Even before COVID, hotel marketing was not easy due to the highly competitive nature of this industry.
Well, guess what? Things have become a whole lot tougher as demand has shrunk and everyone from a five-star resort to a motel and vacation rental is clamoring to get bookings just to sustain.
So, what promotions can you push out that get people so excited they can’t wait to book their stay?
Spoiler alert – dropping prices is not the way to win. It may get you the game but not the championship. To be a champion, tailor your promotions to highlight the value.
New opportunities … new days
Christmas, New Year, Weekends … these days have been overpromoted. So whilst you need to dish out an apt promotion for these special days to stay in the game, you need to scrape the bottom of the barrel to get that much-needed extra revenue. Find more days to promote and create a sense of urgency. Create them if you must. For instance, you could run a Cheeky Midweeky promotion to lure people who’re tired of the current COVID restrictions but not quite ready to face the extra load of holidayers a weekend brings.
Promote St Patricks Day – surely you’ll find enough supporters of this Irish tradition to make it a mini success. Check out this website for unusual Days of the Year.
Marketing in COVID times is all about collaboration. Teamwork wins the championship. Collaborate with your suppliers and find mutually beneficial opportunities to promote things that matter to travelers. Think about marketing ideas Eg. you could run a wine tasting promotion and wrap it up with a staycation. Food tasting is another one – Weekend Degustation Package anyone?
Very few hotel marketing strategies leave loyalty programs out. It is the lowest hanging fruit, guests who have experienced your service and have signed up to hear from you.
Leverage these loyal guests to take your brand further. You can incentivize them by offering an additional night at no cost or upgrade them to a better room. Perhaps you can offer them an opportunity to invite a friend to experience a stay with your property at no additional charge.
The key in loyalty programs is to offer something which is perceived to be highly valuable, costs you much lesser than that perceived value, and delivers a profit.
Another oldie, but a goldie.
Your employees are your best ambassadors. Run promotions that involve them – perhaps a free upgrade for friends and family? Or complimentary breakfast for this group?
Whilst it is important to run a promotion strategy for this group, it is also important to get their support in pushing your message out. Incentivize your employees to promote your offers on their social channels or contribute content to your existing social channels.
Supporting local businesses is top of mind for everyone. People around the world want to do their bit to support the economy via local businesses, a.k.a. YOU. But promoting just your hotel can get a bit boring. Instead, make the experience richer by partnering with local small businesses, and creating an offer guest can’t look past on your hotel website. For instance, if you are located near a theme park or similar kid-friendly activity, promote a local family holiday. Or partner with a few local bars and add a promotion that attracts brew buffs.
An offer for guests staying with you currently. Get them to experience your higher-end facilities or a service they have not booked. It’s a great way to incentivize them to book it the next time they visit. Having experienced it first-hand, they become precious ambassadors of hat service.
Reward non-refundable bookings
Another lockdown could bring more cancellations, and this is a factor that is also preventing guests to book too much in advance. Make your non-refundable rate into a promotion that guests can’t miss such as complimentary value-adds – meals, room with a view, tickets to local attractions, etc. You could also make this rate “flexible” by not offering cash refunds, instead of offering gift cards/vouchers to allow redemption at a later date.
With a little bit of creativity in your promotions and content marketing, boosting direct bookings can be easy. It is important to keep your guest profile in mind when planning promotions – what would they want, not what you need sold.
What other hotel promotion ideas have you tried off late that have paid great dividends? We’d love to hear about these on firstname.lastname@example.org.