After long periods of uncertainly, unfilled rooms and lowered prices, the great news is that the market is bouncing back. Read on for five tips on how to make the most of what’s to come.
Customer spending and demand are up - and so is average booking value
Looking at historical booking data from Triptease’s global hotel database, we can see that the number of people searching on hotel websites is now well above pre-pandemic levels, with bookings close to 2019 levels too.
Additionally, it seems that customers aren’t just booking more, they’re booking bigger. After so many cancelled plans, travel companies are seeing a surge in ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ trips that travelers are willing to spend big for.
At Triptease, we’re seeing a marked rise in Average Booking Value (ABV) across all regions. While in some parts of the world such as APAC and EMEA (where Covid-19 is still impacting customer confidence and ability to travel) that uptick is a little slower, in NORAM it has skyrocketed. And as the pandemic continues to recede globally, we can expect the other regions to catch up.
1. Hold your rates
For revenue managers it could be time to take a look at how you’re pricing your rooms. Discounting has its place - particularly for customers who have seen a lower price elsewhere online - but now is the time to hold your rates and drive up ADR where possible.
Customers are desperate to travel and willing to pay so refrain from slashing prices and instead offer value in the form of those once in a lifetime luxury add-ons that travelers are so keen to experience, or by providing an extra night free during low occupancy periods.
But if you’re keeping your rates high, be aware that the experience you provide will need to match the price you charge. If you’re already short staffed, think realistically about what level of service you can currently provide.
2. It’s time to upsell
If customers are open to spending more, make it as easy as possible for them to do that. Make sure that your room upgrade options, luxury add-ons and bucket-list experiences are highlighted throughout the booking journey.
Think about the new unbranded keywords that might become more relevant for you to appear for if customers are searching for higher-end, more luxurious trips. Reinforce those keywords on your website by building out new landing pages for the kinds of experiences you can offer (or, if editing your website is not possible, use Targeted Messages to highlight the relevant keywords to the right customers).
3. Create an ‘urban resort’
Customers are increasingly looking for ways to ‘get away from it all’ even if they’re in the middle of a city. This has given rise to a new breed of ‘urban resort’ hotels, providing the facilities and escapism of a resort holiday, in an urban setting.
This opens up a potential new vertical for hoteliers to focus on. If you thought your city hotel could only cater to customers looking for a base for their city break, or business travelers looking for a short stay, that could all be open to change.
Create a resort-style package to attract guests looking for a hassle-free escape. Think about the facilities you already have and how you could bundle those up to create resort-style experience packages at your hotel.
Could your restaurant kitchen host cooking lessons, would your mixologist be happy to run a cocktail-making masterclass, could you provide group exercise classes like yoga in your gym or on a roof terrace? Are there wellness or sports facilities that could be packaged up in a new way?
You can also create an ‘urban resort’ feel for your hotel by taking the time to highlight the selling points of your specific location. A Location Notification allows you to show customers exactly where you are, but also to tell them why your location is a destination in itself.
If you’re based somewhere that customers are keen to visit, use this type of message to showcase your proximity to key cultural attractions, restaurants and other interesting locations.
4. Price is still the key deciding factor
Even with so much industry data showing that customers are ready and willing to spend more, one thing won’t change regardless of the cost of their overall trip: getting the best price will always matter!
For years at Triptease we’ve focused on helping hoteliers manage their parity and understand which of their OTA partners are undercutting their prices. This was (and is!) enormously important in terms of ensuring that the OTAs you choose to work with continue playing by the rules you set. But as the digital booking landscape has changed, parity monitoring has had to change with it.
Guests no longer bounce from an OTA website to your direct site to compare the price of their trip. They now do all of that on Google, where you’ll likely find wholesalers and ‘random.com’ OTAs who you are not working in partnership selling your rates. And that means a whole new approach to parity monitoring.
Revenue Managers should focus on traditional parity monitoring and meta parity monitoring. The newly launched Triptease Meta Parity Insights dashboard helps you to understand the true picture of your parity status across the web. Your customers are finding multiple prices for your rooms in their Google search results - you need to know what they’re seeing!
5. Offer immediate discounts to customers who have seen a lower price on meta
If you’re being undercut on metasearch, customers will already know that you don’t have the best available price but it’s likely they’ll still visit your website for research purposes before heading to an OTA to book the better rate.
Creating an automatic discount message to target customers who’ve seen a lower price on meta will disrupt that journey and help ensure they book direct with you.