Author Archives: Mark Ellis

4 Things Hoteliers Can Do To Increase Direct Bookings

4 Things Hoteliers Can Do To Increase Direct Bookings

If there’s one question hoteliers ask themselves every day, it’s: “how can I increase direct bookings?”.

And that’s understandable because ‘beating’ the online travel agents (OTAs) feels like an impossible task…

…until you realise that it isn’t really a battle.

Seriously – in order to gain more direct bookings as a hotelier, you need to view this industry as a level playing field, because in the digital age, that’s exactly what it is.

In today’s blog, we’re going to look at four things you can do today to increase direct bookings at your hotel (and none of the tips below involves getting into a backstreet brawl with an OTA):

1. Get into digital marketing

Isn’t all marketing in the digital age, er… digital?

Nope!

In fact, the hospitality industry remains one of the few that still relies on old-fashioned methods of brand promotion thanks to the prevalence of printed brochures and direct mail campaigns.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that stuff, but it needs to run alongside a concerted digital marketing effort if you’re to be found online.

Here are a few ways you can up your digital marketing game, relatively easily:

-optimise your website for keywords relating to the type of hotel you run, its various services and location (this is known as ‘SEO’ – speak to your web people if you’re unsure how to approach it);

-start a blog and write regularly about the hotel, its events and topics that relate to the area in which it’s situated;

-use your social media presence – don’t just let it sit there unloved; a post or two a day advertising your latest rates or showing off photos of your rooms and grounds will work wonders;

-give Google Adwords a try – it isn’t the money pit some will tell you it is.

The above list is certainly non-exhaustive, but it’s a start, and if you make good on your promise to keep on top of each task, you’ll gradually start to see results in terms of increased visitors to your website and – all being well – increase direct bookings.

2. Respond to – and share – guest reviews

Ah – reviews. Well, we were going to mention this sooner or later, weren’t we?

Guest reviews can make or break hotels – but not in the way you’re perhaps thinking.

Receive a bad review? Respond to it; demonstrate that you’re listening and care deeply about your business and the service you provide guests.

Receive a great review? Share it! Tell the world via social media and a testimonials page on your website.

By proactively dealing with guest reviews, you’ll become the master of them, and the more active you are with such guest correspondence, the more chance you have of diverting people to your own website rather than an OTA.

3. Give guests a reason to part with their money

Getting people to your hotel website is only half the battle. Once they arrive, they need to be given a compelling reason to book direct.

Try creating bespoke packages that are only applicable to people who are willing to book direct. Avoid rate parity issues by retaining the same OTA rate but instead include something on top that is of high value to the guest but relatively low cost to you (a breakfast upgrade, for example).

If you avoid the opportunity to give potential guests a good deal immediately, they’ll quickly head elsewhere.

4. Implement a killer online booking system and payment gateway

Potential guests need two things to convince them that booking direct is the thing to do:

-Ease of booking.

-Reassurance.

Number 1 simply means you need a great online booking system that enables people to make bookings in just a few short steps. Number 2 requires a recognisable payment gateway (e.g. PayPal) and a crystal-clear booking policy. Both will be bolstered considerably with a PMS that connects directly to your website’s hotel booking systems.

Make your deposit, cancellation and no-show policy ultra-clear and ensure guests are forced to agree to your terms before booking.

The more transparent your booking process, the more people will use it – it’s that simple.

Wrapping up

Have we missed anything?

If you’re an independent hotelier and have experienced a significant uplift in direct bookings, tell us your experiences below. It doesn’t hurt to share your successes with the world once in a while!

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InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMSCloud PMSChannel ManagerHotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.

Call us today on +44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@innquestemea.com. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.

For U.S., please call +1 813 288 4900 or email sales@innquest.com.

5 tips for maximising direct bookings in 2021

5 tips for maximising direct bookings in 2021

Hosted by TripTease, the Direct Booking Summit is now in its third year and is the first event of its kind devoted to helping hoteliers increase the number of direct bookings they receive.

