Hoteliers operating smaller properties often don’t have the support they need to spend time developing a proper promotional strategy. Because of this, many hotels constantly run the same promotions or a “Manager’s Special.” But how special are these deals if they run 365 days a year? Time sensitive promotions help to keep a hotel current and can provide fresh content for their website and social media channels. Seeing an expiration date helps to build value in the promotion and can build a sense of urgency, encouraging guests to book before the deal ends.
A good promotion needs to obviously have value for the guest, but it should also fill a specific need of the hotel. If occupancy is low during certain days of the week, a solid promotion can be a quick fix to fill those vacancies. Building a promotion around those days can help to attract guests with flexible travel dates or increase their length of stay. When running these promotions, it’s important to have a consistent message across all channels. So when a potential guest finds a promotion or sale online, the desk staff needs to also be aware of it. Most importantly, they need the ability to make or match the price of the reservation. An uneducated or powerless employee can quickly frustrate and drive away potential guests. Simply putting a guest on hold to ask for permission to match a promotion or OTA price is introducing an unnecessary obstacle in the booking process. In the time it takes the clerk to gain approval, the guest may hang up and book through an OTA or stay elsewhere. An empowered staff is one of the best tools a hotel can have to quickly improve business.
With most people turning to the internet for travel planning, the phones are ringing a lot less than before. This makes each of those calls that much more valuable. These potential guests are already showing interest in the property and with the right offer they could be persuaded to book. Consider creating a special rate code or promotion exclusively for phone customers. Depending on the hotel’s booking engine, even a direct booking can result in commission fees, so phone reservations need to be secured as much as possible. When developing an online marketing campaign or designing a website, make sure that the property’s phone numbers are easily found and if on a mobile site, make sure guests can “Click to Call.” This will help encourage more phone calls and reduce exposure to the online competition.