As a hotelier, you can always do with more business, right?
After losing years to the pandemic, now is the time to catch up and drive extra bookings. But how to go about it?
Use the following eleven hotel strategies to attract more customers and strengthen your business in the long run.
1. Use a guest management system to build a marketing database.
The best place to start is to use what you already have. In this case, that’s the data you’ve gathered from past and current clients as well as from people who sign up for your newsletter via your website. Use their details to start building your marketing database. Keep growing it by collecting data from every new guest during check-in. You can do this by letting them fill out a form with their details and then manually enter it into your system. But that’s a time-consuming and error-prone solution. Instead, use a guest management system to automate this process and build your database effortlessly.
2. Implement email marketing.
Now it’s time to put that guest database to good use. Enter, email marketing! With an average ROI of $36 for every $1 spent, it’s one of the most effective ways to market your hotel.
Here are four ways you can use it.
- Keep your guests interested: share content about things to do in your area and at your hotel. That builds interest and reminds travelers of why your property is a great pick.
- Share exciting updates: let people know if you recently spruced up your rooms or introduced a mouthwatering new menu. That gives them another reason to come (or come back!).
- Promote your latest discounts and deals: that could be a seasonal offer, spontaneous flash sales, or packages.
- Offer exclusive deals for subscribers: reward people for staying on your list with dibs on limited offers that aren’t available elsewhere.
Especially during the off-season or other demand slumps, this is a useful hotel strategy to attract more customers.
3. Capture more guest reviews and manage them online.
According to a study by TripAdvisor and Ipsos MORI, 81% of travelers read reviews before booking a stay. That creates a fantastic opportunity for your hotel because your guests’ raving reviews can bring you more business. But the power of reviews doesn’t stop there. TrustYou found that travelers are 3.9 times more likely to book properties with higher scores. On top of that, 76% of people were willing to pay higher rates for a hotel with good ratings.
So how do you get more of these valuable reviews?
Asking each guest for written feedback during check-out can be difficult. People are in a hurry and will often forget to leave a review, even if they intend to do so. Online check-out adds to the challenge since it takes away the opportunity to request a review in person.
Luckily, you can leverage technology to solve this problem. For example, Canary can send out a customizable survey to every departing guest. It then prompts travelers who give a 5-star review to share it on TripAdvisor and/or Google.
That helps you generate more reviews with little extra effort. Once you set up the survey, just watch new guest feedback roll in.
4. Leverage social media.
Instagram and TikTok are two powerful tools to reach your audience, introduce your property and its offering, and build an interest in your hotel. However, just posting something for the sake of it won’t cut it. Instead, create high-quality content that offers some kind of value, be it entertainment, information about the destination or something else that gets people’s attention.
Doing this well is time-consuming. So consider hiring someone to take on this task or outsource it to an expert who knows all the latest trends on each channel.
But social media can do even more. It’s also a good place for so-called remarketing. What is that and why do you need it? Data shows that 75% of bookings are abandoned. At first, that may seem like a problem because it costs you business. But it’s also an opportunity since these guests don’t have to be lost forever.
That’s where remarketing campaigns come in. They target people with ads if they’ve already shown interest in your property by visiting your website. It’s all about the marketing rule of seven, which says that people need to see your brand at least seven times before they’re ready to buy. Remarketing helps you do just that. It keeps your brand in front of potential customers, pushing them to take that final step and book your property.
5. Optimize for local SEO.
This may sound complicated, but you can fix your local SEO in a few simple steps:
- Ensure that your name, address and phone number (NAP) are all correct across all public profiles (like Google, Tripadvisor, social media, etc.)
- Verify that other business information is accurate and complete as well (e.g. opening times, prices, lists of services and amenities ... )
- Update opening hours for your restaurants, spa, etc.
- Answer questions people ask about your property on places like Google
- Respond to reviews on Google, Tripadvisor and any other public feedback sites
- Add new images regularly
Following these simple steps will make it easier for people to find your hotel when they look for a property in your area. It also shows the algorithm that your profile is active and well-managed. That makes it more likely that you’ll appear higher up in the search results.