The fact direct booking now has its own summit is a clear indication of how big a challenge it is for hoteliers (particularly independents) to drive bookings through their own websites as opposed to the commission-based alternatives.

The good news? If you’re an independent hotelier, there are five things you can do in 2021 to maximise your direct bookings – and they’re easier than you might think!

1. A blatantly-obvious online booking button

We’ve offered this tip so many times in the past, but there’s no harm in reiterating it.

When you have a new website designed for your hotel, it’s easy to get lost in everything but the most important element – the call-to-action (CTA).

For a hotel, that’s the ‘book now’ button, courtesy of modern online hotel booking engine. If yours can’t be found immediately (i.e. without scrolling, or pinching to zoom on your phone [see tip 5]), you’re missing out on direct bookings – simple.

2. Nail the user experience

A beautiful website isn’t necessarily a functional website or one that’s a pleasure to use.

Given the visual nature of this industry, we’ve seen far too many hotel websites where there has been too much time spent on the design, overlooking the user experience.

You need beautiful, original imagery and video if you’re to engage potential guests, but you also need to make it easy for them to navigate. Here’s our user experience golden rules:

– Make it easy to book (see tip 1)

– Put all of the important information within the upper-third of each page

– Create a simple, clear menu

That’s it. Easy, right?

3. Make security a top priority

Understandably, there’s a lot of nervousness about data protection and cybercrime these days, and your hotel website needs to give its visitors the confidence to hang around.

You can do this by investing in a PCI-compliant online booking system for their credit card payments, and by ensuring that you have an ‘https’ security certificate for the website. The latter displays the little padlock icon in most browsers and is an industry-standard form of security.

These little things will add credibility to your brand and encourage people to hang around long enough to book.

4. Rate parity

If you’re advertising rates higher or lower on your website compared to the OTAs, you’ll be both breaking their rules and confusing guests.

Sound odd? Not really. Guests want transparent pricing, and finding multiple prices for the same room at the same hotel across multiple websites including your own doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Why are they different?

If you have price parity across all of your online channels, the choice of booking method for the guest will usually come down to whichever website they land on when they’re at the buying stage of the customer journey. If yours keeps them engaged and makes it easy to book, why would they head back to an OTA?

5. Mobile compatibility

Test your hotel website on your mobile phone.

Most of the people who visit your website will do so on their smartphone. And that means everything should auto-adjust to fit any screen size, while keeping that all important CTA (re-read tip 1!) front-and-centre.

Whats the experience like? Painful?

You’re missing out on direct bookings!

Wrapping up

You’ll never achieve 100% direct bookings for your hotel. If you do, we’d love to hear from you.

But you won’t – sorry.

That doesn’t matter though, because by using our tips above, you’ll significantly increase the portion that originate from your own website and in turn establish a brand that people want to return to again and again.

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InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMSCloud PMSChannel ManagerHotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between. 

Call us today on +44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@innquestemea.com. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions. 

For US, please call +1 813 288 4900 or email sales@innquest.com.

Getting to know your guests: the basics of guest profiling

Getting to know your guests: the basics of guest profiling

If there’s one thing the OTAs know how to do well, it’s guest profiling. In fact, there’s a high chance they’ve obtained more data about your guests than you have… and you’re the one providing the service!

The good news is this can be fixed, because as the hotelier, you have access to just as much technology and right to collect data about your guests. GDPR may have thrown a few marketing plans out of kilter, but that was for good reason; before the new regulation, there simply wasn’t enough importance placed on the protection of our personal data.

Providing you abide by the rules, you can collect guest data that will enable you to profile them fully and in turn create more personalized stays and a hotel service which lives long in the memory.

Today, we’re going to look at the basics of guest profiling.

Always get their email address

Email marketing is a powerful tool because it offers a direct route to a defined endpoint: your guests’ inboxes.

This is why you should always obtain guests’ email addresses. If they book directly via your website, this step is easy, but if they come via an OTA, you’ll probably be aware that you’re often given a temporary OTA email address for them – or nothing at all.

