Signs of winter are apparent in the Southern Hemisphere countries. Is your property ready for the demands (or lack of) of the changing season? Here are some tips to get your property ready for the new season.
Do a Full-Year Rate Comparison
When did you last check your rates against your competitor set for a full year? Are you competitive in the market and are you priced well within your comp set? You don’t want to be too cheap or people will start to question why and nor do you want to be the most expensive unless your product is the best in town. Pick your pricing point and be prepared to review that point as new suppliers enter the market.
Meet Your Online Travel Agents (OTAs)
When did you last meet with the Market Manager for the OTAs you’ve chosen to work with? I know we all love to hate the OTAs but they are here to stay and it is time to embrace them. The Market Managers have a wealth of information at the click of a button. Have coffee with your Market Manager quarterly and they will bring with them reports and information on what is happening in the area.
Keep Tabs on Metasearch
Spend some time monitoring your rates on Trivago, Hotelscombined, TripAdvisor, Kayak etc. Are you in parity? If not, start talking to the OTA concerned and find out what is causing you to drop out of parity. Sometimes you need to get your best detective hat on and push for an answer you are prepared to accept and other times you will find the issue straight away. Once you are back in parity, do not think my job is done. You may be out of parity again tomorrow. Check regularly and keep chasing OTAs for rate parity.
Refresh Your Website
Have you changed over your website from a summer to a winter theme? Is your website a one stop shop for customers? You do not want a customer leaving your website to find further information as they may not come back. Therefore, do you provide all the information they require and optimise your website for mobile use. This will also benefit your search results.
Get Active on Social Platforms
It is no longer a case of should I be on social media; it is now a case of having to be there. A typical customer journey from research to booking will start with OTAs from which the potential guest will create a short list of possible hotels. Once shortlisted, they will visit individual websites with a side trip to each hotel’s social media and review sites. Once they have decided on their preferred property, they will move onto Metasearch sites to find the best rate and, if your website is offering something special, back to you to book.
Manage Your Reviews
95% of customers will read reviews before booking. If you are not managing your reviews, they will be managing your customers for you. Take some time while it is quiet to analyse your reviews and look for trends. Work these trends into your renovation plans, deep cleaning and customer service training schedules. Ensure you are responding to your reviews as frequently as possible. Remember review responses are all about educating your next visitor.
Check out STAAH’s ReviewMinder platform to help you keep on top of your online reputation.
Invest in Your Staff
If you are going into a quiet time of year, ramp up the training and equip your staff to push up your service standards further. Look into your systems – are they up to date? Are you PCI compliant? Take this quiet time to visit a competitor and make notes of what they do well so you can implement these in your property.
This is a big one and the most important one should you wish to stand out in a crowded market.
Each OTA offers something different that you can tap into as a way of driving business. Work with the Market Managers of OTAs to see how you can craft offers that would be mutually beneficial. Then mirror these deals on your website and social channels to drive direct bookings. Perhaps add something just that little bit extra to ensure that those who book direct, receive the best.
Adopt New Technologies
Take some time to educate yourself on what is happening within the hospitality industry and what new technologies are emerging to make our lives either easier or our hotels more profitable. Talk to your staff, suppliers and competitors on what they need or think should be added into your technology mix.
Time for Upgrades and Renovations
What are the jobs you have been putting off for a while that you now have time to do?
Take Some Time Off
Take some downtime yourself over the quiet period. Get away, spend some time with friends and family and remember why we do the job we do.
This article has been edited with permission from Tamie Mathews of RevenYou.com.au, a practice that helps independent hotels achieve the best bottom line profit possible. www.RevenYou.com.au.