Recent tech trends in the hospitality industry are opening up new opportunities for hotel managers to take greater control of their business success.
So, there’s a lot to love about summer ’16 right now.
In addition to the cold beers on the patio and the sun-kissed cheeks, business is booming. Travelers are booking left and right. The pool decks are crowded, the suite floors are covered in sandy footprints, and profits—just like guests’ spirits—are high.
But this business can be feast or famine. You know what I mean: when it’s good, it’s great. But the off-season can be downright disheartening, not to mention tough to weather sustainably.
There are three trends in particular that you should know about and use to your advantage. Doing so can help turn even your low-seasons into peaks.
It’s getting easier for hotels to land more direct bookings
Something everyone is talking about these days is direct bookings—and for good reason.
Hotel giants Marriott and Hilton are using their considerable clout to influence travelers and convince them to book directly on the hotel website. They want the world to know that when it comes to hotel rates, it’s not better to shop around.
They’re running educational marketing campaigns to dispel the myth that the best deal is always with an OTA and to promote the benefits of booking directly. And these campaigns are effectively driving travelers straight to hotel websites—perhaps yours.
So take note of how companies such as Marriott are getting travelers to book directly with them. First, they’re offering rewards. So should you. Whether you start a loyalty program, offer a complimentary bottle of wine, give a discount at your restaurant, or find some other way to reward your direct bookers is entirely up to you. You can get really creative with your offerings.
Second, they’re guaranteeing the lowest price. To attract more direct bookings, make it clear that the best rates for your rooms are found right on your website.
There’s something else you can do: show your own rates on your online profile with a link to your official website, so that guests get redirected there to complete their booking. How? Through the hotel metasearch site that offers direct connection for hotels.
Direct reservation requests are coming in from many channels and new tech trends
Recently in Greece, I had the opportunity to speak with many independent business owners in the local hospitality sector. And I kept hearing the same thing over and over from restaurateurs and hoteliers:
‘’It’s crazy, people are texting us their reservation requests.’’
Keep in mind that hotels in many Mediterranean countries still refer to the fax machine as a highly coveted communication device. There’s nothing wrong with that; but hoteliers need to appreciate that many people prefer other, more modern means of communication. From fax to phone, reservations are coming in through both conventional and unconventional channels these days.
So should you be reachable through mobile channels? It couldn’t hurt.
When you do have a mobile device, guests are able to get in touch—and ideally get a response—virtually instantly. And text messaging is just the start; many travelers are turning to social media to engage with hotels. Instant message is becoming a preferred means of communication for social media-savvy bookers.
Want to find out your guests’ intended arrival time? Text them. Want to earn business from your Facebook and Twitter accounts? Activate your instant messaging and allow these sites to notify you when you receive a message. You’ll be amazed at how much mobile communication can streamline and improve your operations.
And that’s not all you can do with mobile devices—not even close
If you have a smartphone, add your business email account to be able to access your inbox anywhere. Many travel technology providers (including Base7booking) have phone apps that let hoteliers access their reservation tools on their mobile devices. Big hotels have mobile check-in features and, in some cases, even apps that let guests order room service on their devices. The ways in which mobile devices are improving the hospitality industry, for hoteliers and guests alike, are numerous and always increasing.
Something to remember: when a guest enquires about your hotel, chances are good that they’re reaching out to other properties as well. And the hotel that answers first typically becomes the preferred choice. Don’t lose bookings due to a lag in response time: go mobile.
Hoteliers are jumping in on metasearch tech trends to grow their business online
A lot of travelers use metasearch to find their ideal hotel at the lowest rate. Why? It’s simple and convenient.
A hotel metasearch site aggregates every hotel deal online that fits the searcher’s criteria and displays them all in one comprehensive list. Travelers no longer need to spend days or weeks trying to find the property that best suits their needs. They just enter their dates, location, price, and amenity preferences into a hotel metasearch engine and within seconds can see all the available options and rates—from all across the Internet.
According to Google, almost one in every two travelers around the world uses metasearch to find their accommodations. So the question is: If so many travelers use metasearch, how can hotels use it to their advantage?
You can take control of your online hotel profile and customise it with high-quality images, accurate amenity listings, compelling descriptions, and more. The first impression potential guests have of you is often on metasearch, so make sure it’s a good one.
Don’t wait for the low-season to get started
Look at your offerings and rates and see what you can leverage to encourage more direct bookings. Make your hotel operations mobile-friendly for added convenience and more booking channels. And get the most out of metasearch by optimizing your hotel profile and increasing the number of OTAs you work with.
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