January is right around the corner and although hoteliers are preoccupied with making the most out of the Christmas season, January is also a revenue opportunity not to be missed! It’s often a peak booking month, responsible for bringing in nearly 40% of the entire revenue for the quarter according to our client data for 2017.

Statistically, there is a swing in attitudes among consumers towards the end of December each year — research into the following year’s holiday options surges from its lowest point to its highest.

Many people will try and take advantage of the January Sales when booking holidays and like to cheer up an otherwise dull month, with a holiday to look forward to later in the year. It’s important that not only is your hotel front of mind when they’re ready to book, but also, that they find what they want when they land on your site.

Read on for my 10 key pieces of advice for how to ring in the new year, with lots more bookings and make a successful start to 2018:

Audit Your Website

  1. January is the perfect time to do an audit of your site and check everything is up-to-date for the coming year. This includes images, and Action bar’s (if you have one), make sure to use it to promote your January sale.

Update Your Booking Engine

  1. Refine your rate plans (less is very often more!). Too much choice can confuse customers. Review rate plans and special offer descriptions on the front end of the booking engine. Ask someone external to the hotel to read them and ensure you are avoiding confusing industry jargon in your package names.
  2. Reduce friction on your site caused by unnecessary clicks, by adding a default number of occupants for your room types. Keeping friction throughout the booking process to a minimum means users will get to the payment stage more quickly and will be more likely to convert.
  3. Take time in December to put together a January sale promotion that has an attractive rate and plenty of availability. Families often book their Summer holiday in the ‘January sale’ period, so ensure your availability and offers are ready and cater to a few target customers.

Jazz Up Your Marketing Efforts

  1. Get your marketing up to scratch for 2018 by checking your AdWords – add your January sale to a sitelink and consider remarketing. Explore other Marketing opportunities such as Google Hotel Ads (HPA) which allows your hotel to be advertised in what appears to be organic search results on Google.com and Google Maps.
  2. Have a January Sale ezine ready before Christmas so you can send it in the first week of January. Get your content created for your sale so you can link to it on your website when the ezine is set to go out.
  3. Compliment your ezine with some social marketing, Facebook ads are effective at remarketing and reaching lookalike audiences. Meaning your ad will be in the hands of those most likely to convert.

Strengthen Your ‘Book Direct’ Strategy

  1. Make sure your book direct strategy is strong for January and for 2018 as a whole! Ensure your brand dot com site has a consistently lower rate compared to OTA sites.
  2. Remember to include book direct messages such as ‘Free Cancellation’ and ‘No Booking Deposit’ in the rate plan description to attract those who wish to book a holiday but can’t afford to pay upfront right after Christmas.
  3. January is also a peak booking month for OTAs so the best way to move these bookings towards your hotel site is to give the customer an incentive to book on the hotel site – the best rate!

Conclusion

Don’t miss out on a big opportunity to pick up revenue at the beginning of 2018, and set your hotel off for a successful year ahead! Let us know how your January Sale goes, at Net Affinity, we’ll be watching closely to spot new trends for 2018.