Leverage Traveler’s Online Preferences to Drive Hotel Bookings
All travelers consider and prioritize different hotel profile elements during the search-shop-buy process, but certain aspects consistently make the list. In one of my recent blog posts, I mentioned some key elements of hotel profiles and why they were important. Location, price, reviews, and ease of booking typically influence the final hotel booking decision. Aside from adding these elements to your hotel profile, you can also use this information to drive hotel bookings. Here's a few tips to get you started:
Whether a guest is traveling for business or leisure, location is always a significant factor in booking. Established hotels obviously can't change their address, but they can change their strategy to work with what they have.
Focus on attracting and retaining repeat guests within your market niche. With the right spin, interstate properties are ideal for families on roadtrips, suburban hotels are great for business travelers, and remote lodges are perfect when a couple needs to disconnect.
When there's nothing to do about location, work on improving convenience instead. Collaborate with local restaurants to provide delivery meals so a traveler doesn't have to head downtown or offer a local shuttle to make it easier to go out.
Business travelers are typically less sensitive to pricing than leisure travelers. However, both groups factor expenses into their booking decision. Hotels don't necessarily need to be the cheapest option in an area, but they do need to be competitive and provide value for their dollar.
For hotels that attract both types of travelers, two separate pricing schemes seems unobtainable. Instead, focus on adding value to the leisure traveler. Offering packages that include "free" extras like a bottle of wine or tickets to the local zoo can lower the total price in a leisure traveler's budget while still charging full price to a business traveler who has no need to search for or book a package.
Recommendations from family or friends and endorsements by trusted publications and influencers are still one of the best ways to win a booking. You can't count on word of mouth, but you can encourage guests to spread the word. Incentives to post on social media can include bonus rewards points, discounts at the on-site restaurant, or the chance to win a free stay. Keep things creative so that guests want to participate.
When a traveler doesn't have a personal recommendation, online guest reviews are the next best thing. Positive guest reviews and testimonials foster an emotional attachment to the property so guests specifically choose to book your hotel. By analyzing reviews, hotels have feedback on issues the hotel may need to address or resolve in order to build a positive online reputation.
Ease of Bookings
Consumers don't want to wait for anything anymore. Hotels should make it easy to find information and book a reservation is essential. Make hotel facts readily accessible so they don't have to call (or click away to another website).
Then, being able to check on availability and prices and ultimately book a reservation is essential. Most online booking engines do a good job of this. It's also good to double check that your mobile website is easy to use. In 2015, more than a third of all hotel bookings were made on mobile devices. Therefore, elements like calendars and buttons should be easy to click on smartphones and tablets.
Lastly, make upgrades and add-ons easy to purchase during the booking process. Don't miss out on the opportunity to upsell guests who want additional amenities anyway. Provide qualitative insight into why an upgraded room or package provides extra value to encourage quick decisions.
As with all businesses, analytics help provide actionable insights. TrustYou review analytics can help target the key factors for your particular market segment so you can build the right tools and strategy to drive more bookings.