There is no better feeling than seeing the ‘Sold Out’ sign at the front gate for a hotelier. But, in recent years, how often have you enjoyed the feeling? If you’re smirking at the question, you’re not the only one.
Time and again, hoteliers worldwide have to chalk out new ways to attract travelers and exceed guests’ expectations.
One of the hotel industry’s biggest challenges is the overwhelming amount of competition, making it difficult to stand out amongst hundreds of other options to attract more bookings. The challenge further intensifies when you become engrossed in managing the hotel’s day-to-day activities, thereby overlooking the bigger picture.
The key to success of a hotelier is getting more travelers to book the room because the room sales impact the revenue. And, that’s what we are here to increase!
Here are four practical tips to get more travelers to book your hotel.
1. Improve the socials
With social media, you can kill two birds with one stone – attract new hotel bookings and get featured in your customer’s post. Irrespective of whether you have a social media presence or not, start investing because 73% of millennials check the hotel’s social media feed before booking a hotel. Interestingly, 33% will call off the booking if the hotel lacks a social media page.
Furthermore, all travelers, including corporate, leisure, or backpackers, tend to share their activities and check-in at different places when staying away from home. It’s a great way to get featured in their Newsfeed – it’s more of a word of mouth publicity. And, 83% of millennials book a hotel after seeing pictures from a friend on social media.
Using social media hold contests, giveaway prizes, feature stories of customers who have previously stayed in your hotel, or share a simple travel tip to remain on the top of the mind of the customer.
Bonus tip: Keep an eye on the competitors’ social media profile to ensure you’re not lagging in any aspect. Furthermore, take all customer feedback constructively and ensure to respond to customer queries.
2. Use a global distribution system (GDS)
A Global distribution system (GDS) is an evergreen buzzword for the hotel industry because it helps in tapping the corporate traveler market. If you’re witnessing a downfall in hotel bookings and unable to attract the travelers – consider signing up for a GDS.
It is a network empowering the travel agents to sell hotel rooms to the clients on your behalf.
It increases hotel booking because it creates a single entry point for a massive influx of travel agents globally. A travel agent can access the real-time rates and room availability of your hotel through a GDS. When the agent books the room, the GDS updates and reduces the inventory in your hotel’s reservation system.
In short, it provides real-time availability of hotel bookings to the customers who are planning to travel.
Apart from increasing the hotel booking, a GDS offers numerous benefits like growth opportunities, instant updates, and helps you reach a global market. Furthermore, the GDS is a perfect tool for tapping the international travelers. And it’s one of the main reasons for their growing popularity in the hotel industry.
While a GDS is a great tool in your arsenal, it comes with a certain cost. As a hotel, you pay a one-time initial set up fee and a transaction fee, which is applied to every individual booking. By spending a small amount of money, you can increase your revenue manifolds and leave a mark in the hospitality sector.
When signing up for a GDS, you will come across a bouquet of systems, each offering a unique feature. Some of the most popular global distribution systems are Travelport, Amadeus, and Sabre. While all the GDS offer advantages in some way or another, it boils down to your personal choice.
All the buzz surrounding GDS makes it a worthy investment, and you will never repent spending on this network system.
Bonus tip: For best results, complete your hotel description comprehensively as it improves the GDS search positioning. It means that more travel agents can source your hotel to travelers.
3. Get tech-savvy
Similar to Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest, your hotel should facilitate a tech-friendly environment. From super-fast secure Wi-Fi to charging points – you can get more room booking with modern technology.
It’s not sufficient to provide the tech alone; the tech should be the latest if you want to entice the customers. Put yourself in the shoes of the customers to come up with innovative solutions to enhance your customers’ stay.
Imagine the level of experience of guests capable of adjusting the room temperature, dimming lights, closing the room blinds, and starting the coffee machine using their mobile. Such technologies will not only create goodwill but will also trigger return visits.
Amenities like keyless entry, Smart TVs, presence of docking station (for business travelers), accessing guest services through cloud and messaging platform to update guests – are technology infrastructures that give the guests control over the hotel experience.
Bonus tip: Create self-check-in kiosks or mobile apps and allow the guests to skip the long wait time. The more tech-savvy your hotel, the more customers, especially millennials and business travelers, will book a room.
4. Invest in your website
A slow website can dent a hole in your room booking because page speed impacts the purchasing decision of whopping 70% customers. Such customers switch to your competitors to avoid delays in the booking.
Start with improving the gallery page loading speed because the potential customers see your hotel from the images you post on the website. Images pack a huge emotional punch and can convert visitors to loyal guests.
Your website is usually the first place of the communication channel, and it should leave a lasting impact. If possible, create a 360o degree view or a virtual tour of the hotel to let the customers know what’s in store.
Furthermore, if your website isn’t mobile responsive, it’s as good as waste because most of the travel market’s money comes from mobile marketing. It’s critical to design a separate concept for the mobile website; otherwise, it will look like a shrunken version of the desktop site. When you try to fit too many things on a mobile screen, you end up confusing and irritating the customers.
When you invest in your website, you reduce the friction and boost the hotel booking.
Bonus tip: Your website should be reflective of your brand image. Use colors and designs matching the theme of your hotel. Consistency and right color combination are other two important factors that help convert a casual visitor to a guest. Believe it or not, but a simple design will fetch you more results than a complicated website with confusing navigation.
In a nutshell, if you want more travelers to book your hotel, you need to think out-of-the-box and be the forerunner for making new offerings. The rule here is simple; the greater the exposure of your property, the greater the hotel’s booking rate.
While things will not change overnight, these small steps in the right direction will sooner or later fetch the desired results.