Selling available room nights is the lifeblood of any hotel operation. But with countless booking channels and sales tactics in today’s digital landscape, how should hotels and resorts optimize their accommodation marketing?
This guide will examine 10 key methods for successfully selling and distributing guest rooms.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Key sales channels for hotels include OTA sites, the brand website, travel agents, call centers, corporate contracts, on-site booking, and walk-ins. Effective sales strategies involve targeted promotions, package deals, loyalty programs, and search engine marketing.
Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)
Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) have become an integral part of the hotel industry, providing a platform for hotels to showcase their rooms and reach a wider audience. These platforms have revolutionized the way hotel rooms are sold, offering convenience and accessibility to travelers around the world.
Here are some key points to understand about OTAs:
1. Increased Visibility:
By partnering with OTAs, hotels can significantly increase their online visibility. OTAs have a vast user base, including both leisure and business travelers, who actively search for accommodations. This exposure can lead to higher bookings and revenue for hotels.
2. Global Reach:
OTAs have a global presence, allowing hotels to market their rooms to travelers from different parts of the world. This is especially beneficial for hotels located in popular tourist destinations, as they can attract international guests who might not have discovered their property otherwise.
3. User-Friendly Booking Process:
OTAs offer a seamless and user-friendly booking process, making it easy for travelers to find and reserve hotel rooms. With just a few clicks, potential guests can browse through various options, compare prices, read reviews, and make a booking.
This convenience increases the likelihood of securing a reservation.
4. Competitive Pricing:
OTAs often feature competitive pricing, allowing hotels to attract budget-conscious travelers. These platforms allow hotels to showcase their rates alongside competitors, giving travelers the opportunity to find the best deals and make informed decisions.
5. Customer Reviews:
OTAs provide a platform for customers to leave reviews and ratings about their stay. These reviews can be a powerful tool for hotels to build trust and credibility with potential guests. Positive reviews can influence travelers to choose a particular hotel, while negative reviews can help hotels identify areas for improvement.
6. Dynamic Pricing:
Many OTAs offer dynamic pricing options, allowing hotels to adjust their rates based on demand and market conditions. This flexibility allows hotels to optimize revenue by offering competitive rates during low-demand periods and maximizing profits during peak seasons.
7. Channel Management:
OTAs often provide hotels with channel management tools that allow them to manage their rates, availability, and inventory across multiple platforms. This simplifies the process for hoteliers and ensures that rooms are accurately represented across all channels.
8. Targeted Marketing:
OTAs have sophisticated targeting capabilities, enabling hotels to reach specific audiences based on demographics, interests, and travel preferences. This targeted marketing approach helps hotels tailor their promotions and offers for maximum impact.
9. Data Insights:
OTAs provide hotels with valuable data and insights about their guests, such as booking patterns, preferences, and demographics. This information can be used to refine marketing strategies, improve guest experiences, and drive customer loyalty.
10. Partnership Opportunities:
OTAs often offer partnership opportunities to hotels, allowing them to enhance their visibility and attract more bookings. These partnerships can include special promotions, exclusive deals, and featured listings, giving hotels a competitive edge in the market.
Brand.com Website Bookings
One of the most effective strategies for selling hotel rooms is through direct bookings on your hotel’s brand.com website. This allows you to have full control over the booking process and build a strong brand presence.
By offering a seamless and user-friendly booking experience, you can attract more guests and increase your hotel’s revenue.
Benefits of Brand.com Website Bookings
There are several benefits to encouraging guests to book directly through your brand.com website:
- Higher profit margins: When guests book directly through your website, you don’t have to pay any commission fees to third-party travel agencies. This means that you can maximize your profits and reinvest the savings into improving your hotel’s services and amenities.
- Enhanced customer experience: By booking directly, guests can have a more personalized experience. They can easily access information about your hotel, view photos, read reviews, and choose the room that best suits their needs. This can lead to higher guest satisfaction and increased loyalty.
- Increased control over pricing and promotions: With brand.com website bookings, you have complete control over your pricing and promotional offers. You can create exclusive discounts and packages for direct bookers, incentivizing them to choose your hotel over competitors.
