Running a successful hotel, when you hit the bottom line, comes back to one thing: driving profitable bookings.

Will that new carpet look good in pictures? Does your staff respond quickly enough to guest requests? Are the restaurant’s offerings up to Yelp’s standards? Every issue in a hotel comes back to how the guest feels about it. The same thing is true when it comes to getting them to book.

When a guest books your hotel, why do they do it? It’s often a complicated process involving everything from how easy it is for them to use your website, to reviews they read, your gallery, and how your offers stack up against the competition.

Today, we’re looking at a deceptively simple question: how do you not only maintain, but grow direct bookings to raise your hotel’s occupancy rate and, ultimately, revenue?

Two immediate answers sprang to our minds: targeted marketing and special offers. Are they the only way to get more hotel bookings? Of course not! They’re one part of an integrated strategy. However, they are proven strategies that any hotelier can use to get more customers through the door.

Consider this your primer on special offers and targeted marketing for your hotel.

Special Offers Spice Things Up

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Repeating the same offers, or failing to specialize for holidays and seasons, can make your hotel marketing stale. Switch things up a little. Create new offers and packages regularly to attract more customers.

If you’re stuck for ideas, here’s a list of packages we’ve seen perform highly in the past:

Adventure packages

If your hotel is near good hiking, water activities or other adventurous activities (think: skydiving, kayaking, even fishing), working with companies that provide these activities might be a great way to attract adventurous guests. Make a captivating list of adventurous activities that guests could do during their stay. Do your homework and make sure the activities are great. Then, combine those activities into a package and give it an attractive name:

  • The Pirate Package, for boating activities
  • The Daredevil’s Package
  • The Thrillseeker’s Paradise Package

This will help grab the attention of more adventurous guests.

There can be logistical difficulties coordinating with local companies, so an alternative to making this a special offer could be publishing content about these local adventures on your hotel’s blog, social networks or the ‘Activities’ section of your website. Don’t be afraid to get creative – highlighting all the great activities near your hotel can be a serious boost to bookings.

Spa and Yoga Packages

This will be great for your laid-back, “chilled” customers – or those that would like to be a little more relaxed. Get in touch with local yoga studios and see if they’re doing sunrise/sunset classes on the beach, or get local teachers to visit your hotel and teach a class in your spa.

In your offer, you might discuss how stress has a negative impact on people’s lives – don’t be afraid to throw in some light research and facts. Then, close by talking about how relaxation and meditation are health boosters and introduce your package.

This offer, paired with a discount at your spa or a buy-one-treatment-get-one-free offer, will speak to the stressed out mothers and busy professionals looking to get away for a weekend.

Wedding Packages

Partner up with wedding planners and event organizers and offer them discounts and deals at your hotel. Consider offering  a free glass of champagne on arrival for the bride, groom and family, or a discounted spa treatment for the bridal party. If you’re encouraging weddings that involve overnight guests, offer a discounted room rate if a wedding is hosting more than a certain number of people for the night.

Wedding packages are one of the best ways to set your hotel apart from competing wedding venues. You have the opportunity to present your hotel as a warm, welcoming environment, with the little perks that make any bride and groom feel like you value their happy day as much as they do.

Create Events 

Host local contests and events to give you more exposure. There’s a ton of options for you to choose from – and it doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive. It could be something as simple as a pub quiz, or a bird-watching walk.

You can also host fun fitness contests for kids (hula hooping, anyone?), social media contests, or introductory classes.  Look at what’s available around you and what appeals to your visitors the most. Then take things from there.

Create Compelling Calls to Action

If you want to squeeze the maximum return on investment out of the packages, offers, emails and landing pages that you’ve worked hard to create (or paid money for), you need to have an effective call to action that people want to click. To craft an effective CTA:
  • Tell your potential guest exactly what to do. Should he book now, click to learn more, or plan a trip? Don’t be shy. Tell him what needs to be done.
  • Urgency is an extremely powerful psychological trigger. Use trigger words like, “limited time offer”, “act now” and “book now” to create a sense of urgency.
  • Keep it simple. It doesn’t need to be cute or clever.
  • Too many options can damage conversions. Stick to one call to action per page.
Here’s a great example from Jetsetter: It does most of the steps above and is simple and benefit driven.
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Take Advantage of Segmented Marketing

In September 2014, a case study on market segmentation revealed that over 70% of hotels agreed that market segmentation positively influenced hotel revenue.

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What Exactly is Market Segmentation? 

According to the segmentation study guide: “Market segmentation is the first step in defining and selecting a target market to pursue. Basically, market segmentation is the process of splitting an overall market into two or more groups of consumers. Each group (or market segment) should be similar in terms of certain characteristics or product needs.”

Essentially, you’re dividing your potential guests from “all travelers” into “travelers who might want to stay at my hotel.” After that, you’re finding out exactly who your ideal guest is, and how best to talk to them.

Here’s one of our best guides on segmentation.

Segmenting your marketing can have a huge impact on your revenue. Just ask online retailer Totes Isotoner. They noticed when shoppers visited their site, they visited one category more than others. So they reached out to those shoppers with a targeted email marketing pitch about their most-viewed category. The results? Their revenue skyrocketed by a shocking 7000% (nope, that’s not a typo).
When hotel Jamaica Inn increased their revenue by 52%, segmented marketing played a huge role in their success. “In designing and writing each email, the team used copy tailored to the three distinct audiences — past guests, travel agents and new prospects.”
Make an effort to avoid generic hotel marketing. Instead, focus on a specific, segmented approach. You can segment your marketing by:
  • Past purchase behavior
  • Gender
  • Family size
  • Occupation
  • Income
  • Marital Status

Segmented marketing means that you’re sending offers and messages that are more relevant to your potential guests. This increases your conversion rates for more bookings.

Conclusion

To sum up, landing more bookings doesn’t have to be a nightmare. It just takes a little marketing know-how and some understanding of your guests. By using targeted marketing and special offers you can ramp up your bookings too! What are the best results you’ve got from a special offer you’ve given to guests? Share it with us below.