Bookings are the ultimate goal of any hotel, and you can’t survive without a healthy hotel marketing strategy. However, sometimes marketing your hotel can feel like flinging ads into the abyss: who are you really talking to? Why should they be interested, and how can you make sure you get their attention?
One immediate fix for this sprang to our minds: targeted special offers.
Are targeted special offers the only way to get more direct bookings for your hotel, or a cure-all? Of course not! You need to pair these with a great product (your hotel), a multi-channel marketing strategy, healthy revenue management practices and an awesome staff.
However, target special offers are a proven way to give your occupancy a boost. They’re handy to have when you’re going into a low season or have a fantastic new feature (a renovated spa, perhaps) to show off. Also, any hotelier can use targeted special offers to get more customers through the door.
All you need to know is which guests you’re talking to, what they want, and then offer it to them. This takes a little work initially, but you can set up a quick process after that to create the right special offers at the drop of a hat.
Consider this your primer on creating successful, target special offers for your hotel that your guests will love to receive.
What Kind of Targeted Special Offers Can You Create?
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.
Which customers? For that, look at your customer personas. You should have 3 or 4 customer personas that tell you who your different types of ideal guests are, what their goals and needs are, and their preferred methods of communication. For example, do you have business travelers that prefer email? Or do you have more success with young groups who spend more time on Instagram? If you don’t know, here’s a guide to create your own customer personas.
If you’re stuck for ideas, here’s a list of packages we’ve seen perform highly in the past. Take a look and pick a few you think would suit your guests:
If your hotel is near good hiking, water activities or other adventurous activities (a wildlife park, 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 customers – or those that would like to be a little more relaxed and are looking to get away. Get in touch with local yoga studios and see if they’re doing sunrise/sunset classes on the beach, or hire 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.
Does your hotel do a lot of weddings? 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, reduce the cost per head 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.
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.
How Should You Format Your Special Offers?
- 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.
The Best Ways to Get the Word Out: Targeting
Here’s where we get into a bit more of the technical side. You have your customer personas, you know who you want to talk to, and you’ve crafted tailored special offers for each type of guest. Now, how do you get the word out to those guests?
In September 2014, a case study on market segmentation revealed that over 70% of hotels agreed that market segmentation positively influenced hotel revenue.
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.
In our guide, you’ve already done that, and now you need to segment your marketing.
Who are your ads targeting? Google AdWords, Bing Ads and every major social platform will all have guides and settings that let you get very specific about who you’re talking to. Do you want to show your wedding packages to engaged people? Facebook can do that. Are you more interested in people doing searches on business travel? Tell Google that.
The more targeted your special offers are, the better your return on investment will be.
Here’s one of our best guides on targeting.
- Past purchase behavior
- Family size
- Marital Status
Targeted 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.
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 special offers, you can give your direct bookings the boost you’re looking for.
What are the best results you’ve got from a special offer you’ve given to guests? Share it with us below.