Everyone knows that the main aim for hoteliers is to fill rooms and generate as much revenue as possible, but this might be easier said than done. After all, there are off seasons to account for and travellers have the whole world at their fingertips thanks to the internet.How can you ensure that guests come to stay with you and not your competition?
Assuming you have a robust marketing strategy in place and are maintaining an excellent website, the key might be to improve your hotel revenue management using a few clever tricks.Hotel revenue management is all about carefully examining guest behaviour and forecasting what might drive future business, but also being crafty with your budget to maximise the return on investment and prevent easy money from slipping through your fingers. Essentially, you need to look for as many opportunities as possible to rake in those bookings. Here’s how you might be able to do it.
1.Persona and behaviour analysis A great way of encouraging more reservations is to take a look at your past guests (particularly frequent visitors) and see what you could offer them to bring them back. For example, if you see that a couple has stayed twice, send them an email offering them a complimentary evening meal if they book a third night.You could also consider loyalty cards, vouchers if you partner up with local businesses, e-cards on their birthdays and discounted stays if they recommend you to a friend. Of course, these are also good techniques that you could then use to build up a persona of the people who could become your future guests and who can be targeted with marketing campaigns.
2.Market segmentation This might sound similar to the category above and it is closely linked to it, but it also involves more data analysis that could help you to understand your own hotel better, as well as what your guests are doing.Go back through your reservations and take a look at who has booked your rooms for the past, say, two years. Where were they from and do they have any shared characteristics? What add-ons did they purchase when they were with you and what time of year did they visit?Answering these questions and more that you come up with should help you to determine when the busiest and quietest periods are, how long guests are staying with you and how much average profit you are making from them.You can then build your new promotional campaigns based around this. For example, if you know you are quiet in October, think about what events you have going on nearby and build a package deal you can email out to past guests with a discount if they attend. Another tip is to provide a discounted rate if people book two nights instead of one.
3.Get the right rates With so much competition out there, it’s tempting to slash your room rates and hope this will entice lots of new guests to book with you. Actually, this can be counter-intuitive, particularly if you are trying to market yourself as a luxury brand. What you need to do is maximise the perceived value and aim your rates correctly for your target audience.For instance, if you know you appeal to businesspeople, don’t make your rates bargain basement – instead, showcase the fact that your rates include free transport from your hotel to the airport, a free minibar or free laundry service.On the other hand, lowered rates might work for families on the lookout for something cheaper than the usual fare during school holidays.
4.Keep an eye on the competition Thanks to the proliferation of technology today, it’s easier than ever to keep tabs on what your competitors are doing. Follow them on social media and emulate their marketing strategies if you see they are doing something you hadn’t thought of (without directly copying, of course), whether that’s posting inspirational photos on Instagram or offering giveaways on Twitter.You should also regularly check their reviews in comparison to your own, as this might help you to see what they’re not getting quite right – and where you might be off the mark. Alternatively, if you see their guests raving about something they’re doing or providing, make sure you’re offering it too.
5.Ensure your goals are achievable It’s great to have goals in place for your hotel, particularly at the start of a brand new year. However, you should always make sure they are actually attainable and not just a pipedream. For example, it’s not realistic to say you want to make the same revenue as the Waldorf Astoria by the end of 2017 if you are a small, independent property in a quiet seaside resort – this is simply setting yourself up for failure.
Instead, set goals that you can measure and potentially achieve, such as increasing your bookings by five per cent over a certain period of time. Also, keep on top of them by maintaining checks on your daily revenues and making changes to your budget or promotional techniques if they rise or fall suddenly.You could set goals in particular areas too, such as aiming to get to the first page in Google’s rankings for certain search parameters.
This can be done by improving your SEO techniques and carrying out occasional pay-per-click campaigns, items we have covered in detail in past articles (check our archives if you want to see).As you can see, there are ways of making your revenue management more streamlined and using it to boost your ROI – it’s just a case of taking a closer look at your techniques and tweaking them to suit your property.