The more hotel rooms you sell, the more revenue you make. It’s as simple as that. What’s not so simple is finding, testing, and then tailoring the right strategies for your property.
If hotel room selling is done well, you could find yourself with more than just a steady stream of revenue and high occupancy. Your brand reputation, guest experience, and market share could improve too.
In this blog, we’ll look at a variety of hotel room selling techniques and their benefits.
What Is Hotel Room Selling?
Simply put, hotel room selling includes all the ways in which you sell your hotel rooms to guests.
There are many ways to sell rooms and different methods will work for different hotels. But the overall goal should be to generate revenue by filling as many rooms as possible while providing a great guest experience.
The hotel industry is competitive, which means a thorough understanding of your audience, the market, and the industry itself is needed to make more hotel room sales.
Methods, such as the use of online and offline channels (hotel websites, travel agents, direct sales etc.), promotional offers, packages, and loyalty programs, all come with their own pros and cons.
Pros and Cons of Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)
HotelTechReport describes online travel agencies (OTAs) as the “frenemies” of hotels. OTAs help hotels increase hotel bookings. But they also come with a hefty list of drawbacks for hotels.
OTAs put the consumer at the center of their operations, providing travelers with:
- Choice & convenience
- Price comparison
- User experience
When it comes to OTAs’ role in hotel room selling, there’s not always an easy answer for hotels. Below we’ve helped weigh up the pros and cons of using OTAs to boost sales:
Increased exposure: OTAs have a large audience, and listing on their platform could expose you to thousands of potential guests.
Cost-effective marketing: Given the large audience, OTAs are a great way to market your rooms and reach a wider audience. This is especially true if you’re a smaller or independent hotel.
Convenience for guests: OTAs provide guests with a convenient experience, from finding and comparing hotels to making bookings online.
Increased bookings: This convenience makes it far easier for guests to find and book rooms, meaning OTAs can help increase the number of bookings at your hotel.
Commission fees: Hotels often have to pay up to 45% commission on each sale, which can eat away at profits over time.
Dependence: Being too reliant on OTAs could result in you losing control over your distribution and pricing strategy.
Lack of data: OTAs share very little data with hotels and put themselves between guests and suppliers. This can make it harder for hotels to develop long-term relationships with guests.
Reduced brand control: Hotels are required to adhere to specific standards and policies of each OTA, which limits their control over how they appear. Consequently, this can cause confusion and dissatisfaction among customers.
11 Hotel Room Selling Techniques To Boost Revenue
\To help you amp up your hotel room selling strategy, we’ve compiled the following list of thirteen helpful techniques that can boost your bottom line.
1. Use Digital Upselling Software
Room upgrades could help you earn more revenue from each guest while providing an exceptional guest experience. Upselling is a common practice throughout hotels. It requires technique, strategy, and a good idea of what appeals to each guest.
For some staff members, upselling comes easily. But it can be hit-and-miss for others. Instead of solely relying on your workforce to upsell hotel room upgrades, consider using digital upselling software like Canary Upsells.
Here are a few ways to sell upgrades using technology:
- Offer a range of upgrade options: Appeal to different budgets and needs by offering a range of upgrade options.
- Promote upgrades: Promote room upgrades from the time of booking to check-in using digital upselling software. Canary Upsells allows you to push upsell options to guests through text message and email.
- Add in an exceptional experience: Make sure that your guests see the value of their upgrade after purchasing by throwing in something complimentary. A bottle of wine or a fruit basket are good options.
2. Showcase Rooms Across Channels
Increase your hotel’s online visibility and success by showcasing your hotel rooms across a variety of channels.
You’ll want to maintain a consistent message when using multiple channels. This will ensure that guests, no matter where they book, have the same understanding of what your hotel has to offer.
Channels you can use include:
- Your hotel website: Increase the chances of direct bookings by making sure your hotel website is well-designed and easy to navigate.
- Online travel agencies (OTAs): As previously discussed, OTAs come with positives and negatives for hotels. But partnering with OTAs can help you reach a much larger pool of guests.
- Metasearch engines: Metasearch engines such as Google Hotel Ads, Kayak, and Tripadvisor are valuable channels for hotels and guests alike. They allow users to compare rates and availability and book directly with the hotel.
3. Package Deals
Hotels can increase their bookings and revenue, as well as provide a more compelling value proposition for potential guests, by creating attractive package deals.
Bundling rooms with other amenities or experiences will help you sell more in the long run by:
- Increasing value: Increase the perceived value of your rooms and attract more bookings.
- Attracting new markets: Appeal to new demographics by creating package deals suited to various age groups, or types of guests.
- Boosting occupancy: Package deals can help you fill rooms during periods of low occupancy. Attract business travelers during the mid-week slump by bundling rooms with co-working spaces or networking.
4. Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is a powerful tool for hotels. It’s a broad area, encompassing many channels and strategies such as:
- Search engine optimization (SEO): Optimizing your website for SEO will help you attract more organic traffic to your site.
- Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising: Targeting the right potential guests, at the right time, with the right ads, can help attract more business to your hotel.
- Social media marketing: Social media is a fantastic way to build brand awareness. Use channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to reach and engage with a wide range of guests.