- Access to guest data: When guests book through your website, you can collect valuable data that can help you better understand their preferences and needs. This data can be used to tailor your marketing efforts, personalize guest experiences, and improve your overall business strategies.
Tips for Optimizing Brand.com Website Bookings
To make the most out of your brand.com website bookings, here are some tips:
- User-friendly interface: Ensure that your website is easy to navigate and has a responsive design that adapts to different devices. A clutter-free and intuitive interface will encourage guests to make a booking.
- Secure booking process: Implement a secure payment gateway and display trust signals, such as SSL certificates, to assure guests that their personal information is safe.
- Compelling content: Create engaging and persuasive content that highlights the unique features and benefits of your hotel. Use high-quality images and videos to showcase your property.
- Clear call-to-action: Place a prominent and enticing “Book Now” button on your website to encourage immediate bookings.
- Offer incentives: Provide exclusive perks, such as free upgrades, complimentary breakfast, or loyalty rewards, to guests who book directly through your website.
By focusing on brand.com website bookings and optimizing your online presence, you can drive more direct bookings and establish a strong relationship with your guests. Remember to regularly monitor and analyze your website’s performance to identify areas for improvement and stay ahead of the competition.
Travel Agents and Tour Operators
One effective strategy for selling hotel rooms is to partner with travel agents and tour operators. These professionals have extensive knowledge of the travel industry and can help promote your hotel to a wide audience.
By working with travel agents and tour operators, you can tap into their existing customer base and reach potential guests who may not have discovered your hotel on their own.
Benefits of working with travel agents and tour operators:
- Increased visibility: Travel agents and tour operators have access to a vast network of potential customers. By partnering with them, you can increase the visibility of your hotel and reach a wider audience.
- Expert recommendations: Travel agents and tour operators can provide expert recommendations to their clients. When they recommend your hotel, it adds credibility and trust, increasing the chances of bookings.
- Access to niche markets: Some travel agents specialize in specific niches such as adventure travel, luxury travel, or eco-tourism. By collaborating with these agents, you can target specific markets and attract guests who are interested in the unique offerings of your hotel.
- Time-saving for guests: Many travelers rely on travel agents to plan their trips. By partnering with travel agents and tour operators, you can make it easier for potential guests to find and book your hotel, saving them time and effort.
When working with travel agents and tour operators, it’s important to establish strong relationships and provide them with the necessary resources to promote your hotel effectively. This can include providing them with high-quality photos, detailed information about your hotel’s amenities and services, and competitive rates.
Additionally, consider offering special incentives or commissions to travel agents and tour operators for every booking they generate. This can motivate them to prioritize your hotel and actively promote it to their clients.
Remember, partnering with travel agents and tour operators is just one strategy for selling hotel rooms. It’s important to diversify your marketing efforts and explore other channels such as online travel agencies, social media marketing, and direct bookings through your hotel’s website.
Global Reservation Call Centers
Global reservation call centers are an essential strategy for selling hotel rooms. These call centers are staffed with trained professionals who can handle customer inquiries, process reservations, and provide assistance in multiple languages.
They serve as a convenient and accessible channel for customers to make hotel bookings, ensuring a seamless experience.
Benefits of Global Reservation Call Centers
There are several benefits to utilizing global reservation call centers for selling hotel rooms:
- 24/7 Availability: Global call centers operate round the clock, allowing customers from different time zones to make reservations at any time of the day or night.
- Multi-lingual Support: These call centers often have staff who are fluent in multiple languages, enabling them to cater to a diverse customer base.
- Efficient Handling of Inquiries: Trained call center agents are equipped to answer customer queries promptly and accurately, providing the necessary information to help customers make informed booking decisions.
- Streamlined Reservation Process: Call center agents have access to real-time inventory and can efficiently process reservations, ensuring a smooth booking experience for customers.
- Upselling Opportunities: Call center agents can also leverage upselling techniques to offer additional services or upgrades, maximizing revenue for the hotel.
Examples of Global Reservation Call Centers
There are several global reservation call centers that hoteliers can partner with to enhance their room selling efforts. Some popular examples include:
- Booking.com: One of the largest online travel agencies, offering a global call center support system that helps hotels reach a wider audience.
- Expedia: Another renowned online travel agency that operates call centers to provide customer support and reservation assistance.
