Whenever the season is low, discounts reveal themselves as a go-to sales solution for experienced hoteliers. It's exactly what customers are waiting for an opportunity to enjoy the same luxurious treatment at a fairly lower price. This conversion hack may be very well aligned with your annual sales goals, but it's still preventing your bottom line from skyrocketing you to the next year's industry top.
But if not discounts, then what?
How can you possibly attract indecisive bookers in a competitive climate if not with lower prices?
There are a few effective strategies more, but they'll need you to step out of your comfort zone. In order to make them work, you'll have to mingle and network, both with your potential guests and other businessmen from related niches. Though somewhat demanding, they all guarantee stellar results.
Cut the Middleman for Double Impact
A vast number of hoteliers rely on online travel agencies to take care of their digital conversions. It's been a while since booking practices have been moved to the online environment, and missing out on this sales channel is no longer an option. Though widely popular, OTAs are not the kings of this realm.
In fact, they are nothing but a middleman that stands between you and your customers.
Why not cut them out of the equation then? Hotels that do so make a double impact. First, they get to keep all of their sales earning for themselves. Second, they are allowed to build a personalized experience that's tailored precisely to their guests' needs and boost both customer relations and ROI.
However, the direct booking strategy requires a reliable online hotel booking software.
As a centralized system, this software should be able to integrate with your website, social media accounts, and the best cloud-based hotel PMS. How does it drive sales and attract guests? UX-wise, they prefer personalization and demand convenience, which is enough to give you a competitive edge.
Get Creative with Omni-Channel Marketing
Omni-channelling stands for a marketing practice that uses multiple available communication routes to engage customers. It also includes different techniques, from SEO optimization that helps with search engine visibility and Trip Advisor ratings to social media marketing, whether it's paid or organic.
Whatever channel you choose (Facebook and Instagram are pretty much obligatory for the hospitality industry, as well as Google Adwords & Google Hotel ads (which are great for conversions) and whatever technique you employ, make sure that the message you send out bursts with creativity. You need something engaging and original, but also informative and unfailingly convincing. Of course, you should use google campaigns in regions where you get a big chunk of your business. This can be more effective when compared to OTA at times.
Here are some ideas to help you start:
- Instagrammable corners - Aesthetics is an imperative of a modern-day customer experience, and hoteliers can easily tap into that. Find a perfect Instagrammable spot in your hotel and put a large sign that says "tag us on Instagram". This will encourage your guests to share user-generated content.
- Destination content - For both SEO and engagement, create content that explores many various wonders that your guests can enjoy around your hotel. Recommend attractions that are irresistible, publish news on local events, and post photos or stream live videos of the area's breathtaking nature.
- Video tours - Speaking of live streaming, the potential guests would love to taste a piece of the ambience that awaits them in your hotel before they book a room. Allow them a sneak peek with video tours that will take them to their room and other amenities. Photos can hardly be as revealing.
Partner Up for Cross-Promotional Deals
Typically, these kinds of deals imply some kinds of affiliate programs that offer coupons and vouchers for partner businesses a booked hotel room comes with a discount for a nearby restaurant, a spa, or a ticket to the local museum. In exchange, these businesses recommend your hotel to their guests.
But, hospitality partnerships and cross-promotional deals don't have to rely on discounts in order to attract new customers. They can simply team up to tailor a holistic in-destination experience that offers everything from accommodation and fine dining to shopping and adventure, like a Disney World.
Special Treats and Irresistible Packages
Similarly, to affiliate programs, special packages usually promise a tempting discount. Since you want to avoid them, you can offer an interesting treat that your guests cannot find anywhere else. Holidays are brilliant for such limited offers, but Valentines' Day and New Year's packages are not really original.
Go back to your hotel's unique selling point and think about what differentiates you from others. Is it a delicious local cuisine? If so, offer a special cooking class with your chef. Free local tours are another great example, but it can also be something as simple as a chilled bottle of your region's finest wine.
Whatever you choose, contact a booking management system vendor and ask them for a free hotel software demo. It's always easier to retain an old customer than to acquire a new one, which is why you need to start analyzing booking behaviour and building relationships that will make your rooms full even in the low season. Make an effort to know your guests, and they'll gladly return next year.