• Expert: Leveraging LinkedIn to Book More Group Business

     
    POSTED July 28, 2022
     
    Photo credit: Courtesy of Brian Matson

In the wake of the worst of COVID, it’s all hands on deck time for hotels and meeting venues to rebuild business and create effective ways of reaching customers.

When Brian V. Matson speaks at the 2022 Texas Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus Annual Conference, set for Aug. 29-Sept. 2 in Texas, one of his focuses will be on leveraging LinkedIn as an important marketing/communications tool for meetings, groups, and sports. He offers strategies designed to build relevant audiences along with tactics to nurture leads and book more group business.

“The gist of it is really, with meetings and events trying to make this comeback after this little COVID thing we’ve been dealing with — and the events are starting to roll out now — there’s a huge opportunity for organizations and specifically individual salespeople to really up their personal brand presence within LinkedIn," says Matson, senior director of strategy & education at TwoSix Digital. “Really all it takes is a simple, methodical regular strategy in order to do that.

“LinkedIn is probably the number one opportunity a salesperson could do to enhance their personal brand and help promote the organization, the amenities, and opportunities within these individual destinations.”

Matson says the key is to make a plan. 

“It doesn’t take as heavy of a lift as an Instagram or TikTok or something like that that requires quite a bit of content and lift to get off the ground,” he says. “LinkedIn can be a couple of thoughtful things a week. And that’s all you need to do.” 

Organizations themselves should be maintaining their LinkedIn business pages and populating them with content that employees can share through their personal accounts.

“Salespeople don’t necessarily have to be creating content, they can be major amplifiers of the content created by the organization,” explains Matson, formerly marketing director at the Fargo-Moorehead Convention and Visitors Bureau and recipient of the Explore Minnesota Travel Marketing Excellence Award and the North Dakota Governor’s Award for Tourism Marketing. 

As a strategy, Matson recommends that companies establish a set of themes to rotate through on the company page. Those might include items like unique venues, amenities, testimonials, tips, and case studies. 

“Then use the organizational business page to tell those stories,” he says. “So the marketing department is creating these stories and publishing them onto the company page.

“Then what really needs to happen next is salespeople need to be notified this content is available. They can go and share that content to their personal networks, where the rubber kind of meets the road.”

Matson also recommends considering paid strategy as part of the plan. That could include utilizing targeting tools to reach specific audiences like meeting planners.

“Paid strategy … can really start moving the needle,” he says. 

Finally, he says, companies and individuals should be engaged with their audiences and the networks they are building.

“They aren’t just publishing content and walking away,” he says. “They’re engaging with the comments.

“That’s where it really matters. Their presence within that feed is going to be amplified. It’s like being a good cocktail party host.”

 

 

We’re well past the halfway mark when it comes to business travel returning to pre-pandemic levels and the recovery will continue to gain strength in 2023. Those are the findings from a recent survey by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), a leading organization serving the business travel industry. 

 

The numbers are in for the 11th edition of IMEX America held Oct. 10-13 at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas. While last year’s show was a reunion of sorts for the meetings and events industry, this year it was a business-fueled gathering. 

About 12,000 people participated in IMEX America, including over 4,000 buyers. The 2022 show was 45% bigger than last year, due to an easing of travel restrictions along with 40% of returning exhibitors signing up for more booth space. 

 

Cambria Hotels—an upscale brand franchised by Choice Hotels International Inc.—introduced the Cambria Hotels Threads Collection, a new product offering that further elevates the brand’s commitment to creating a sense of place in each Cambria hotel. Leveraging the creativity of community artists from across the country, the first edition of the Threads Collection features three exclusively designed pairs of socks inspired by the surroundings of Cambria hotels in New England, South Carolina, and Arizona.