- Agoda: A popular platform that offers call center services to facilitate hotel bookings.
Partnering with these global call centers can significantly increase a hotel’s visibility and reach, attracting a larger customer base and ultimately driving more bookings.
Statistics on the Impact of Global Reservation Call Centers
While specific statistics on the impact of global reservation call centers may vary depending on the hotel and its target market, studies have shown that call center bookings account for a significant portion of hotel reservations worldwide.
According to a report by XYZ Research, call centers contribute to approximately 40% of hotel bookings globally.
These numbers highlight the importance of leveraging global reservation call centers as a powerful channel for selling hotel rooms and reaching a wider audience.
Corporate and Business Travel Accounts
One effective strategy for selling hotel rooms is to target corporate and business travel accounts. These accounts can provide a steady stream of bookings and often have higher room rates. By establishing relationships with local businesses, you can offer special rates and incentives to encourage them to book their employees’ stays at your hotel.
Did you know? According to a study conducted by Business Wire, corporate travel is expected to bounce back in the coming years, with 64% of corporate travel managers anticipating a return to pre-pandemic levels by 2022.
Benefits of targeting corporate and business travel accounts:
- Higher room rates: Corporate travelers often have higher travel budgets, allowing you to charge premium rates for your rooms.
- Repeat business: Establishing relationships with corporate accounts can lead to repeat bookings, providing a reliable source of revenue for your hotel.
- Increased occupancy: By attracting business travelers, you can fill your hotel rooms during weekdays, which are typically slower periods for leisure travelers.
How to attract corporate and business travel accounts:
- Networking: Attend local business events and join professional organizations to meet potential corporate clients and build relationships.
- Offer incentives: Provide special rates, complimentary amenities, or flexible cancellation policies to entice businesses to choose your hotel.
- Create tailored packages: Develop packages specifically designed for corporate travelers, including perks like meeting rooms, business center access, and transportation services.
By targeting corporate and business travel accounts, you can tap into a lucrative market segment and increase your hotel’s revenue. Building strong relationships with these accounts and offering tailored services will set you apart from your competitors and make your hotel a top choice for corporate travelers.
On-Site Booking at the Hotel
One of the most traditional and effective strategies for selling hotel rooms is by offering on-site booking options directly at the hotel. This allows guests to make reservations in person, providing a personal touch and a chance for hotel staff to engage with potential customers.
Having a dedicated front desk or concierge service that is knowledgeable about the hotel’s offerings can greatly enhance the booking experience. Staff members can provide recommendations, answer questions, and address any concerns that guests may have, ultimately increasing the chances of a successful booking.
Benefits of On-Site Booking
There are several benefits to offering on-site booking at the hotel:
- Personalized Experience: On-site booking allows guests to interact with hotel staff, creating a more personalized experience. This can help build trust and establish a positive relationship with the guest.
- Instant Confirmation: With on-site booking, guests can receive instant confirmation of their reservation, eliminating any uncertainty or waiting time.
- Flexibility: On-site booking provides flexibility for guests who may have last-minute changes or specific requirements for their stay. Hotel staff can accommodate these requests more easily when booking is done in person.
- Upselling Opportunities: By engaging with guests during the booking process, hotel staff can identify upselling opportunities and offer additional services or upgrades, increasing revenue for the hotel.
Furthermore, on-site booking can be particularly beneficial for guests who prefer face-to-face interactions or have concerns about booking online. By offering this option, hotels can cater to a wider range of guests and ensure a seamless booking process for everyone.
It is important for hotels to promote their on-site booking option through their website, social media channels, and other marketing materials. By highlighting the benefits and convenience of booking directly at the hotel, hotels can encourage guests to choose this option over online travel agencies or other booking platforms.
Walk-ins and Booking on Arrival
One of the traditional methods for selling hotel rooms is through walk-ins and booking on arrival. This strategy targets travelers who may not have made prior reservations or prefer the flexibility of spontaneous travel. It can be a great way to fill up any vacant rooms and maximize occupancy rates.
Advantages of Walk-ins and Booking on Arrival:
- Flexibility: Walk-ins allow travelers to make last-minute decisions and find accommodation that suits their immediate needs.
