7 Things a Successful Hotelier Remembers
Kind, smiling, patient and helpful - this is what hoteliers should be like for their guests every day. But for guests to stay in a hotel, the hotelier first needs to be effective in inviting guests to their property via the guest booking journey whether that is via online or on the phone. So what exactly should hoteliers be remembering?
1. Bet on Direct Bookings
The presence of the hotel on OTA website usually helps to fill in the property significantly. But these are sales channels that are beyond hoteliers’ control - the profits from them are difficult to predict and there is no guarantee that the guest will ever return. However, we must remember that guests do still look at the properties own website and still call direct.
As a hotelier, when was the last time you cold called your own hotel to see what the experience was like? Are you ensuring that the guest can get a deal direct just as good, if not better, than on the OTA? Does the guest feel like they want to stay with you because the call was so good? All questions that should be reviewed and asked regularly.
A direct booking strategy using your and own methods of advertising the property is essential to the guests experience and spend within the hotel.
To ensure success in increasing the number of direct bookings focus must be on:
- A comprehensive rate strategy, including competitor analysis, seasonal trends and event planning
- Look and feel on the property’s website – taking high quality photos and videos, creating messages encouraging to act
- Offering discounts for direct bookings, online and VEREBALLY!
- Proper packaging of offers and removing out of date ones
- Make sure the customer online journey is quick and efficient whilst still delivering all the relevant information
- Communicating with the guest before and their departure – don't forget upsells
- Social media communication/campaigns
- Monitor and act on guest reviews
- Ensure your technology partners understand your approach and effectively support the strategy
These focuses are key to the success of Direct Bookings.
2. Takes advantage of CRM
Do you have a CRM system? Is it right for your needs?
Your CRM data is key for the customer experience. Not only names and contact details but above all information which can help to determine their preferences (such as their previous bookings or stay inquiries). It is a great base for building long-term relationships with customers - it is so important in the era of growing competition, guests' expectations of personalization and immediate responses.
An efficient hotelier is therefore constantly expanding a contact database, through automation so as not to waste valuable time, dividing it into segments and sending personalized messages. For example, a message thanking for a stay offering a discount on services that were recently used by a given group of guests. Or a unique offer created on the basis of previous preferences to effectively re-invite guests to return to the property.
3. Takes care of the environment = current guests' needs
Clean air, environmentally cosmetics or vegan & organic menus are aspects that guests increasingly pay attention to. More than half of all tourists would feel better staying at a property if they knew it has been awarded eco-label (Booking.com, 2019). The hotel manager knows these needs, responds to them and is aware of the huge environmental impact of the hotel's activities.
For example, have you considered:
- getting rid of plastic in favour of ecological replacements
- replacement of plastic packaging for cosmetics with biodegradable packaging or installation of dispensers
- messages to raise awareness and encourage saving water and electricity
- changing the menu to reflect locally sourced food with a range of plant based options,
- ecological toys and nature education materials in children's corners
- engaging in local environmental initiatives and then promoting the fact
- protecting the natural resources of the area close to the hotel
These activities make sense provided that the guests are properly informed about these initiatives and solutions. It is, therefore, necessary to post in social media, to adequately describe the offer on the property's website, to emphasize the advantages in the offer to create special packages.
4. Enables quick and easy payments
An efficient hotelier is looking for tools that will enable them to adapt to the needs of guests, including those related to such seemingly mundane matters as payments.
Guests are increasingly booking online and, as with other online purchases, they want to pay for their booking on the hotel website. According to market statistics (HVS data), European hotels are experiencing year-on-year increases in online booking transactions value. What's more, guests want to book online from any device.
What exactly do modern payments mean? First of all, the maximum adaptation of solutions to the needs of the hospitality industry, i.e. split and deferred payment options, automation of payments from the OTA, insight into the status of payments.
Secondly, full comfort for guests - in case of unsuccessful payment, the possibility to change card details and, for example, the option to pay the full amount of the reservation (especially for business guests).
Thirdly, automation, which is appreciated by both guests for safety reasons and hotel employees - eliminating the need to make manual card payments when checking out hotel guests saves time.
5. Continuously maintains the property's website
The hotel's website is not only an online business card but a point of sale. A successful hotelier:
- When something changes, e.g. an offer or contact details, he quickly updates the content of the site,
- focuses on the quality of the published offers, their distinguishing features or pictures (according to E-Marketing Associates, 80% of the guests discover the offer of the facility through video and pictures),
- makes sure that the reservation engine is ready to accept the reservations 24 hours a day,
- does not forget to add translated versions (if he wants to attract foreign guests),
- updates the site every few years to follow trends,
- he also makes it easier for guests to make decisions by adding visible buttons containing calls to action,
- It collects guests' reviews and publishes them on the website (according to Tripadvisor, 96% of guests consider the reviews of other people to be helpful in choosing the right facility).
6. Hospitality comes first
Online payments, quick booking engine, sending offers without the need for the guest to constantly contact the reception desk... - the hotel industry is becoming increasingly automated. All this is to give the hotelier time to take care of a guest staying in the hotel at many stages of his work. There is still nothing to replace this contact, and the expectations of guests are higher and higher.
A successful hotelier, therefore, knows that a 2020 Hotel is a combination of e-commerce and hospitality. They take care of their guests in every detail and at the same time automates the processes taking place in the facility, so that he himself or his employees can gain time to build direct relationships with guests.
7. Observe, Record and React to trends throughout the year
Trends should be identified and planned 15-18 months in advance, especially if the hotel is in an ‘event’ driven area
The turn of the year is the moment when information on the expected trends for the following year appears. New Year's resolutions boost energy, great plans for changes or improvements are made. An effective hotelier is up to date with the trends throughout the year, follows a developed plan, monitors the effects and makes possible corrections, while plans to implement the next automation or a new social media campaign are systematically turned into action.
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