- Email marketing: Send targeted and personalized emails to guests with offers, promos, and news. For this to work, you’ll need to build a list of past and present hotel guest emails.
- Content marketing: Build authority and become a source of information or entertainment for guests by posting blogs and videos. This can lead to increased bookings.
5. Leverage Group Business and Room Blocks
Group business can be a valuable source of revenue for hotels, often leading to the sale of room blocks. A hotel room block is a prearranged group of hotel rooms set aside for a specific group or event.
Room blocks are beneficial for both the hotel and group. They can help you secure large chunks of occupancy which is handy, especially during times of low occupancy. This also helps you plan for staffing and inventory needs.
For the group, a room block can provide a discounted rate, a guarantee that rooms will be available for their attendees, and other perks such as complimentary rooms for organizers, early check-in or late check-out, or access to hotel amenities.
Leverage group business to increase your bookings and revenue by:
- Offering group rates
- Providing group amenities
- Partnering with event planners
- Targeting specific industries
- And providing exceptional group experiences
6. Build Strategic Partnerships
Strategic partnerships can help you sell more rooms and increase your revenue. You can attract more bookings and differentiate yourself from competitors by:
- Cross-promoting with other businesses — Partner with restaurants, attractions, or tech companies, for example, to cross-promote each other’s services.
- Offering joint loyalty programs — Partner with airlines, credit card companies, or other businesses to offer joint loyalty programs. You can reward guests with free room upgrades or discounted rates, for example.
- Partnering with event organizers or venues — Partner with local event organizers and venues to offer accommodation to attendees. You could include perks like a shuttle service or welcome gifts.
- Building corporate partnerships — Partner with corporations and build relationships with corporate travel managers to offer discounted rates and other perks to employees.
7. Improve Your Online Reviews
Your online reviews are a treasure trove of customer insights, needs, and evolving demands. Good reviews will also help you sell more rooms. But how do you get your guests to leave them?
Ninety-three percent of internet users, according to Podium, have made buying decisions based on an online review. In addition, only 22% of hotel guests will leave a review of their own accord. But that figure shoots up to 80% if the hotel requests a review.
The checkout process is a great way to get more reviews. Canary Contactless Checkout, for example, increases the number of 5-star hotel reviews on Tripadvisor and Google by up to 350%.
8. Implement a Loyalty Program
Incentivize repeat bookings and build brand loyalty by implementing a loyalty program. Offer perks such as free nights, room upgrades, or exclusive discounts, to encourage guests to book with you again and again. Here are a few examples of what other hotel chains are doing:
- IHG One Rewards: IHG offers two thousand points every two nights which can be redeemed within twelve months. These points are redeemable across their 18 brands.
- Accor Plus: Offers savings on hotel stays. They also promise exclusive events, elite status, and early access to Accor hotel promotions.
- Marriott Bonvoy: Members can spend their points on hotel nights, flights and car rentals, dining, concerts, and more.
9. Offer Special Deals and Promotions
Special deals and promotions can help you sell more rooms by offering guests an incentive to book with you. Here are a few ways you can use special deals and promotions to sell more hotel rooms:
- Discounted rates: Offer early-bird or last-minute discounts to fill empty rooms and increase your revenue.
- Free nights or upgrades: Incentivize guests to book longer stays by offering free nights or room upgrades for guests who stay longer.
- Event-specific promotions: Create promotions that coincide with local events or holidays. New Year’s Eve or Valentine’s day specials are a great way to attract guests who are looking for memorable experiences.
10. Personalize Experiences
Guests want to feel valued. So, it’s no surprise that personalizing your hotel experiences can help you increase guest loyalty and satisfaction. Here are a few ways you can personalize the guest experience:
- Start with how you welcome guests: Address them by name and consider offering a personalized welcome gift that reflects the guest’s interests.
- Room customization: Give guests the option to customize their room amenities or decor (such as pillows, lighting, or room temperature) to their preferences.
- Local experiences: Recommend experiences that suit your guests’ tastes. You could organize a guided tour of a local gallery or museum for an art lover, for example.
11. Focus On Good Revenue Management
Effective revenue management involves pricing hotel rooms strategically to maximize revenue.
By analyzing demand patterns, market trends, and competitor pricing, you can adjust your rates to reflect changing market conditions and optimize revenue.
Use dynamic pricing to offer discounts and promotions during low-demand periods and increase room sales.
Human Front Desk Agents vs Integrated Hotel Room Upgrade Technology
Upselling software can be more effective than hotel front desk agents when it comes to upselling room upgrades.
Sales, as a practice, is hard and not every agent will be a good salesperson. Automating the process can help take the pressure off your front desk, meaning they can spend more time on other tasks.
Upselling software can increase revenues by anywhere from $1,000-$10,000 per month depending on the type and size of the hotel.
Finding the right techniques for better hotel room selling matters. And what works for one hotel may not work for another. The good news is, hotels don’t need to rely on OTAs to sell rooms.
Combining techniques such as upselling, package deals, and building strategic partnerships can help you grow revenue while delivering a superb guest experience.
Best of all, there’s technology to help. Automate processes such as check-in and checkout, upselling, and tipping, to make your staff and guests happier.
Next up, find out how technology can help improve the hotel guest experience in 2023.