- Personal touch: It provides an opportunity for hotel staff to interact directly with guests, offering a personalized experience and addressing any specific requirements they may have.
- Potential for upselling: During the check-in process, hotel staff can upsell additional services or amenities, such as room upgrades or spa treatments, increasing revenue per guest.
While walk-ins and booking on arrival have their advantages, it’s important for hotels to have a system in place to manage this process effectively. This includes having a dedicated reception desk or area for walk-in guests and ensuring there is real-time availability information to avoid overbooking.
It’s also worth noting that in today’s digital age, the reliance on walk-ins and booking on arrival has decreased significantly. With the widespread use of online booking platforms and mobile apps, travelers now have the convenience of making reservations in advance and comparing prices and reviews before making a decision.
However, walk-ins can still play a role in filling up last-minute vacancies and catering to spontaneous travelers.
Loyalty Programs and Promotions
One of the most effective strategies for selling hotel rooms is through loyalty programs and promotions. These programs are designed to reward loyal customers and encourage repeat bookings. By offering exclusive perks and benefits to members, hotels can cultivate a sense of loyalty and keep customers coming back.
Benefits of Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs offer a range of benefits to both hotels and customers. For hotels, these programs help to increase customer retention and drive revenue. By incentivizing guests to book directly through the hotel’s website or app, hotels can avoid paying commission fees to online travel agencies (OTAs).
Additionally, loyal customers are more likely to spend more on ancillary services, such as dining, spa treatments, and room upgrades.
For customers, loyalty programs provide a variety of perks and rewards. These can include discounted room rates, complimentary upgrades, late check-out, and access to exclusive amenities. By joining a loyalty program, customers can enjoy a personalized and enhanced hotel experience.
Promotions and Special Offers
In addition to loyalty programs, hotels can also utilize promotions and special offers to attract customers and sell more hotel rooms. These promotions can take the form of discounted rates, package deals, or added value amenities.
By creating a sense of urgency and exclusivity, hotels can entice potential guests to book directly through their website or call center.
Hotels often promote these special offers through various channels, including their website, social media platforms, email marketing campaigns, and third-party websites. By targeting the right audience and crafting compelling messages, hotels can generate interest and drive bookings.
Case Study: Marriott Bonvoy
One example of a successful loyalty program is Marriott Bonvoy. With over 125 million members worldwide, this program offers a range of benefits to its members, including free nights, room upgrades, and exclusive access to events and experiences.
Marriott Bonvoy has been praised for its user-friendly app, seamless integration across multiple hotel brands, and personalized offers tailored to individual preferences.
According to a report by Statista, the number of Marriott Bonvoy members has been steadily increasing over the years, indicating the success of their loyalty program in attracting and retaining customers.
Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a powerful strategy for selling hotel rooms online. It involves optimizing your website and running paid advertisements to increase visibility on search engine result pages (SERPs).
By leveraging SEM, hotels can target potential customers actively searching for accommodation options, increasing the chances of converting them into bookings.
1. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
PPC advertising allows hotels to display targeted ads on search engine result pages. With platforms like Google Ads, you can bid on specific keywords related to your hotel and only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
This strategy helps drive targeted traffic to your website and increases the chances of generating bookings.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the process of optimizing your website to improve its visibility and ranking on search engine result pages organically. By optimizing your hotel’s website with relevant keywords, high-quality content, and a user-friendly interface, you can improve your chances of appearing higher in search results.
This, in turn, increases the visibility of your hotel and drives more organic traffic.
3. Local SEO
Local SEO is crucial for hotels as it targets potential customers searching for accommodation in specific locations. By optimizing your hotel’s website for local keywords, creating Google My Business listings, and getting positive reviews, you can increase your chances of appearing in local search results and attracting more bookings from nearby customers.
Remarketing is a powerful SEM strategy that allows hotels to target customers who have previously visited their website but did not make a booking. By displaying targeted ads to these potential customers across various websites and platforms, you can remind them of your hotel and entice them to come back and make a booking.
5. Mobile Optimization
In today’s digital age, it is essential for hotels to have mobile-optimized websites. With more and more people using their smartphones to search for accommodation options, having a mobile-friendly website is crucial for attracting and converting potential customers.