If that’s the case, make it a standard procedure for reception staff to follow up new OTA bookings with a request for the guest’s personal email address. In fact, this field should be a mandatory field on the Reservation Form, just make sure you are following GDPR Guidelines and retaining the information with the guests consent. roomMaster is GDPR Compliant and offers the settings and features needed to assist you with your own GDPR Compliance.

Use a CRM platform

Customer relationship management (CRM) software was once the sole domain of the corporate world, but thanks to cloud technology and lower costs of enterprise-level tools, every business can now benefit from such software.

To drive customer loyalty, increase repeat stays and encourage better online reviews, you need a CRM Platform like Cendyn’s Guestfolio, that fully integrates with your hotel PMS. Link the two together, and you’ll gain far more options for guest data capture.

Embrace guest feedback

Do you squirm at the thought of checking your TripAdvisor reviews? If so, you’re missing out on countless opportunities to profile your guests.

By collating guest feedback, you’ll not only learn as a hotelier and improve your service, but find out exactly what matters to individual guests, too.

For instance, if a particular guest expresses how perfect their garden view room was, why not make a note against their profile to ensure the same type of room can be offered again next time they book?

There’s powerful detail in guest reviews, so make sure you allocate plenty of time each week to read through them.

Analyze your email marketing efforts

We mentioned earlier how important email marketing is for hoteliers, but sending offers and newsletters out is only half the job; you need to analyze the performance of those campaigns, too.

By keeping track of email marketing engagement, you’ll be able to sniff out the guests who are most interested in your brand. Equally, you’ll start to get a feel for how they want to interact with your hotel based on the links they click and the type of information or offers they appear less interested in.

This is only the start…

We’ll delve into guest profiling in much greater detail on this blog soon but keep the points above in mind as you begin to build a far more powerful guest database; it will hold the key to greater brand recognition and more direct bookings.

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InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMSCloud PMSChannel ManagerHotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.

Call us today at 1.813.288.4900, or email us at sales@innquest.com. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.

Four GDPR myths debunked for hoteliers

Four GDPR myths debunked for hoteliers

In 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced, and, if your business stores personal data (which, let’s be honest, most do these days), you need to comply – or risk heavy fines. If you’ve never heard of the GDPR before, this blog isn’t intended to give you the full rundown, because the internet is awash with descriptions of the new legislation (check out the link above for the official detail). Instead, we’ve decided to gather five of the most common myths about GDPR compliance and debunk them, because there’s clearly still a great deal of confusion over the replacement for the Data Protection Act 1998.

Myth 1: The GDPR is all about personally identifiable data only

The GDPR isn’t solely focused on protecting data that is obviously related to individuals (i.e. their name, address or date of birth).

The legislation also applies to information such as IP addresses and cookie tracking, and this is because the advertising sector no longer treats data of that ilk as anonymous.

Myth 2: The GDPR only applies to new data we collect

Nope. Sorry.

The GDPR applies to all personal data you store and process, no matter when it was collected.

Myth 3: My hotel booking system provider has sole responsibility to remain GDPR compliant – not us

You’re quite right in assuming that the hotel booking system provider needs to be fully GDPR compliant, but there’s a fair bit you’ll need to do, too.

Your hotel will collect and interact with data in a variety of ways, therefore every touchpoint needs to be accounted for, and they won’t all be linked to the hotel booking system.

Equally, even if you’re not physically storing the data yourselves, you’ll still be considered a data controller, and therefore subject to the GDPR’s rules.

Myth 4: The fines are the biggest threat

There’s no escaping the fact that fines of 4% of revenue or £17 million are potentially business-killers, but they should be relatively rare in the UK.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has stated that it prefers “the carrot to the stick”, and it’s likely they’ll focus more heavily on companies that flout the laws or fail to notify them when a data breach has taken place.

So, the fines are a threat, but they’re not necessarily the biggest. If you’re hit by a data breach and your lack of GDPR compliance results in serious problems for your customers, the PR consequences could be far worse.

Wrapping up

There’s no escaping GDPR, but, equally, no reason to panic. Use our tips above to remain compliant, and don’t be afraid to call in professional help if you think you need it.

