Increasing revenue for accommodation managers and marketers, next to guest experience, is a key focus, even more so in the current climate. So, what are the five stages of travel, and how exactly can you maximise each stage to increase revenue?
Holidays begin long before the guest arrives at the hotel or accommodation. Guests can spend weeks, months and even years dreaming about their next getaway. Showcase your property with good imagery, engaging copywriting, and a robust digital strategy. Make sure your social media pages cater to the dreaming phase for guests – stunning views with a glass of wine, plush beds in premium rooms, and informative posts about the local area and attractions. Plant the seeds of what is available before they even plan to book.
During the planning stage, travellers are sometimes looking at multiple properties and locations. They’re shopping around – so looking after the areas in the first point will make sure your online shopfront (website) looks attractive to them, speaks to them through your imagery and helps them include you in their planning. So, how do you even get in front of the traveller to become a consideration in a sea of competitors? Ensure your presence online is strong and it is your best foot forward. Ensure you’re reachable and engaging. Have ways your guests can engage with you easily; Facebook messenger, social media comments, a great UX (user experience) and CTA (call to action) on your website to entice them to book.
The traveller is ready to become a guest and book with you. So, how do we help drive additional revenue at the time of booking?
Ensure your booking form is attractive and easy to use. You want to convert guests as quickly and easily as possible. Ensure the UX (User Experience) of your website and booking form is seamless. More than 3-clicks to book a room, and you risk losing the guest.
If your booking form offers the ability to create “packages” or “add-ons” for guests, take advantage of this. It allows you to up-sell and add any additional requests from guests, such as breakfast, an extra bed, wine on arrival, book tours etc, driving additional revenue at the time of booking. A simple action that allows your guests to explore options that are available to them while staying at your property, as well as providing the guest a better customer experience
Pre and post-stay emails
The guest experience really begins at the time of booking, so once they’ve booked, start communicating with your guests. Make them feel welcome before they even step foot onto your property and use it as an additional opportunity to drive more revenue. Implement automation with guest messaging to drive upsells.
Before they’re at the property
Use analytics and data from your PMS and channel manager to offer bespoke enhancements to their stay and use guest pre-stay emails as an opportunity to up-sell in various areas:
- Offer an upgrade. For example, if a guest has booked a standard room, offer an upgrade that has ocean views for an extra $30
- Provide guests with incentives; if they book for 5-nights, offer a bottle of wine on arrival or a 25% discount at a local restaurant (supporting your locals)
- Offer early-check-in
- Get creative and think about your guest type – offer picnic hampers for families, champagne and strawberries for couples or laundry service for corporates.
When they’re at the property
- On check-in as if they’d like a late Sunday check-out for just $20
- Offer excellent customer service that they’ll remember such as recommendations to local restaurants
- Ask again if they’d like to upgrade to a higher floor or room type or feature, such as a fireplace for an extra $30
After they’ve left the property
Send a post-stay email and thank them for staying. Use your data to identify those who didn’t book direct and send them a return guest offer that is more enticing than booking on a third-party site on their next visit. Ask if they would like to share their experience on your preferred review site (Facebook, TripAdvisor, Google etc). Keep building that relationship and experience even after they have left and in-turn them into repeat guests. Use their feedback (good and bad) to improve guest experience for other guests.
The best advertising? Word of mouth advertising from your guests turns customers into advocates of your property. Once you’ve given guests an unforgettable experience, they’ll tell friends and family and share images of the trip and your property on their social channels, helping you market your property to an engaged audience. Word of mouth advertising drives $6 trillion (yes, trillion) of annual spend*. Not to mention, people take trusted recommendations seriously – they are 90% more inclined to purchase after a friend or family member recommended something to them*.
The above are just a few examples of strategies to help increase your properties revenue at each stage of the travel cycle. There are plenty of other tactics that can be implemented in your hotel all depending on the type of facilities and resources your property offers.
Victoria Peterson |Head of Marketing
*Sourced from invesp