Six Ways to Connect to Meeting Planners
The elusive audience of meeting planners has always been critical to the success of DMOs and hotels, since they can potentially make or break a hotel’s fill rate. Directors of Sales and Marketing, as well as sales teams for both hotels and DMOs continue to build relationships with this coveted audience while media has been at the forefront of reaching this audience and encouraging them to put a particular destination or hotel in their consideration set. With an estimated 55,000 professional meeting planners in the U.S., how does a hotel or DMO reach this small yet important audience?
Traditional media strategies for reaching meeting planners have started to falter over the past five years and the question remains: How does a hotel or DMO reach a meeting planner in an ever-changing multi-device world, and without wasting money on other B2B decision-makers? The most common solution is to have a presence within meeting planner publications such as Meetings Today and Meetings & Conventions. Even if tactics from print and digital are included, it is limiting the uses of technology. And although these publications reach our target audience, the amount of advertisers tend to make it a crowded space and therefore harder for a hotel or DMO to stand out.
So, how do we reach this audience by using proven consumer campaign technologies? Here are six ways to reach a meeting planner – without being a technology ninja – without breaking the bank.
- Basic Retargeting & Prospecting: Ever been influenced to finish a purchase from an online retailer because they followed you around online teasing you with a wish list item? We all have, and that same strategy works in the meetings world as well. Start with the lowest-hanging fruit. Capture visitors to the meetings and events content on your own site and retarget that person with a very specific meetings message. If budget is small, the best way to start this process is through Facebook custom audiences. Yes, meeting planners are on Facebook and, yes, they visit it often: According to the Portrait of American Travelers®, 30% of meeting planners report using Facebook regularly for planning meetings. Once you have retargeting covered, utilize a programmatic partner to build out look-a-like models to prospect new meeting planners who have not visited your site.
- eCRM Integration: Most sales teams have a historical list of emails of those meeting planners who have booked in the past or even submitted an RFP in the past. Expand your reach beyond email and upload the eCRM data base to a programmatic partner and/or through Facebook to reach that same audience online and through social media.
- Owning LinkedIn: Can you imagine putting the wrong job title on LinkedIn and having your colleagues call you out on it? No. You cannot beat LinkedIn’s job title data. It is first-party information and almost 100% accurate. LinkedIn’s ability to target by job title and even job description (because we all know meeting planners come in various titles) has helped several hotels and DMOs reach lead and revenue goals.
- Understanding Geo-Location: Does it irk you or delight you when Starbucks pushes a notification to your phone with a deal as you walk by? Either way, you can leverage this same technology. Companies such as TapPad have the ability to capture mobile device types at conferences such as IMEX and PCMA to use and target during the conference in real time or use that same set of mobile device information at a later time. You can also use geo-location technology to help your sales team at a conference by targeting all mobile devices in the conference center with a message stating the location of your booth.
- Cross-Device Targeting: Once you capture mobile device data at meeting planner conferences, you can then use that data to figure out what other devices a meeting planner owns, such as a desktop, tablet or laptop. This provides a larger screen in which to present your message. Utilizing cross-device-match technology is currently something the consumer world owns, but who says we can’t use it in the meeting planner world as well?
- Native: We all know a key part of sales is educating meeting planners on the destination and/or hotel. It is vital to communicate to them how your destination and/or hotel can make their job easier and also make them look like a star to their attendees. Saying all that is dang hard in a banner and even harder in a baby mobile banner. Just as we use native advertising to communicate the great aspects of a destination and/or hotel, we can do the same by targeting meeting planners as well. Utilize tip number one and retarget meeting planners who visit your site with a native article through a programmatic partner such a Taboola or Nativo.
Want to learn more or interested in our media capabilities, reach out to our Media Team.