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InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMSCloud PMSChannel ManagerHotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.

Call us today on +44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@innquestemea.com. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.

For US, please call +1 813 288 4900 or email sales@innquest.com.

The simple Google Analytics guide for hoteliers

The simple Google Analytics guide for hoteliers

You’re a modern, savvy hotelier, which means you’ve got a website with an awesome online booking portal. Obviously.

It also means you understand what Google Analytics is. You’re aware that it provides vital insight into the way in which visitors interact with your hotel’s most important web presence. You also know that it offers data that enables you to fine tune your website to better engage visitors and ensure they click the ‘book now’ button.

There’s just one problem. It’s a bit cumbersome and you don’t really have the time to spend on it.

If you feel like this, you’re not alone. Google Analytics is a fantastic tool, but it does require a significant amount of time if you’re to get to grips with it.

…unless you know immediately where to head for the juiciest stuff.

And now, you do. Here’s the three most important Google Analytics metrics to review regularly:

1. The Bounce Rate

Of all Google Analytics stats, the bounce rate is the worst when it comes to crushing your digital hopes and dreams, because it indicates how many visitors enter your website – and leave, immediately.

A high bounce rate is anything above 60%; keep it below that, and you’re probably serving the right content to the right audience.

You can also break the bounce rate down by page if you want. Therefore if you’ve recently set up a new winter warmer offer and want to see how many people have immediately decided it’s not for them, Analytics will give you all the data you need.

2. New vs. Returning Visitors

One of the best ways to segment your website visitors is to create two pots – one for new visitors, the other for people who have come back for more.

These are two very different audiences. The new people may never have heard of you before, and therefore probably need a fair bit more encouragement to book. Returners may be far ‘warmer’ and closer to the point of reserving a room. You may be more inclined to implement more hotel upselling initiatives for returning guests, who have already enjoyed a nice stay at your property and are ready for more.

Understanding how many of the total visitors are made up by these two groups is vital in helping you tune your website to best serve them. For instance, if new visitors have a particularly high bounce rate, you may not be providing enough information about the hotel, or the booking facility might be too hard to find.

3. Average Session Duration

Second to bounce rate in terms of potentially demoralising web stats is the average session duration. As you’d expect, this refers to how long people browse your website on average, but the headline figure demands further exploration.

Once again, you can view average session duration by page, and by using the Users Flow report (Audience > Users Flow) to determine the most common journeys through your website, you can start to build a picture of where people are either hitting some kind of barrier or spending a significant amount of time.

It’ll take a bit of guesswork and experimentation, but the average session duration may indicate a usability issue or that you’ve absolutely nailed it with the page content.

Wrapping up

You’ll notice that we haven’t once mentioned the page view, users or total session stats above. And this isn’t because they’re not important (they are), but the number of people visiting your hotel website is far less important than the quality of those visitors.

Invest the short time you have for Google Analytics in the above datasets and you’ll start to build a picture of how well your website is performing and what needs to be done to improve the number of direct bookings you’re receiving.

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InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMSCloud PMSChannel ManagerHotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.

Call us today on +44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@innquestemea.com. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.

For US, please call +1 813 288 4900 or email sales@innquest.com.

The no nonsense guide to the GDS for independent hotels

The no nonsense guide to the GDS for independent hotels

Three letters which have remained something of a mystery for many hoteliers: ‘GDS’.

They stand for ‘Global Distribution System’, which is a huge network dedicated to providing travel industry professionals with a wide choice of hotels and travel packages.

Until very recently, the GDS has quite rightly been the domain of large hotels and big chains. We say ‘quite rightly’ because it was cumbersome, expensive and required an inordinate amount of someone’s time if it was to be used effectively.

Thankfully, things have changed. Thanks to PMS platforms like roomMaster Anywhere finally making the GDS accessible and manageable for smaller operators, everyone can benefit from this brilliant guest finder tool. So without further ado, here’s a quick GDS guide for hotels.

So… how does the GDS work?

