How can you set your hotel up for success and capitalize on the new opportunities opened up by the travel rebound?
As the person responsible for managing your hotel’s daily operations and financial performance, you’re probably facing a number of challenges right now. On-going staff shortages are placing pressure on time and resources. The rapid pace of change is also making it difficult to know what direction the market is going and what you should be doing to attract guests and fill rooms.
But none of this should prevent you from taking your hotel to new heights - with the right tools and guidance, you’ll feel confident to make decisions that drive bookings and revenue while freeing up time so you can focus on the things only you can do.
That’s why we’ve assembled some key market insights and customer trends you can act on today to secure your hotel’s success as we enter a new diamond era of travel. Read on for our advice to help you spot the key opportunities for your hotel and create relevant experiences that attract the right customers in these rapidly changing times.
1. Prepare for the new customer behaviors taking hold
The pandemic has given birth to new breeds of travellers with a vastly different set of expectations. It’s essential you’re able to cater for them if you want to capitalize on bookings and ensure the needs of your guests continue to be met. Two important new travellers to be aware of are the ‘hybrid traveller’ and the ‘outdoor enthusiast’.
Global business travel is seeing some early signs of recovery but the form it’s taking is diversifying. Hybrid and remote working practices are now the norm in many parts of the world, with the ‘bleisure trip’ (a combination of business and leisure) likely to become a mainstay for hospitality.
Likewise the past few years have taught many hotels the importance of maximizing outdoor space. Air quality, outside socializing and connecting to nature will continue to be a focus for guests.
Where bleisure trips are concerned, make sure you’re optimizing remote working facilities in rooms - this includes having free, reliable WiFi and more desk space. Consider investing in specialized packages like ‘Workspaces by Hilton’, which includes spacious desks, ergonomic chairs and enhanced WiFi. You’ll also want to leverage your hotel’s outdoor spaces as much as possible by investing in facilities.
Don’t forget to highlight these facilities in your online marketing to ensure hybrid travellers and outdoor enthusiasts can easily find you. Target guests on paid search with relevant keywords and invest in personalized website experiences that convert using targeted messages (as shown in the image above). Partnering with the right provider can automate all of this for you, freeing up valuable time that can be better spent elsewhere.
2. Get ready to upsell! ‘Revenge travel’ has arrived
Guests are ready to splurge on their travels to make up for a period of lockdowns, restrictions and general unpredictability. A recent study by Expedia revealed more than two-thirds of Americans (68%) are planning to go big on their next trip. It’s been dubbed the ‘GOAT’ mindset - the ‘Greatest of all Trips’.
Travellers have a newfound appetite for excitement, exhilaration and the feeling that they’ve made the most out of their stay. At Triptease, we’re seeing a clear trend for high booking values on channels like metasearch, meaning customers are generally prepared to spend more.
Make sure you’re investing in opportunities to maximize upselling potential and drive additional revenue. Wondering what experiences to invest in? Think room upgrade options, premium airport transfer and luxury add-ons such as spa treatments, champagne, dinner and live entertainment. Customers want to go big, so be prepared to indulge them.
Now is not the time to reduce your rates. Rather than attracting guests with price discounts, hotels are in a unique position to capture the attention of guests through additional spending opportunities.
Use non-branded keywords in paid search that appeal to customers searching for higher-end, more luxurious trips. Reinforce this with targeted messages on your website offering luxury deals your customers won’t be able to resist.
3. Go big or go home - leverage your unique guest experiences
22% of Americans in Expedia’s travel trend report claim they want to step out of their comfort zone and 19% are looking to immerse themselves in destinations, cultures and experiences different to their own. This is your chance to get creative with what you offer your guests.
Think about what you can provide in your hotel but also which local businesses you could partner with to create packages that are truly memorable. From hosting pop-up events in your restaurant to providing discounted entry for local attractions and festivals, offer your guests the kind of ‘locals only’ knowledge and experiences that only you can provide.
If you’re a city hotel, consider becoming an ‘urban resort’. This is a new breed of hotel that has the facilities and escapism of a resort holiday, but in an urban setting. Think about the facilities you already have and how you could bundle those up to create resort-style experience packages at your hotel. Some examples include hosting cooking workshops in your restaurant, cocktail-making masterclasses, yoga, pilates and even ‘sleep alchemy’.
Make sure you leverage these new experiences as much as possible through website personalization tools to help drive bookings. Use targeted messages to personalize your onsite guest experience and features like Triptease’s Save the Search messages and dynamic retargeting ads to ensure guests who leave your website can easily return. To funnel high-value traffic to your website you’ll want to invest in paid search and metasearch to ensure your hotel and direct price are visible to online viewers.
4. And remember... automate time-consuming work so you can focus on what matters most
Limited time and resources can often push marketing to the bottom of your agenda. But don’t let staff shortages cause you to lose out on the massive opportunity opened up by the travel rebound. Choose a partner who can automate this part of your work so you can focus on the things only you can do.