Tips For a Promising 2018 For Hotels
As we move towards the end of 2017, hoteliers are geared up for more business, more guests, better services, improved customer experience ultimately leading to more revenues. Just like 2017, mobile devices will continue to play crucial role in keeping the customers engaged although the conversions are still far more on the desktops. People are using mobile devices to research for their ideal hotel, plan itinerary but they ultimately make bookings on desktops. In 2018, the focus or effort of hoteliers and even OTAs will be to increase the conversions on the mobile devices itself by improving user experience through dedicated mobile websites and apps and not just for last minute bookings. It is not only the mobile user experience that needs to be on the agenda, there are many more things on which hoteliers can emphasize to make 2018 the best year ever.
Let us have a look at few of them below-
As a hotel, you always sell experience and memories. All the good services including nice food, clean swimming pool, beautiful vistas out of the window, and not to leave out the smiling, helpful staff, all make up for a wonderful experience that the guests carry back with them and share with others. It is about not only the quality services, but also the small details, and preferences of guests you pay attention to that makes all the difference. These things are what will differentiate your hotel from every other hotel those guests have been to and will drive them to visit your property again and again. Satisfied or elated guests are the best brand ambassadors any hotel can have but it is up to the hotel to create one. Hotel staff should be highly empathetic and pro-active to guest's needs and must be able to pre-identify guest needs depending upon the type of guest like business, leisure or honeymoon etc.
Automate your processes
Today's world is hard to imagine without automation. Automation has seeped into every business process, so is hospitality. There are numerous technology tools available to manage various aspects of hospitality business. These tools can automate various critical, tedious processes and assist revenue managers in strategic decision making by providing advanced analytics, forecast and actionable insights.
Hotels and their staff primarily need to focus on their core expertise that is to serve guests better. Therefore, they heavily rely on revenue management solutions for range of requirements like rate shopping, competitor analysis, inventory distribution, forecasting demand, online review & reputation management etc. These hotel revenue management tools and hotel technology solutions empower a hotel to sell their rooms to the right customer, at the right time and at the best possible price.
With online reputation management tools (ORMs), hotels can maintain a stellar reputation by keeping an eye on guest reviews on various review sites at a time and respond in real time. With integrated ORMs, hotels can mail the feedback form to guests anytime during or after their stay. Such tools also offer guests the option to share these reviews directly on Google and other important review websites like TripAdvisor etc. This helps hotels to mobilize their positive reviews to maximum audience, which might later become their guests.
Relook into your OTAs
OTAs are the largest source of online bookings for almost every hotel sparing some big daddies of hotel industry. However, OTA bookings make a huge bite into hotel's revenues, which works as a taste spoiler. Hotels need to optimize their OTA distribution strategy to reduce revenue sharing with the OTAs. Hotels need to continuously evaluate performance of all their OTAs based on critical KPIs like cost per booking or we can say commission per booking, length of stay (LoS), volume of bookings and room types, average revenue earned per booking etc. Average length of stay is very crucial in OTA evaluation since most of the times an OTA might be charging less commissions than the other OTA but the average length of stay is very short which ultimately makes it more expensive than the other one.
Content has been at the heart of marketing for any industry and it is bound to play crucial role for hoteliers in 2018 as well. The more good content a hotel floats, more eyeballs it gathers. A hotel has so much to share starting with guest experiences, food menu, interiors, furnishings, bar, exotic surroundings, promotions, etc. Hotels need to build consumable content around these and put them on their website and social media to lure customers towards their property. Hotels can even use YouTube to post high quality videos to give guests an idea of the experience they will have at their property. Such content strategy works two folds since it not only makes people aware about the brand, but also links punched with the content divert traffic to the hotel's website which in turn increases chances of direct bookings. Direct bookings are like pure oxygen to hoteliers, which gives full revenue without having to share a single penny with the OTAs.
Web and social media presence
In today's modern age, it can be suicidal to ignore the power and significance of a solid web and social media presence. Surveys have revealed that even if the guests are booking the hotel through OTAs they do check out the hotel's websites and sometimes even social media handles just to reinforce their decision. Therefore, every hotel needs to have a scintillating website along with rich social media handles that regularly engage both previous guests and prospective guests. The website should not mere serve as a digital brochure but rather induce the visitor to make a booking immediately. It should have an immersive experience with high quality pictures of the hotel and vistas along with guest reviews and experiences. On the technical front there should be a clear BOOK NOW button on every page. The booking process should be simple backed by safe payment gateways. In this manner, hotels can save on huge OTA commissions as well as building the brand alongside.
At last, we can conclude that the change of year will bring even more challenges to hoteliers but with equal number of opportunities to scale and magnify their operations. Technology is destined to help them in their endeavours with more promising ways to run their business better.