Good question!

There are countless travel industry professionals out there whose responsibility it is to find their clients the best possible hotel rates and travel arrangements.

These agents use tools like the GDS to make their lives easier and their clients happier. And guess what – if your hotel’s rates and availability can be found on the GDS, you’re in with a shout of winning plenty of new business.

By connecting your PMS and channel manager to the GDS, you can advertise your hotel to this massive network and gain access to a market you simply won’t find on any OTA.

Should my independent hotel sign up to the GDS?

Not long ago, we’d have said “tread with caution” when asked this question, but not any more. The GDS is no longer a tool solely for the big boys of the industry.

The aforementioned travel agents are primed and motivated to find great room rates and decent hotels for their clients, and they could become some of your most loyal customers.

The GDS is brilliant for increasing brand awareness about your hotel, too. It contains market segments that may otherwise never have discovered your property, and the fees for making that happen are pretty reasonable when compared with the marketing budget black hole that is Google Adwords.

Not convinced? Here are 4 reasons you need the GDS!

Okay, the GDS does still have a bit of an image problem within the independent hotel market, and you probably need a little more to go on if you’re to spread your wings wider online.

So, here are four reasons the GDS should be in your hotel’s marketing plans:

1. You’ll get more bookings. You want that, right? 2017 was a record year for bookings made via the GDS, and if you’re not on that network, you’re missing out.

2. Your revenue will rise. More bookings = increased revenue. Simple. And, remember – if you’re worried about the profitability of those bookings due to commission fees, the GDS is more affordable than you might think, and there’s always a profit in a room sale if you price it right.

3. You’ll discover new markets. We’ve mentioned this a few times but it bears repeating: the GDS puts your hotel in front of a brand new audience. New audiences open up so many opportunities for hotels to expand on their offering, widen their customer base and increase awareness of the brand.

4. Travel agents will become some of your best friends. We all need friends in this industry, and with travel agents under significant pressure to find great hotels and reasonable room prices, the discovery of your property will put a great big smile on their face.

And finally…

With over 100,000 travel websites, agents and portals out there, the GDS can’t be handled manually. Make sure you have a PMS and channel manager that will connect to the network and automate the delivery of rates, availability and confirmed bookings!

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InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMSCloud PMSChannel ManagerHotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.

Call us today on +44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@innquestemea.com. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.

For US, please call +1 813 288 4900 or email sales@innquest.com.

6 exciting ideas for creating hotel marketing videos

6 exciting ideas for creating hotel marketing videos

Video is the new normal for marketing, especially in the digital age when streaming services are so widely used. If the year has taught us anything, it’s that hotels need to be flexible and quick to adapt. With an online presence becoming more important than ever, with hotels needing to attract guests in a digital fashion, video is the ultimate marketing tool. Videos do take quite a bit of time and effort, but the end result is worth it if you and your marketing team hit on the right notes.

With that in mind, here are a few ideas to help you raise the profile of your independent hotel with the power of video.

Highlight the local landscape

If your hotel is in a picturesque part of the country, guests will probably be eager to visit because of the surroundings – as much as for the quality of the service you offer.

Try creating a marketing video which showcases the beauty of the local area to capitalise on this. You could factor in things like popular hiking trails, renowned sights and nearby activities to try, with your hotel shown to be the perfect base of operations for adventurous visitors.

Create a narrative

It’s tempting to take the easy route with a video to market your hotel; think grinning guests at the reception desk, smirking chefs preparing food and smiling staff going about their duties.

This is all well and good in theory, but in practice your ad will get overlooked online unless it does something different.

You can stand out by telling a story with your video, whether it focuses on the history of the hotel and the local area, or on some other narrative arc that you’ve conjured up on your own. Whatever it is, make sure it’s original and compelling.

Start a competition

You can get guests involved in your video marketing campaigns by encouraging them to submit their own clips captured at your hotel or recorded during their stay.

Offering an incentive will help drum up submissions. You could provide a prize for the best customer-made video, such as a free room for a night for the winner and a discount for everyone else who gets involved.

