How To Use Local Recommendations As A Tool To Win More Business

There are always things to do...I always go to a place called Jiffy Lube to get my car oil changed. And I go here for one reason.

In addition to changing my oil, they will check my brakes, engine fluids, air filters and my car inspection date too. I’m only paying for the oil change but they check on those additional things at no extra cost.

And they do this because they know the secret of service. If they take away my headache of having of having to check on all those other things, then I will always come back to them.

Much like the Jiffy Lube, you should consider taking away one of your customers headaches too

The headache of researching your city

Every group that comes from out of town does some kind of research before they arrive. Whether they are looking at places to eat, or places to see, most groups will do some kind of advance research. And the thing is, most of them hate doing this research. They would much rather talk to a local who already knows the best places to go and eat.

And that is where you come in

Share your extensive local knowledge by adding a list of local recommendations to your group proposals. Much like the extra services at the oil change place, no one expects you to do it. But adding a list of local recommendations to your group proposal will save the group planner from having to research everything on their own.

And if you do it properly, you’ll come across as a bit of an expert on the local area.

But can’t they get local recommendations online?

Yes they can. Websites like Tripadvisor, Citysearch and Yelp are designed to be local And while a group planner can get some great tips from these websites, not one of them can give tips geared specifically towards groups.

So how can you make your recommendations more group specific?

There are two ways to do this:

  1. Create a list of local recommendations based the type of group
  2. Show your group expertise by adding a tip about why you recommend each one

Let’s start with the first one:

1) Create a list of local recommendations based group type

It doesn’t make much sense to recommend the best fine dining restaurants in Charlotte for a high school band. Rather than creating a master list of recommended things to do and eat, create a separate list for each group type. Have a separate list for sports teams, corporate groups, church groups, reunions etc.

As an example, corporate groups will need information on local golf courses, and neighborhood bars they can go to. Family reunions, on the other hand, will need information on local parks, kids activities, and places that can accommodate large groups for dinner.

Creating a separate list for each type of group will take some time, but it’s a one time investment. You can re-use the lists over and over again (fine tuning them every now and again).

Once you have a list of recommended places, it’s time to add some details to each recommendation.

2) Show your group expertise by adding a tip about why you recommend each one

Anyone can put together a list of local recommendations. What is really going to wow your group planner is when you add the reason for each one.

For example, let’s say you are sending a proposal to a sports team. Here is a how you would list local restaurants:

  • Frank’s diner – Great homemade pasta’s. They work with lots of our groups and always serve on time.
  • NY Style Pizza – Only a three minute walk. They can seat a group of up to 35. They deliver too, but you have to make sure to order two hours ahead of time. Better to pick up the pizza if you are going to be time constrained.
  • Ralph’s soda shop – Local burger joint that is a throwback to the sixties. Groups of up to 50 can be accommodated. They do a great job of bringing out the food on time. Me and my husband eat here often and find the staff to be very hospitable.

Having a reason associated with each recommendation makes the list truly unique and lets the planner know why you like the place so much.

So how you go about creating this list of recommendations?

In addition to your personal knowledge about the area, a super easy way to start creating your list is to ask the groups you do business with already. Ask them how they spent their time in your city. Find out where they ate, what they did and whether they would recommend it to other groups.

After all, no one can you give you better advice than they can.

But how does this list help me win more business

The list serves only one purpose. It takes away the planners headache of having to do all the research on their own. At worst, they may use your list as a starting point to do their own research. At best, they may look at your list and use it as their bible for your city.

Either way, your hotel will stay top of mind because the planner will know that you provided them something of value and took away a big headache. And that is how you will win more business.

Just like the guys at Jiffy Lube

What should you do next?

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