Every hotel has mostly one question, how to optimize revenues, have a good ARR and a full house, answer is simple, are you actively trying to sell your rooms or are you waiting for the phone to ring?
So how can you actively sell? Below are a few tips to help you improve your ARR and also get more bookings. Remember room nights are perishable, so every room night lost is potential revenue lost :
If already not, start using a PMS system
Go ahead and search for an online hotel management software and adopt a hotel solution immediately, with new technologies you don’t need to have a huge budget or break your back to use a system, there are lots of cloud services available which you can start using immediately and pay as you use. When you select a system, ensure it is integrated and offers features like, web booking engine, PMS, channel manager, feedback system, housekeeping and accounts etc. If possible, try the system before you spend your first $ on subscription.
The Biggest advantage of using a system is that it will help you free up your time and also organize and make historical information available apart from many other benefits, this is going to be of a great help and value for your future marketing. When you use system always ensure all basic masters are used and defined properly, many properties make a mistake of missing out on using key features and using PMS as just a biller. Ok, so now you have adopted a cloud based PMS, what next?
Be on Channels
Sign up with OTA’s, ( if already not) you must be present on sites like Expedia, Agoda, Priceline and other popular channels, there are few which are global and popular, but for regional channels, go to google and run a search, “hotels in your region” look at search results and see which of regional channels come up, make a list. Now simply visit each channel site and look for the option called ‘partner with us’ and fill a small form and wait for the channel sales team to call you up, the rest is a cake walk. When you create your profile on a channel, update every bit of information, remember, the guest looking for a stay may not know much and every bit of information you provide will be helpful in making quick decision.
So now you have channels, this means suddenly your chances of selling your room have increased 1000 fold. Now technology will come to your rescue, remember I asked you to look for PMS which can handle OTA, if you have adopted such solution now simply add all these channels to your channel manager within PMS and wait for the magic to happen. Now your rates and real-time inventories are automatically pushed to channels, and all incoming bookings will arrive directly come into the PMS. Stay in touch with your account manager at channel, these guys can help you with search positions and also provide valuable tips on booking trends.
Don’t ignore rate management
It is important that your property offers competitive pricing, if you are using channel manager, you will be allowed to track your competition rates, which will give you an indication as to what rates competition is offering, you can now play around with your rates and change prices based on your occupancy levels, remember many people like to book travel in advance for holidays or even for general travel, so don’t just focus on today’s rate but plan your competitive rates for next one quarter and general rates for one year. If you are using system, all you need to do is edit BAR rate and same will be pushed automatically to all channels. Remember selling cheap is not always the best choice, have a competitive rate and build your rate around offers like last minute rate, non refundable and refundable rates, room with breakfast, transfer, sight seeing, meal or some other specific service, this helps improve your chances of more conversions/bookings. So build your rates around services, this way you don’t sound cheap and also offers make it attractive to a booker.
Market your property
Have a website
Have a website, today companies like Network solutions and Godaddy, offer domains and website templates which let you start within 10-15 minutes, it hardly costs anything and gives your guests direct access to your property, remember any guest who looks for a property on an OTA will also search for your property on google and if they can find you, chances are they will book directly at your website or call you as that gives a booker more confidence and also instant access to hotel. You too are benefited as that saves you in OTA commissions.
Connect a web booking engine
If you are using system, ensure your website has web booking engine connected, so if a guest wants, he/she can directly book on your website, a direct confirmation from hotels generates more confidence than an OTA booking. If you offer a website booking option, try to offer two checkout options, one with confirmed reservation by accepting an online payment and other a non guarantee booking with email to the hotel, many guests don’t want to use credit cards online but genuinely need rooms, so an email option works great and you can contact them offline and confirm.
Make use of feedbacks
Have an account on TripAdvisor, today every booker looks for feedbacks from other fellow travellers, so if you are not on feedback sites you are missing out on opportunities. Every time a guest stays with you, ask them to provide a feedback, provide incentive to the guest for feedback with 10% off or more on next visit, or a surprise gift coupon, this not only increases your chances that guest will make an effort to provide feedback but also use the offer and visit again or probably pass it on to a friend.
Use social media
Social-Media-GraphicUse Facebook and Twitter, try and locate people who have stayed with you or are going to visit you, engage with them, imagine your engagements beings shared on their friends timelines. Be creative and run social media promotions and surprises, it takes a few minutes but goes a long way in building community and having more people know about you. Use social media tools to automate engagements and updates.
If you are using the system you have guest databases, and now you can run campaigns for promotions and general letters on different occasions, like birthdays, anniversary, festivals and general updates. Use free tools like Mailchimp, Icontact or other such free email campaign tools, don’t use your email to run mailers as that might get noticed by spam services and your domain and email will get blacklisted, all free campaign tools allow you to send a certain amount of emails per month and you can also automate and schedule campaigns.
Always make sure, may it be an OTA or your website, you provide all necessary information, like property pictures, room pictures, hotel information, location information with attractions around and any offers that you might be running. If you have contact forms, email and phone numbers, make sure they are working and make it a habit to check them once 2-3 weeks, at times technology can fail and you may just miss a guest, if any of this link is not working or if information is old.
I will cover Social media and Campaigns exclusively in the next blog as that needs a complete blog post by itself.
mycloud is developed and promoted by Prologic First– a hospitality technology innovator and a leading international hospitality IT solutions provider.Prologic First is a group of companies that develops and internationally markets integrated software solutions for the hospitality sector. Prologic First software solutions are in use at more than 1300 sites in 35 countries. Professionals formed Prologic First more than a decade ago with extensive experience in developing and deploying hotel IT solutions. For more information visit www.prologicfirst.com.
Deepak Chauhan, Phone +44-074-1844-8130, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org