Focus on fundraising

Creating video content which is purely designed to market your hotel is a great idea, but there’s only so much promotional material you can pump out. So why not get involved with a good cause, raise some cash for charity and post clips that highlight your admirable efforts?

This is a great way of killing two birds with one stone; diversifying your video output and making your hotel look socially conscious.

Consider social media

Not every video you produce needs to have movie-quality production values and an Oscar-worthy story. In fact in the age of Instagram and Snapchat, audiences are more familiar with bite-sized promos than longer clips.

Stay on top of the latest viral trends and piggyback on popular memes in the social media world if you want to make videos that engage with younger customers. All you need is a smartphone and a knack for knowing what’s sharable (speak to some of your younger staff – they’ll have a great idea).

Embrace VR

OK, this one isn’t going to be suitable for everyone, but stick with us!

Virtual reality (VR) is taking the online video world by storm at the moment, and some large hotel chains are already hooked up to this bandwagon.

VR videos let you give guests 360 degree views of your hotel before their visit. The cost of creating this type of content is always falling, so don’t be put off if it sounds too high-tech at this stage.

Wrapping up

Whatever you decide to do with your hotel marketing video project, make sure you choose something exciting and fresh, avoiding traditional approaches that people will just ignore.

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InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMSCloud PMSChannel ManagerHotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.

Call us today on +44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@innquestemea.com. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.

For US, please call +1 813 288 4900 or email sales@innquest.com.

How UK hoteliers can boost destination promotion to boost occupancy

How UK hoteliers can boost destination promotion to boost occupancy

Some hotels try hard to be unique so that guests are more likely to come knocking, but the biggest influence on booking numbers will often be location, location, location. Hence, destination promotion is crucial in having guests flock to your hotel.

The UK hospitality industry is currently in a period where reaching out to domestic travellers will be key to maintaining occupancy. A recent survey by The Cumberland revealed that 83% of UK holidaymakers are eyeing holidays within the UK this year. Furthermore, 71% plan to also stay within the UK in 2021, so boosting marketing efforts towards staycationers will be crucial to hotels navigating the storm.

While hotels in the country may not be hosting many guests from abroad for the foreseeable future, it doesn’t mean that all other marketing efforts are in vain; it just makes it important to emphasise that your hotel is the gateway to an amazing destination. Implementing some effort into destination promotion can help your hotel in a big way, as guests will be more inclined to flock to your hotel if you’ve made the effort into helping guests fill out their trip. Not only that, but if guests enjoy your suggestions, they’ll be more likely to become return guests. Incorporating this into a simple booking engine for your hotel also helps matters. By going the extra mile in helping guests learn more about your hotel’s area, they’ll feel more comfortable in staying at your hotel. So be sure to tout your hotel’s location!

Here are some ideas to help you promote your independent hotel based on the incredible attractions in the surrounding area.

Surf the social media wave!

While it might not be practical to hire a hotshot influencer to promote your hotel via social media, you can still get your guests involved to enhance your traction online.

One idea is to encourage customers to share snaps and videos captured during their stay using a unique hashtag to make them searchable and trend-worthy.

You could also incentivise mentions of your hotel’s social media accounts by offering discounts for guests who use Twitter, Instagram or Facebook to post pictures of local landmarks in which you’re tagged.

Secure local partnerships

Cross-promotional deals with other businesses in the area will always be mutually beneficial, so approach potential partners and suggest joining forces, (providing they’re not potential rivals, of course!).

For example, you could provide discounted access to nearby tourist hot spots to people who book a room at your hotel, which will increase occupancy rates and also send more visitors the way of the attraction itself.

Invest in unique content

Many independent hotels have already taken the step of amplifying their online marketing and increasing their influence by producing bespoke content.

This can be in the form of blogs, podcasts or videos, and tuned to highlight on-site facilities, while also drawing attention to the wonders of the region in which your hotel sits.

If your hotel is in a rural area, why not commission a video with drone footage of the countryside trails and gorgeous views that customers can experience?