6. Consider old-fashioned advertising.
It may not be the first thing on your mind but why not test highway billboards to market your hotel? If a significant number of people drive to your destination, it could be worthwhile to strategically place billboards along the roads they commonly use. The same goes for airports. Advertise there if you’re targeting guests coming from a specific source market.
Another option is to place print ads in newspapers and magazines. For this, choose publications that fit your target audience’s reading habits.
Add a QR code to your billboards and ads for people to scan, so they can directly access your website or the offer you’re promoting. This makes it easier for them to act on your ad and increases your chances of driving business.
On top of that, you can track traffic generated by each ad via the QR code to see which ones perform well and are worth the investment.
7. Revamp your website and make booking as easy as possible.
If you’re going to use SEO, advertising, social media and reviews to drive more people to your website, make sure it offers a great user experience. The easier it is to navigate and the better you show what makes your hotel unique, the more likely site visitors are to book.
Consider these aspects when you examine your website:
- Quick loading speed: if your website loads slowly, people will bounce, and you lose their business. Speed things up by compressing images, removing unnecessary plug-ins and keeping your backend tidy.
- Great photos: highlight your USPs and help your guests picture themselves enjoying your property with high-quality pictures. Don’t cut corners here! Hire a professional to take shots that show your hotel in the best light.
- Strong copy: tell your hotel’s story, provide valuable information and draw people in with descriptive copy. Showcase your location, special services and optional add-ons guests can enjoy, so nobody can resist booking.
- User-friendly booking engine: first, make it easy for people to find your booking engine. Ideally, you’ll link to it at the top of every page. Second, ensure it’s easy to use, so the booking process is at least as smooth as on an OTA. The better the guest experience here, the more likely people are to complete their booking on your website.
8. Revisit your pricing strategy.
Your rates have a massive impact on how many guests you attract. That’s why lowering your prices can often drive bookings. But does that attract the guests you want? Or does it harm your brand perception in the market? Think carefully about how you price and keep an eye on the competition as well as demand shifts. Leverage business intelligence tools to help you keep an overview of new market trends. Perhaps even consider an RMS that offers optimized rate suggestions.
These tools help you set the right prices that attract bookings during both high- and low-demand periods without upsetting your positioning.
9. Offer attractive packages.
How about making things more interesting for your guests by offering added value? Packages are the best way to do that.
Here are some services you could include in your bundles:
- Lunch and/or dinner
- Airport transfers
- Spa treatments
- In-room welcome amenities (e.g. a fruit basket or a bottle of Champagne)
- Early check-in/late departure
- Other activities at the hotel
Depending on your target audience, you can create different packages and advertise them at various times of the year. For example, an offer for couples could work well over a long weekend. A family package may be more popular throughout the summer break. And of course there’s the chance to build seasonal offers as well. Get creative here and try different things to find out what works best at your property.
10. Ensure staff are providing personalized and friendly service.
As a hotelier, providing a wonderful experience and delighting your clients is probably your number one goal. It’s also a good way to attract customers since happy guests come back and talk your property up to their friends.
To ensure continuously high levels of service that inspire positive word of mouth, you’ll need to make a few investments. First, provide ongoing training on service standards as well as team-building exercises for your staff. Then, set up incentives to reward employees who drive sales, get praised in guest reviews or do excellent work supporting their team behind the scenes. Lastly, use tools like a digital tipping solution to help your staff get more tips for their great work. All this together increases job satisfaction and ensures that your team is willing and able to provide an unforgettable guest experience.
11. Partner with other local businesses.
Form partnerships with service providers near you to boost business for each other. Consider working with local tour guides, restaurants, salons, transportation providers (like limousine services), gyms, or babysitting agencies. This not only supports your local community but also offers your guests additional services that you may not provide in-house. It can also help you gain customers via referrals from your partners.
Doing all these things at once can feel overwhelming. That’s why it’s best to start with simple points like local SEO and building your marketing database.
Then you can tackle things that build on these areas, like email marketing and a website overhaul. Next, work on your social media presence and your local network - one step at a time.
Yes, it’ll take time and energy to do all this. But as you give each aspect the attention it deserves, you’ll quickly see the benefits and start driving more business for your hotel.