Every hotelier faces the question of how to increase hotel sales. However, when you’re immersed in the day-to-day operation of your property it can be hard to see the big picture, and getting the right answers can be complex.
While there are many ways you can increase your hotel sales depending on your property’s needs, here are seven tactics you can start with today.
1. Build a road map
Before you can get started on planning strategies to increase hotel sales, you need to know where your property currently stands in terms of revenue and marketing efforts. Knowing the fixed cost of an empty room is important so you can calculate things like how to set prices and dates for promotions and group offers, and whether to invest time and effort on certain OTA channels. With this information, you can create an accurate and personalized road map that will help guide your sales strategy in the right direction.
Your business’s road map doesn’t have to be formal, but it should accurately reflect your property’s current status in terms of finances, sales, revenue, and costs so that you can plan appropriate goals for the future. Additionally, your road map or business plan will need to be reviewed and revised every year to achieve optimal results.
2. Create guest personas to segment your sales markets
A key component to marketing your property brand is creating buyer (or guest) personas so you can tailor your marketing efforts accordingly. You need to understand who your guests are, why they’re choosing to book with you, and their main reason for travel so you can get a sense of how to direct your marketing efforts.The answers to these questions will help you develop guest segments and will provide powerful data to improve your marketing strategy and increase sales activity.
To illustrate, you might notice that your property mainly attracts business travelers between the ages of 35 and 45 and that these guests choose to stay at your property because of your proximity to a convention center that hosts a lot of corporate events. Knowing this, you can run special marketing campaigns and paid ads that promote your property’s optimal location and directly target business travelers. You my notice that you have different guest profiles depending on the season. If this is the case, you can add another guest persona and create an appropriate marketing campaign to target that specific group of guests. Segmenting your guest market and building targeted campaigns is a strategic way to increase your hotel sales.
3. Sell the experience over the transaction
In the saturated hotel marketplace, it’s important to showcase what makes your property unique real estate. As a hotelier, you need to put your property’s best and most differentiating aspects at the forefront of your website and social media accounts so potential guests can start their experience before they even arrive at your property. You may think this is hard to do if you have a small, simple property, but the real differentiation is between offering a transaction (basic room and board) and an experience (an unforgettable stay). A lot of times this can be done with above-and-beyond service instead of relying on fancy design.
Providing a unique guest experience can become a part of your hotel’s value proposition and staff should address your customers’ unmet needs and problems, and make an effort to make them feel like they are in for something special. You’ll also need real-world evidence or customer reviews to help promote the unique experience your property provides. If you can find something to set your property apart, you’ll in turn attract more guests and increase revenue.
4. Use a channel manager and a booking engine
A channel manager is made to distribute your room inventory across several different Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) at once and syncs bookings to your property management system in real-time so you can optimize sales while avoiding over bookings. This means that you can sell the same room on different OTAs, like Booking.com, Expedia, TripAdvisor, etc., and as soon as it’s booked, the room availability will be removed from the other channels. A channel manager can connect your property to a wider audience so you get more visibility success and increase hotel sales.
Though using a channel manager is a great way to sell your room availability, you will have to pay a commission fee to the OTAs. To counterbalance the bookings you get through OTAs and increase direct, commission-free bookings on your own website, you can use a booking engine. A booking engine will allow your website visitors to book their reservation directly on your website, or even your Facebook page. This way, potential guests have a seamless way to book their reservation on your website and you don’t have to pay out a commission fee for their booking, thus increasing your hotel sales even further.
5. High-quality images are king
Few things will captivate potential guests more than high-quality images. Images of your property have the potential to visually tell a story and entice travelers to book your property. Research has shown that 67 percent of consumers consider clear, detailed images to carry more weight than a long description (54%) and customer ratings and reviews (53%). Not to mention that many OTA sites will reject low-quality images, making it difficult to get your listing approved.
Your photos should help potential guests imagine themselves at your property. This emotional appeal will get people more engaged with your listing and help increase your revenue. In fact, in a study done by Visual Web Optimizer, larger images were shown to increase sales by 9.46%. So when it comes to images, it’s good to remember that the higher the quality the higher your direct sales will be.
6. Get mobile friendly
Making your website responsive and adaptive for mobile is no longer an option, it’s a necessity. Almost half (45%) of bookings made on online travel agencies are done on a smartphone or tablet, while up 80% of last-minute hotel bookings take place via mobile. Simply put, if you want to get more bookings and increase hotel sales, having a mobile-ready site is a must.
The widespread nature of mobile technology is also changing consumers’ expectations. It’s not enough to have a shrunken version of your website as you mobile page. Your mobile site needs to have its own unique design. Millennials and Gen Z-ers especially expect a speedy, sleek, and personalized mobile experience. If you don’t optimize your site for mobile, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to grow your hotel sales.
7. Maximize your analytics
Having a dependable, all-in-one property management system (PMS) can really give hoteliers a competitive advantage. This is because, aside from aiding you run your day-to-day operations, a PMS can give you a full-range of data where you can see the buying behavior from all channels, as well as a number of other important business analytics that can help you make informed, data-based decisions.
A PMS is populated with all the information provided by guests so you can better analyze your guest demographics, see where your business is coming from, and make a strategic plan to increase your hotel sales. With the right analytics, you can give customers more of what they want and less of what they don’t, all while analyzing the costs and projecting for your future.
When it comes to increasing your hotel sales, you have many different tools and avenues you can use to put together a customized plan for your property. With these seven steps, you can get a head start on increasing your hotel sales today.
If you need help implementing any of these ideas or would like to chat with us about your booking engine or PMS, give us a shout.