Knowland, based in Arlington, VA, focuses on group data, market statistics and lead generation. Their suite of hospitality solutions harnesses the power of data and analytics to help customers in the group and meetings marketplace know their buyers and win.
Group sales teams have specific needs and objectives, particularly finding new business for their venue, convention center or destination. They might also have success with specific sectors, such as technology groups and seek to find prospects within the sector. Then there are always need periods and they seek to find prospects for a specific month, quarter or year.
Knowland’s Insight Essential is a sizable database that has been amassing historical event details – 17 million and counting – for the past 15 years. The database is currently reading over 7000 venues around the U.S., including 130 Convention Centers. Their Advanced Search function allows customized searches to hone in on events:
- Dates – Month, quarter, year
- Competing cities where you would like to find this business – 200+ markets in the U.S.
- Organization name and event name and where the organization is headquartered
- Number of consecutive days – to determine events that require hotel rooms
- Number of attendees – estimated
- Days of the week – to match specific Arrival/Departure patterns
- Where the Organization is Headquartered
- Type of Property – Airport, Convention, Resort, etc.
As with any Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), the Greater Birmingham CVB sales team competes with similar sized cities all over the U.S. to attract and win group and convention business. The main challenge facing the sales team is to ensure that Birmingham is not only considered for shorter-term “in the year, for the year” opportunities by planners, but also for events that may be booked in subsequent years. The Birmingham sales team needed a better way to reach out proactively to the right planners and knew it could not afford to sit back and wait for meeting planners to contact to them.
The Knowland Insight Essential solution empowered their salespeople to proactively engage at a deeper level with the right prospects, rather than just be order-takers. With access to group information going back several years, the sales team can focus on the right groups for Birmingham, some of which they would not have known about or considered, without the Insight solution.
The sales team is now able to engage with meeting planners at a much deeper level than they otherwise would, armed with relevant, actualized data and often before the RFP goes out. Hotels are pleased that the Greater Birmingham CVB is a better partner and helps them with strategic pricing decisions based on what the CVB is seeing from Insight and the platforms forward-looking TAP data.
Recently the sales team pursued a national auto parts chain account that has not met in Birmingham on a large scale to solicit their business. The group was impressed that the CVB was able to proactively show that they understood their needs and is now considering Birmingham for a future event.
The Greater Birmingham CVB confirms by using the platform they were able to identify specific events that fit their needs and observe specific target accounts complete booking history. Antidotally they state the platform opened their eyes to specific buying patterns the organization displayed, and they identified more than one additional opportunity within the organization’s history that could fit well in their venues. Ultimately the tool helped the team create more informed, targeted proposal that won a much-needed group business over a need period.