As a hotelier, you focus on getting more bookings, increasing occupancy, and selling rooms at competitive rates to drive revenue for your property. But at the same time, you also need to understand how travelers are making their reservations, what they expect from you, and ultimately what makes them come back to your hotel.
Hotelogix shares some trends that can help you identify key areas, to fuel revenue growth at your property this year.
#1 Keep an eye on millennial travelers
As a hotelier, you can see many benefits if you understand millennial travelers’ hotel booking pattern, and what they like. According to a report by Resonance Consultancy1, millennials in the United States still prefer hotels over Airbnb. This clearly indicates that Airbnb is not a threat to hoteliers operating across the United States when it comes to attracting millennial guests.
The key is staying relevant to attract them to your property.
Be there, where they are – Social Media
Social media platforms are increasingly becoming important as millennials are leveraging them to book hotel and travel related activities. Reasons2 for such a surge in their popularity are here -
- 87% of millennials travelers refer to Facebook while working on their travel plan.
- 70% of Instagram users visit a hotel website after discovering a hotel ad on Instagram.
Upload relevant and high-quality photographs of your property. Take feedback from your happy guests before they leave and post their comments along with their photographs on Facebook and Instagram. Live-streaming your hotel on special occasions is also a great idea to create buzz.
A lot of millennials choose their stay as per the activities or attractions available in the hotel’s surroundings. Social media is a good platform for your hotel to promote places of local attractions surrounding your hotel, too. For example – take and post pictures about carnivals and gaming events. Let your target audience know the distance between your property and the event venue. Moreover, you can entice them to book directly with you by giving them free passes for any of such events. In short, you must create a niche for your brand, so that you stand out. You can also offer a booking option on your Facebook page directly.
#2 Work with metasearch sites, especially Google Hotel Ads
Yes, it is true. Metasearch sites are growing in demand as they help you drive direct booking. These sites show your website rate along with OTAs, thus they bring a potential booker to your website directly. Get your property listed on them and promote your rates. However, don’t forget to work on your online reputation and ratings as it helps you convert lookers into bookers.
When we are talking about metasearch engines, we must look at Google Hotel Ads, too4
- Currently, Google Hotel Ads generate around 65% of all hotel bookings coming from metasearch engines.
- Google Hotel Ads cancellation ratio stands at 13%, much lower when compared to OTA cancellation ration that is between 20% and 40%.
Property management systems that offer connectivity to metasearch sites and also help you manage your online reputation make for a good investment.
#3 Offer last-minute booking, sell your unsold rooms
An unsold hotel room is a perishable item. Hence, it is advisable to sell such rooms to customers looking for unplanned accommodation by offering an attractive discount. Here are some stats that might help you5
- According to 2017 Google Data, travel-related searches for "tonight" and "today" on mobile have seen a 150% growth since last two years.
- In 2018, 72% of all mobile bookings made in the United States were done within a 48-hour window prior to the booking.
In order to leverage this, you can tie up with popular apps providing last-minute booking facility to travelers. Devise special rates, work on cut-off time and discounts that would safeguard your interest. Do update your page with all the necessary description and information that a guest might look for before booking with you. Here too, you need to promote positive guest reviews to attract more bookers.
#4 Rearrange your lobby, turn it into a co-work space
This trend is catching up. Many hotels in the United States6 have already converted their lobbies to workspaces, especially to cater to the needs of business travelers. They have even gone ahead to offer required amenities including office supplies, etc to create the perfect work environment.
So, if you have a spacious lobby, work on it by offering comfortable seating, internet connectivity, printers, coffee and snacks, etc and create the right ambience to get going. You can charge non-guests for accessing your co-work space. You can even come up with special lunch rates for such professionals to boost your restaurant sales. Market and promote this feature to make more out of it.
#5 Strengthen your presence on OTAs
In 20183, OTAs accounted for around 39% of digital booking in the United States, and the same is expected to grow to 41% in 2020. A well-thought-out strategy towards OTAs can help you generate a maximum number of bookings. To get more booking via OTA channels, you must –
- List out your property on a maximum number of OTAs
- Update your content – property description with images
- Use targeted ads
- Update rates and inventory on all the OTAs in real-time to avoid overbooking and double-booking
- Ensure rate parity
In order to have an effective distribution capability, you must adopt a smart cloud PMS that comes integrated with a channel manager. This two-way integration between the PMS and channel manager helps you with a seamless and real-time distribution of rates and inventory on all the OTAs. It ensures rate parity on all channels and saves a significant number of man-hours, too.
Apart from some of the above-mentioned ideas, you can also focus on offering room upgrade facility to your guests at a nominal cost and selling them non-room items to increase revenue at your hotel.
There are many more ways to drive more revenue but focusing on a few and going all the way, can set a good start to the year for your hotel’s revenue.