Top 25 tips to increase hotel revenue and boost direct bookings
23rd April 2019
Running a successful hotel can be challenging as various factors might affect your business. While we can anticipate elements such as seasonality and competition affecting RevPar, external considerations such as local events, concerts and travel disruption can add additional complexities that are only known in the shorter-term.
Certainly maximising your hotel revenue and increasing direct bookings is a team effort as there are many activities that will contribute to achieving your targets and desired outcomes. Here are our top ideas, you can use right now, to help you boost occupancy levels, reduce OTA commissions and drive direct and repeat bookings all year round.
1. Know who your typical guests are and what they are looking for
It is essential that you understand who your customers are and why they are choosing to book a room in your hotel. Create hotel guest personas to tailor your messages to them.
2. Make sure your hotel website is intuitive and easy to use
A website where people can quickly find everything you have to offer and easily book will help you get more direct bookings.
3. Know the strengths and unique selling points of your property
Find out what makes your hotel special to your guests, what they like the most and what differentiates you from others and communicate that on your website, social media and marketing campaigns.
4. Reward your guests for booking direct
Make sure that your website offers a discount to people who book directly or surprise them with a gift in-room on arrival alongside a thank you card. Sometimes the little things go a long way.
5. Give a little extra to your loyal customers
Tech giants have created today’s digital customers. If a guest is returning to your hotel, they would expect you to know they are loyal customers and will really appreciate and reward you for being treated as such. So ensure to ‘welcome them back’ with an email or at reception.
6. Focus on the guest experience
Research shows that customers who have a great experience spend much more than customers who have a poor experience. And if guests are satisfied, they will come back! Happy customers also mean more positive reviews and more direct bookings from people who will read those reviews.
7. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly
According to Statista, in 2018 mobile traffic was responsible for 52% of global internet traffic. This means that every two people, one is visiting your website from a mobile platform, so it’s really important that your website is optimised for mobile devices.
8. Know your price points and price room consistently, taking into account seasonality
Seasons, local events and other external factors have to be taken into account when pricing rooms to ensure you can increase RevPAR. You can find out how to increase hotel conversion rates here.
9. Make it easy for guests to leave a review
After their stay, invite guests to leave a review for your hotel. Companies like GuestRevu help you to collect, analyse and optimise your online reviews. You can also gain more reviews by creating your own hotel app.
10. Make the photos of your hotel and facilities shine
Show the most beautiful corners of your property with professional photography and videos on your website and social media channels.
11. Give personalised recommendations
Today’s guests want to live like locals. Provide them with personalised recommendations about the best things to do or places to visit. A digital guestbook that enhances the guest experience is exactly what modern guests are looking for.
12. Check your website speed
Research shows that 40% of visitors will leave a website if the loading process takes more than 3 seconds. Today’s customers are demanding and impatient, so ensure that your website is fast!
13. Start a blog to improve SEO
If one of your goals is to increase website traffic and generate more direct booking, start a blog and at least two blog posts per week. Content on your website will help you drive more organic traffic.
14. Make your guests feel special and go the extra mile
15. Adopt channel management software
Channel management software will help your hotel manage bookings across various online channels and booking sites. It will also integrate with marketing and sales software to increase bookings across channels.
16. Use social media in your hotel marketing strategy and use it to engage with your customers
Before booking, travellers might look at your social media channels to see more photos of your property or find out what else you have to offer that they didn’t see in the first instance, so make sure to use social media channels to promote your property and services. Remember that social media is an engagement platform and your potential customers are likely to want to engage and communicate with you through these platforms. So if you use them, make sure to allocate resources to respond to enquiries and keep those interactions alive. Companies like Benbria Loop help you manage all communications platforms from one single portal.
17. Ask guests if they want to upgrade their room
Upselling is one of the most used tactics to generate more hotel revenue as it works if used cleverly. A few days before arrival, send an email to guests inviting them to upgrade their room or book other services you offer, such as SPA treatments or dinner at your restaurant.
18. Differentiate your offering from competitors
Be aware of what your competitors are doing and how they are promoting their services and use these insights to promote what makes you stand out.
19. Meeting the needs of modern travellers
Modern travellers are looking for personalised experiences and want to have all the information instantly and at their fingertips. With your own hotel app you can give your guests everything they need on their own phone.
20. Embrace a mobile-first approach and increase direct and repeat bookings
Guests use their smartphone to consume content, purchase, interact and share experiences. Research shows that 90% of the time spent on mobile devices is spent in apps. A mobile app for your hotel can help you increase direct and repeat bookings, promote your services through push notifications and increase F&B income with in-app ordering.
21. Promote mid-week or off-season offers
Organise events, create special packages and offer affordable wedding packages during mid-week or off-season periods to maximise your hotel income.
22. Don’t give your hotel guests too much choice
Don’t spoil potential customers with too much choice as it might become too difficult for them to choose and book.
23. Offer discounts for groups and extended stays
It might seem obvious, but if your objective is to increase the number of people who book for longer periods, give something in return and offer them a discount.
24. Give guests everything they need on their own phone with an app
Nowadays it is paramount that people can access everything they need on their own phone. If you are adopting different technologies to enhance your guest experience, it might be frustrating for them to use many different devices they are not familiar with. Explore the option of creating an app that wraps all guest-facing technology.
25. Don’t forget the personal touch
According to a SmartBrief study sponsored by The Wall Street Journal, the biggest factor in guest loyalty is a personal experience. Make your guests feel like at home and make sure your staff adopts that personal touch that will turn them into loyal guests.
How Criton can help you?
At Criton, we give independent hotels and serviced apartment operators access to the same technology that big chains already adopt. We have built bespoke apps with a wide range of functionalities (including push notifications, messaging, ordering, PMS integration, digital key) for clients including luxury boutique hotels and national chains of serviced apartments. Get in touch today to find out how we can help your business.