Preparing now for the times that will come in our Hotel Industry.
Experiment >> Track >> Growth.
By reading this quick guide, many hoteliers will come up with a bunch of IFs and BUTs for not even trying.
However, this is not simply a simple guide to get a few more direct bookings for your hotel, or just another marketing strategy to be added to your arsenal.
Attracting new Guests to our hotels, whether business travelers or, more likely, leisure travelers, starts with tapping into the real and root cause of their motivations to travel.
In other words, the experiences we will contribute to creating in the hotel guests’ minds.
These ideas come from the the consideration that the booking journey has changed again and so it the consideration world travelers have of the hotels they will stay at.
Getting leads becomes even more important that trying to convert in the first place.
That’s why, if you are one of those Hoteliers willing to try something new, my best advice is to follow the above path, which to me is a real mantra:
Experiment >> Track >> Growth.
There is no safe, or secure path.
Unprecedented times = Unprecedented solutions.
H the following ideas only require a bit of time and creativity.
✅ Experiment, meaning try and then.. try again.
✅ Track the performance of your experiments.
✅ Identify the winning option and experiment new variants.
Let’s dig in.
1) Travel Itinerary
Create a Travel Itinerary in Google Maps using the relatively hidden feature called “Your Places”, listing all the main POIs of your locality.
This step-by-step guide I wrote a couple of years ago is still relevant and you can use it to create your first travel itinerary to be shared with your prospects and guests, in a matter of 20 minutes.
Travelers, just like all other people, are basically lazy individuals. This one-fit-all easy solution will allow you to ease them into their next trip.
PRO Tip >> be creative, list your insider tips of places and gems to visit in your town.
Furthermore, you can use your newly created itineraries with your in-house hotel customers. Isn’t this a nice opportunity for ourhotels?
2) Useful phrases in your local language or dialect
Other than useful, those phrases (or even sayings) represent the authenticity any leisure traveler is looking for. But also business travelers.
How to order a coffee. Hot to say “Thank you”. How to ask for specific services.
PRO Tip >> Other than useful, they are also fun, so keep it funny and go beyond “how to say thank you”. Try to be memorable 🙂
“Is [your town] the right destination for your next trip? Take the quiz to find that out.”
Create curiosity, a sense of secrecy… and put them all into a fun context like a quiz.
If you are familiar with such idea, you might be thinking of dynamically change the results of the quiz, depending on the input entered but potential guests.
PRO Tip >> At the end of the quiz you may ask users to leave their email address to discover how much all other travellers scored (people love that..). This way your quiz also becomes a challenge (people love that, too).
4) Map of the Best Restaurants in town
I would expect a lot of resistance to this point, by those who have an internal restaurant:
“Why promoting other restaurants?”
The reason is simple: Guest will find them anyway because they like local stuff, local food… everything that falls under the label Locals, as this represents part of their travel experience.
So it’s better to be collaborative, rather than restrictive.
Define the restaurant categories first: local cuisine, Thai, Italian, Chinese, etc, depending on what your town has to offer. Then pick 1 restaurant for each category and create a map in Google Maps with them all (just like you did with lead-magnet 1).
PRO Tip >> Add a description and the reason why you believe these are the best restaurants in town. Don’t forget to add your hotel to your map, too. This way guests will see how far each restaurant is from you. Especially if your hotel is conveniently located among them, that’s quite a nice plus.
5) Coupon for 1st-time Visitors
97% of hotels’ users do NOT convert in the first place. So instead of pushing them to make a booking when they are not ready, offer them a valid (and tangible) reason to come back at a later stage with, for example, a discount code.
“We know you might want to look a little more at where to stay in [your town]. Take your time. And if you decide to stay with us, use the code below for an additional 7% OFF. Careful, the code will disappear the next time you’ll come back. So copy it now.”
It’s just an example of call to action with Test also different copy versions.
Besides, this is the exact opposite of all those urgency triggers that you can find on any hotels’ booking engines, all over the globe. So over-used, that makes no sense anymore.
PRO Tip >> How to identify 1st-time visitors? There are cheap tools that do the job at a very little cost (e.g. If-So), but a single cookie is enough and can be done in less than 30 min via Google Tag Manager, for example.
6) Targeted PDF Guide
“10 Most Romantic Places in [your town]”.
“10 Funniest Families Activities in [your town]”.
Those can be simply blog post on your site, converted into PDF available for download.
It’s easy, think of the core reasons as to why business travelers and leisure travelers… travel. And all those things that they can do when staying at your hotel.
PRO Tip >> By reading or downloading either one of these 2 articles/PDFs, users are already telling you who they are and what they are interested in: use this valuable info with your retargeting.
7) Exclusive 3rd-party Benefits
Partner-up with another player of your town (restaurant, attraction, wine shop, whatever) and offer a coupon on your site for a discount when buying from this partner.
The partner will benefit from additional visibility, so use this power to negotiate a good deal for your website visitors.
PRO Tip >> make sure this partnership is exclusive to your hotel, and not granted to dozens of other hotels as well.
Lead Magnets are powerful tools that generate a sense of reciprocity in those who receive them.
Reciprocity is a potent mental trigger that make people feel the urge of giving something back, aka booking your hotel.
Final Tip: Email or not?
A lead-magnet is usually a free giveaway, in exchange of an email address.
However, an email is already a barrier to entry, resulting in many potential customers turning away.
As an alternative (and as said in no. 6), you can instead give your LMs away with no opt-in required, using retargeting via Google or Facebook to pull them back to your site at a later stage.