At the Direct Booking Summit: EMEA 2019 in Paris, we asked our trusted partners, speakers and attendees for new strategies that hotels can implement in a week, quarter and a year to increase their direct business. Read on to learn nine key actions for boosting your hotel revenue from Oaky.

What do all hotels, resorts and hostels all have in common? Apart from selling rooms, they all want to maximize their revenue. But with many markets becoming more competitive, boosting revenue is easier said than done. Increasing room rates to broaden margins might be great during high season, but during the low season, high rates drive customers away.

Instead of simply adjusting room rates up and down, there are many other ways for hotels to generate more revenue and create a better guest experience at the same time.

In this article, we’ll have a look at nine easy-to-implement ideas for hoteliers to boost revenue within a week, a quarter and over the course of a year.

Quick ways to drive more revenue in only a week

Start with upselling

Upselling is one of the easiest ways to generate more revenue from existing products. You can start with a simple upselling program where staff aim to sell room upgrades, breakfast, parking, etc. to guests pre-arrival. To take it a step further, expand to cross-selling other hotel services like spa treatments, restaurants or room service. To make upselling a reliable source of ancillary revenue, using a tech tool like Oaky is the best solution. That way upselling can be scaled, and you have the chance to offer every single guest the chance to upgrade their stay even before they arrive, with little extra work.

Use your local network

More than ever, guests want to experience their destination and benefit from your local expertise. You don’t have a restaurant? Then why not make arrangements with that lovely bistro down the street? You can also partner with local tour providers and sell a fun outing for a commission. On top of helping guests have an unforgettable time in your destination, this also supports local businesses and connects your hotel more closely to the local community.

Involve employees

Teamwork makes the dream work! Your staff are your top salespeople, so make the team part of revenue generating initiatives. Reward programs for guest-facing staff can be implemented in any department, from restaurants and the spa to the front office and the concierge desk. To test the waters, start with a simple one-week contest. If it’s a success, it might be time to do this permanently. For an extra challenge, be inspired by team-focused hoteliers who implemented a “Beat the System” challenge, where the front office and F&B teams competed against the hotel’s pre-stay upselling tool.

Ways to drive more revenue this quarter

Improve guest satisfaction and online reviews

This one should be a no-brainer, but is often underestimated. Of course, hotels do their best to make guests feel at home and create a memorable experience. But that’s already where most hotels stop. If this is you, try to find a friendly and fun way to distinguish your hotel from neighbouring properties. For example, how about a teddy bear in every room with a funny story behind it?

Then, upon departure, encourage your guests to share their experiences with others, preferably as online reviews. Great reviews on OTAs and Google Hotels help improve your listing’s position without having to promote it, and can convince people to book your property.

Leverage low-demand days

Most hotels experience varying levels of demand throughout the week. Which days are slowest at your property? Knowing the answer can help you understand which guest segment to target during these days and create deals they’ll love. Maybe you can entice them with a deal on extending their stay by a day? Since slower periods are especially competitive, the key to making these offers work is to provide the extra value your guests can’t find elsewhere rather than offering just another discount.

Host unique events and activities

To make staying with you more fun and give guests a chance to connect with the local community, why not host events where you bring the two together? This could mean showcasing local artists and creators, providing facilities for yoga classes or art workshops, and even offering an open co-working space. By opening these events to both guests and locals, your property will become a popular meeting point and drive revenue to departments outside of rooms. Also, make sure you promote these events well. You never know, someone might extend their stay just to join tomorrow’s poetry slam.

Clément Dénarié, Director EMEA at Oaky, shared how hotels can create unique guest experiences through upselling at this year's Direct Booking Summit in Paris.

How to generate more revenue in the next twelve months

Get familiar with Google Hotels

Google revamping its Google Hotels service was huge news. Although experts are not sure yet how exactly it will impact the distribution landscape, one thing is clear already. Hoteliers should take this development seriously and familiarize themselves with the new platform to make the most of it from the start. It’s likely that Google Hotels could help reduce a property’s dependence on OTAs and drive more highly qualified traffic to their website. Sounds great, right?

Analyse your distribution and optimize it

Today’s distribution landscape is complicated, and many hoteliers have a hard time controlling parity and managing non-contracted third parties that are undercutting their rates. The key to managing this problem is analysing and understanding your hotel’s distribution channels. Identify partners who play by the rules and nurture your relationship with them. Likewise, learn which partners cause frequent issues and find ways to either solve them or take your business elsewhere.

It’s also important to understand how much value guests from various distribution channels bring, since this can vary quite significantly. This way, you can make strategic decisions and prioritize one channel over another.

Harness the power of hospitality tech

A lot is happening in the hospitality tech sector right now. Amazing solutions can handle everything - from upselling and guest communication to satisfaction surveys and data collection. To stay on top of new developments and find tools that can help make operations and sales more efficient, dedicate time every month to researching and testing new tools, preferably ones which are fully integrated to avoid tedious admin and onboarding work. Since most providers offer free trials, you have every reason to go for it. All the time you save can then be invested in better and more creative customer service.

Did any of these tips sound like something that could work at your property?

To come up with the coolest ideas on how to implement some (or all) of these ideas, get your team together for some brainstorming. You’d be surprised by the original concepts they’ll come up with and how much more ownership your staff will take if they feel like they’re playing an active part in creating and implementing new revenue-generating strategies.