Located within an urban sprawl? Be sure to pick up on the entertainment, leisure and dining options available nearby and write regular blogs that highlight the wonderful experiences they offer! Just make sure you always link it back to why visitors should use your hotel as a base for the night.

Promote events and activities

Even small-scale events taking place near your hotel or hosting your own virtual events will have some form of online buzz which you can latch onto in order to generate more traffic for your website.

You could simply get in touch with organisers and ask them for a press release to publish on your hotel’s website or go one step further and write a uniquely worded summary so that you can latch onto some of the search traffic for the event.

Wrapping up

Promoting your hotel as a gateway to an amazing destination is an incredibly effective tactic, but one which many independents overlook.

In an age of OTAs and web bookings, it’s easy for guests to compare every hotel in a specific area based on location and room price, while ignoring the countless steps you’ve taken to grab their attention via other means.

Proper management of destination promotion is one way to pique their interest and demonstrate that there’s far more to a stay at your hotel than the property itself.

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InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMSCloud PMSChannel ManagerHotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.

Call us today on +44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@innquestemea.com. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.

For US, please call +1 813 288 4900 or email sales@innquest.com.

5 things you can do today to put your independent hotel ahead of the big chain competition

5 things you can do today to put your independent hotel ahead of the big chain competition

Running an independent hotel can feel like an uphill struggle – especially if you stick to the same old methods you’ve always used and ignore the need to innovate.

But rather than let the big chains walk all over you, it makes sense to stop procrastinating and take action.

Here are five things you can do today to level the playing field in this competitive market.

1. Implement price-matching offers

With comparison sites making such an impact on the industry, ignoring the likelihood of being undercut by the big chains is not wise.

You don’t necessarily need to make all of your rooms cheaper than your rivals on your PMS, but it’s advisable to make sure your rates are at least in tune with customer expectations.

Matching prices with the big chain competition can lure in bargain hunters while still ensuring that your hotel has that unique, boutique, exclusive feel that you’ve worked so hard to foster.

2. Create a loyalty scheme

Getting guests to return after their initial stay is tricky, but if you offer an incentive, they’re much more likely to re-book.

Many of the major hotel operators have loyalty schemes designed to do just that, but there’s no reason you can’t recreate this on a smaller scale for your own property.

You could even factor in discounts for guests who recommend you to their family, friends and colleagues to spread the benefits even further.

3. Improve your website

There’s no excuse for having a sub-standard website that looks unprofessional when compared with those of mainstream rivals.

Makes sure your website is optimised for search engines, easy-to-use on mobile devices and targeted to win bookings in as few clicks as possible to get the best results.

Make your online hotel booking systems front and centre on every page; it’s what potential bookers will be looking for!

4. Get on top of social media

You need a presence on social media to both promote your hotel and respond to guests who may be using platforms like TwitterFacebook and Instagram to ask questions and provide feedback.

Running your social media accounts doesn’t need to take up too much of your time, and you shouldn’t neglect them if you can help it.

The potential benefits are too good to pass up, and all the top hotel chains are already maximising their impact on these sites, so you should too.

Also remember that you can use social media proactively, both to request reviews from previous guests and to promote your latest offers to people who have stayed with you in the past.

5. Create a mobile app

Smartphones are ubiquitous today and you can assume that most guests who stay with you will have an iOS (Apple) or Android (Google) device at their disposal.

Because of this, creating an interactive mobile app is a sensible and exciting idea, and will allow you to impress visitors with what they can do from their smartphone during their stay.

From checking in and out to placing an order for room service without needing to make a call, a hotel app can be flexible enough to offer a wide range of convenient functions, thus creating a memorable guest experience.

If you don’t want the big chains to win the tech war, this is a great investment to make.

What do you think?

What have we missed? If you’re a successful independent hotelier, tell us what has worked for you in the comments section below (don’t worry – you can remain anonymous).

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InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMSCloud PMSChannel ManagerHotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.

Call us today on +44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at sales@innquestemea.com. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.

For US, please call +1 813 288 4900 or email sales@innquest.com.