, build and manage targeted prospects, and improve engagement of sales calls.

A leader in business intelligence, Knowland is the first in the hospitality industry to use predictive pattern-matching technology to conduct a refined, consumer-like search for group business. Now, the sales team can optimize lead targeting with a very high probability of closing the business. Here is an example of how Knowland data and expertise can turnaround a Group Sales team. A management company that owns 140 hotels had significant portion of their revenue from group business. Across their portfolio of 140 hotels, 128 of them were lagging in sales and at risk of commoditization due to lack of an efficient strategy other than responding to incoming RFPs. Knowland partnered with them to restructure their sales process to a more proactive approach. Knowland provided the client with the tools to target potential leads and cut response time down dramatically. A year later, the client was over-achieving their revenue goals, and for the first time in four years, they hit their group revenue objectives.
For the future, Knowland has an organic growth strategy that is primarily based on further penetration across North America. In addition, the company has offices in Europe and the Asia Pacific which continue to expand. Knowland is exploring enhanced product functionality through machine learning and benchmarking as well as additional integrations with third-party systems such as LinkedIn and major hospitality CRM systems.

Knowland News

Knowland and HEI Hotels and Resorts Join Hands to Revolutionize Travel Business

The partnership between Knowland SmartSearch and HEI is aimed to upgrade HEI's complete portfolio of subscribing properties to Knowland flagship solution, Insight Elite.

FREMONT, CA: Knowland, a travel and hospitality company, known for market data and analytics for hotels, convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs), convention centers and other meeting venues, announced collaboration with HEI Hotels & Resorts to upgrade HEI's entire portfolio of subscribing properties, 68 in total, to the Knowland flagship solution, Insight Elite. Knowland's SmartSearch ability, only available in Elite, helps the HEI's features to stack and rank the best-fit group business to optimize budget and profitability from the team segment in the hotels. Read More


Arlington, VA

Robert Post, CEO

At Knowland, we are changing how group business is sold. We empower our hospitality customers to create sustainable, repeatable, direct group business. With the industry's largest database of actualized events, we harness the power of actionable intelligence, so our customers gain control of pipeline development, build a stronger base of repeatable group business and optimize profitability. That’s the Knowland Advantage. See why thousands of customers trust Knowland to sell smarter and maximize their revenue. Knowland operates globally and is headquartered in Rosslyn, VA