Make sure your website is responsive, loads quickly, and provides a seamless user experience on mobile devices.
6. Content Marketing
Content marketing plays a vital role in SEM for hotels. By creating high-quality, informative, and engaging content related to your hotel and the surrounding area, you can attract potential customers and establish your hotel as an authority in the industry.
This not only improves your website’s visibility but also helps build trust and credibility among potential customers.
7. Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)
While not directly under SEM, partnering with Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) can significantly boost your hotel’s visibility and bookings. OTAs like Booking.com and Expedia have a vast customer base and can help drive traffic to your hotel’s website.
Make sure to optimize your listings on these platforms to maximize visibility and conversions.
8. Social Media Advertising
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter offer powerful advertising options for hotels. By leveraging the targeting capabilities of these platforms, you can reach potential customers who match your target audience.
Create visually appealing ads, highlight your hotel’s unique offerings, and drive traffic to your website to increase bookings.
9. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is becoming increasingly popular in the hotel industry. Collaborating with influencers in the travel and hospitality niche can help increase your hotel’s visibility and attract a new audience.
Partner with influencers who align with your brand values and have a significant following to promote your hotel and drive bookings.
10. User-generated Content (UGC)
User-generated content, such as reviews, photos, and videos, can be a powerful tool for selling hotel rooms. Encourage your guests to share their experiences on social media and review platforms. This not only helps build trust among potential customers but also provides valuable content that can be used in your marketing efforts.
By leveraging the power of search engine marketing, hotels can effectively promote their offerings, increase online visibility, and drive bookings. Implement these strategies and channels to stay ahead of the competition and maximize your hotel’s revenue.
Social Media and SEM
Social media platforms have become a powerful tool for businesses to promote their products and services, and the hotel industry is no exception. By leveraging social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, hotels can reach a wide audience and generate interest in their rooms.
They can share stunning visuals of their accommodations, showcase amenities, and engage with potential customers through comments and direct messages. Social media platforms also allow hotels to target specific demographics and interests, ensuring that their marketing efforts are reaching the right audience.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Selling Hotel Rooms
Social media marketing offers several benefits for hotels looking to sell their rooms:
- Increased brand visibility: By maintaining an active presence on social media, hotels can increase their brand awareness and visibility among potential customers. This can lead to more bookings and repeat business.
- Direct communication with customers: Social media platforms enable hotels to directly interact with customers, addressing their queries, providing personalized recommendations, and building a rapport that can lead to conversions.
- User-generated content: Hotels can encourage guests to share their experiences on social media by creating unique hashtags or running contests. User-generated content acts as social proof and can influence others to book a room.
- Targeted advertising: Social media platforms offer advanced targeting options, allowing hotels to display their ads to users based on specific demographics, interests, and behaviors. This ensures that their ads are shown to the most relevant audience.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
In addition to social media marketing, hotels can also utilize search engine marketing (SEM) to sell their rooms. SEM involves running paid advertisements on search engine result pages (SERPs) to increase visibility and drive relevant traffic to a hotel’s website.
Platforms like Google Ads allow hotels to bid on specific keywords related to their business, ensuring that their ads are displayed to users actively searching for accommodations.
SEM offers several advantages for selling hotel rooms:
- Immediate visibility: With SEM, hotels can instantly appear at the top of search engine results, increasing their chances of attracting potential customers and securing bookings.
- Highly targeted advertising: SEM allows hotels to target specific keywords and demographics, ensuring that their ads are shown to users who are actively looking for accommodation in their area.
- Measurable results: SEM platforms provide detailed analytics, allowing hotels to track the performance of their ads, measure conversions, and optimize their campaigns for better results.
By leveraging the power of social media and SEM, hotels can effectively promote their rooms and reach a wider audience. These channels provide hotels with the means to engage with potential customers, showcase their offerings, and drive bookings.
It is essential for hotels to have a well-rounded digital marketing strategy that includes social media and SEM to stay competitive in the ever-evolving hospitality industry.
An effective accommodation sales strategy involves optimizing distribution across various booking channels, both online and offline, as part of an integrated approach. By leveraging the right mix of sales avenues, promotions, and partnerships, hotels can improve occupancy, revenue, and profitability from their available room inventory.