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By The Management Rights Formula
Most Property Managers and hoteliers have a love–hate relationship with online booking/travel agents (OTAs). They appreciate the bookings that come through them. However, they often gripe about the large commissions and that they don’t ‘own’ the customer booking.
Given this circumstance, property managers are constantly searching for ways to increase their direct bookings. Here are some ideas:
• Use your data to increase direct bookings and customer satisfaction.
Personal customer service has always been vital to the travel and accommodation industry.
With the increase in data being collected from guests, hotels should be able to personalise their marketing and communications to meet modern consumer expectations. This not only makes for a better experience, but is proven to increase retention and conversion.
According to research from Accenture, people are 65 percent more likely to buy from a business if a promotion is relevant and personalised. Hotel guests want—and expect— accommodation providers to use the information they’ve already supplied for unique offers and highly tailored messages.
Your PMS holds the key to unlocking a wealth of data about your guests and their needs, thus encouraging new and repeat direct bookings.
• Understand that ‘one-size-fits-all’ marketing communication no longer cuts it.
Everyone appreciates the personal touch, and this applies to the marketing received online. The same research from Accenture shows that 65 percent of consumers say they would be more likely to spend money with companies that remembered their purchase history, 56 percent on companies who recognise them by name and 58 percent if they recommend options based on past purchases.
Businesses that try to appeal to everyone might end up satisfying no one. Be clear on your target market by analysing your past guests. Look at their state and postcode to determine the areas they travel from most. Keep records of your guests’ characteristics to determine if your perfect customers are families, businesses, youths, retirees or another prominent demographic. Everything you do to promote your property needs to be done with your perfect guest in mind.
• Continually gather guest intelligence.
Email addresses are essential for communicating with your guests online. Staff should be trained to capture the contact details of anyone who enquires, so you can build a list of guests and prospects. When sending email campaigns, be sure to address your recipients by name, remind them how long it’s been since their last visit and mention their home state to impress your guests and keep them coming back.
• Know that your PMS data is your goldmine.
Your PMS should be recording as much information as it can relating to your guests, such as addresses, preferences/likes, activities, spending habits, special anniversaries/events and birthdays.
Utilising this data in creative ways can help you create customer loyalty, repeat business and increase the lifetime value of your guests.
Increase direct booking in 16 Actions
PROFIT : Now, you have the steps of increase your direct booking, fill in the form below for the 16 ways you can utilise the data to build guest loyalty and generate return bookings.
Mould and test to see what works best for you. The key is to experiment with lots of little ones. What will you test this week?