The hospitality business has always been a competitive one. Now, with the arrival of platforms like Airbnb; hotels, lodges and guesthouses alike will have to up their game even further to stand out.
Whether your establishment caters for 5 or 500 guests, we take a look at innovative ways you can get noticed, improve your image and reputation, and ultimately get more bookings.
Encourage your customers to leave a positive review online
Today’s savvy consumers are all too aware that the things they read online don’t always reflect the facts – especially if you’re trying to sell them something! This is one of the reasons online reviews (or ‘social proof’) from members of the public who have experience with a product – or have stayed at a hotel – have started playing such a huge role in people’s buying decisions.
When deciding between your hotel and a competitor with similar nightly rates, the number, and quality of positive online reviews may well be what swings a potential guest. It’s therefore crucial that you get as many happy guests as possible to take the time to leave you a nice review.
Some of the ways you can do this include sending a polite follow-up email a few days after your guests have departed making sure they got home safe and asking them for any feedback on how you could improve. In the email, include a link to your profile on any booking sites you use, and mention that you’re happy to offer a discount off their next visit (or possibly any friend they refer) in exchange for their effort.
Coming up with something to say isn’t always easy, so give a few prompts to get them started! What did they enjoy the most about your establishment? Did they find the rooms comfortable, and what was the level of service like? Did they take part in any local activities or visit any attractions they’d recommend to other visitors?
Remember also that any positive comments you receive offline, such as when visitors sign the guestbook, can also be written up as testimonials on your website, and shared on your social media pages.
Middle of the quiet season? Offer a free room upgrade
Who doesn’t love a free upgrade?! If you’ve got bigger or better-equipped rooms sitting empty outside of peak season, then give your guests a super pleasant surprise and upgrade them at no extra charge. They’re certain to rave about your hotel, and the VIP treatment they received, to their friends in return.
Cater to business and tech-savvy travelers
In this connected age, it’s becoming unusual for a hotel not to offer free Wi-Fi. Whether your guests are traveling for work or simply want to touch base with their loved ones back home via Skype, make sure it’s easy for them to get online. On arrival, make sure they know where to find the Wi-Fi password, and include it on room brochures and welcome packs.
If you’ve got a group of conference delegates staying with you, go the extra mile and find out if they need assistance with travel arrangements, computer rental, or administrative services during their visit. The more you can organize on your guests’ behalf, the more likely they are to recommend you to colleagues and connections.
Be a treasure trove of information for your guests – both online and in-person
Hotel operators aren’t just in the business of providing accommodation, you’re also selling an entire destination. Aside from the usual tourist activities in your area, make sure you know where your guests can find any amenity they might be looking for. Where can they take their kids for a day out, have their hair done, find a library or post office, or get in a workout or some retail therapy?
If a guest asks a question you don’t know the answer to, go out of your way to find out on their behalf. After you’ve done your research, write up your findings and publish them on your website. Every question a guest asks, or which netizens asks about your area online (sites like Quora are a good place to find these) can be sources of inspiration for website content. And the more great content you have on your website, the better for your search engine ranking and digital marketing efforts.
Leverage the power of visual content
Photos rarely do a room or a picturesque setting justice. Find a talented videographer in your area, and create a short video tour of your best room, dining areas, and location. Aside from quality images of your establishment itself, make use of great shots of any famous local landmarks or wildlife found in your area. After all, you’re trying to sell an experience, not just accommodation.
Related article: How Hotel Marketing Can Boost Patronage for An Establishment
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About the author
Hi, I am Are Morch. Your Hotel Marketing Coach and Customer Experience Expert that teaches owners, general managers, director of sales, director of marketing and your team members how to use new digital marketing strategies that make every experience count and drives new business