As the world economy slowly recovers, what are some strategies that hoteliers can follow to make the most of the improving conditions?
The current unstable situation in the Middle East could impact on the price of oil and correspondingly the price of jet fuel and the price of flights. However for the most part hotels in most economies are enjoying a good increase in business to pre-2008 levels. Many cities have big events coming up in the coming years and this will spur visitors interest, both visiting before the event and after as their interest in peaked from the event coverage.
Hoteliers should be looking at future trends when making marketing decisions. So what channels should hoteliers focus on in 2011? Of the for major channels Voice, Brand, GDS, Internet, it is essential that they are managed individually. What can a hotel do to promote its brand? Simply, own the customer. Make sure you are capturing guest details such as email addresses to that you can guide guests back to your official website. Make sure that they cannot find a lower rate anywhere other than your website. Also make sure your website has the best booking experience.
Direct Web Bookings
Direct web bookings are extremely important in the strategy of hotels in 2011. It is therefore essential that your hotel website meets the following criteria.
- Excellent visual experience
- Focused on bookings
- Easy to use
- Fully compatible with mobile devices including iPhones, iPads and the plethora of new tablets that will be launch in 2011.
Social media channels are excellent way to drive traffic through to your official website. Facebook now allows for a booking mask to be used on your FB profile. However it is very important that the hotelier engages with clients on Facebook for them to use that channel to book. Engage with your client rather than just spam them with offers.
What about sites such as Groupon?
Rather than drop your rates significantly, rather re-market to regular clients in times of low occupancy. Sites such as Groupon require 50% off which is a very significant amount of revenue loss.
Are voice channels dead?
Definitely not. A significant number of sales still comes through voice calls. Therefore the person who answers the phone should be properly trained to up-sell to guests.
What channels should hotelier focus on for 2011?
Focus on channels that are showing good increases in adoption. Emerging channels such as mobile and tablets and social media networks will be key in increasing revenue for 2011.
Do I need a reputation management strategy?
Yes. Things will happen that can crucify your brand in the eyes of the media and public. Be prepared to respond and use channels such as Facebook to share your official response with the public. Every hotel should have an individual who adheres to a social media strategy and is empowered to make rapid decisions in response to new situations. Choose a person who is inline with your main guest demographic.
2011 should be a good year for hoteliers if they focus on emerging channels, don’t panic and discount drastically, constantly reevaluate their strategies and engage with guests and the public.