Your Guests Are International – Your Hotel’s Approach Should Be Too
Whether we’re talking about vacations, business travels or single-night stays, international visitors are a big faction of any hotel’s total number of guests. Especially if your hotel is located in a central area of a bigger city or in a popular holiday region, you probably greet foreign visitors on a daily basis. This is why it’s extremely important to know exactly how to not only attract them, but keep them coming.
Any type of guest deserves an equal amount of attention, respect and the same effort and dedication from the hotel’s management team. It might, however, be easier to relate and engage with local visitors rather than with international tourists. The language barrier and the cultural differences are just some of the reasons why it can seem slightly harder to communicate with someone from a different country and/or continent. You have to keep in mind though that we are living in the era of globalization and hoteliers must learn how to adapt to every single type of traveler out there. Meeting all guests’ expectations means that your reputation gradually improves, which leads to more bookings and revenue.
Let’s dive into what are the best ways of attracting international travelers to your hotel and influence their booking decision.
First of all, you should acknowledge that in most cases, international tourists, since they travel far away from home, plan this vacation in advance. Very few are the cases in which an international travel is a spontaneous one. Therefore, it’s only natural that they save up more and are willing to spend more on this vacation, which makes this the perfect occasion for you, as a hotelier, to give it your best at offering extra services and features, that would drive more revenue.
We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: the analytics are crucial. If you take a close look at the demographics of your international travelers, you might notice that a big part of them come from a specific country, maybe one nearby. It’s very important to know exactly who your audience is, in order to further be able to adapt to it.
Once you know exactly what type of international travelers to expect, make sure that you are ready for them. It might seem like an extra step, but let’s say that you greet a great number of Spanish tourists - it wouldn’t hurt for the hotel staff to learn a few key conversational phrases in Spanish. It doesn’t have to be anything major, but a simple “Welcome”, “Can I help you with anything else”, “Please let me escort you to your room” in their own language can make foreign travelers feel more at ease and more appreciated. Let them know that “mi casa es tu casa” and it surely won’t go unnoticed.
Also while on the topic of languages, it’s always a great idea to make sure that your hotel’s website is translated in multiple languages and that can change or adapt depending on traveler demographics. Make the searching and booking process as easy as possible for them and avoid abandoned bookings and missed opportunities.
At the end of the day, don’t forget about guest feedback! If you have the capability of answering to reviews in a different language, go for it. It shows that you are absolutely willing to go the extra mile for your clients and it makes communication a bit more personal.
Currency is another important thing that you need to pay attention to. Going on a trip and not being able to pay with your own money or at least, a highly popular currency, such as the Dollar, Euro, Pound is a stress-causing factor and no one wants that, especially not while on vacation. This is why you should make sure that guests have different options of making payments, at the front-desk, restaurant, spa, hotel store, etc. It might come as an extra investment for you, but it will be a relief for your guests and it will certainly make operations easier and faster.
If you are lucky enough to be located in a highly popular area, with a distinct trait, history or cultural cargo, don’t forget about putting it out there, for the public to see. As the first chapter of our latest eBook implies, keep the focus on what makes you different - it might be more important than you think. An area that you are already used to, up to the point where you see it as common, could be a point of attraction for international visitors, something that they don’t have in their own country. Also, you can dig a bit into the area’s history and cultural background, you never know what you can find.
Speaking of cultural details, let’s pause for a second and think of something: it’s no secret anymore that Airbnb is a huge disruptor in the hospitality industry. There are many reasons why, one of the main ones being the feeling that it inspires in guests: the feeling of being at home, while traveling. You shouldn’t shy away from borrowing this technique and applying it at your hotel. It doesn’t have to come as a complex strategy - it’s all in the details. If you notice a high volume of British travelers, for example, it could be a great idea to include an English breakfast option in your hotel restaurant’s menu. Or a 5 o’clock tea event. You get the idea. Make guests feel comfortable, let them know that you acknowledge and respect their cultural background and everyday habits.
Not a groundbreaking idea or effort here, but social media is always something that hoteliers have to pay attention to. If you have a piece of content that is mostly directed to a specific audience, you can and should go the extra mile and translate that post into the corresponding language and target it to reach those speaking the language. Also, make sure to be active on social media and engage with your audience and with foreign travelers, especially if you have the means of doing it in their own language. This will give you more visibility and credibility among international travelers and potential customers.
Bottom line is, your overall effort into attracting international guests should come as a reinforcement of your own brand and your hotel’s reputation. Whatever you do, keep your standards and be genuine. Consistency is key and offering the same services and consideration to all travelers, no matter where they come from, is something that translates into any language.