Hotelier’s Guide to Creating Special Offers
Finding and booking the perfect hotel takes time. Beyond rate, hotel shoppers are looking at plenty of other factors, such as amenities, local activities, and nearby restaurants. Hoteliers can leverage these unique features by packaging them into special offers that will help travelers be sure that they’ve found the best deal.
Whether it’s a discounted room rate or a special partnership that gives guests an experiential activity outside the hotel, special offers can be a quick and easy way to convert lookers into bookers, while capturing more direct bookings on the hotel website.
1. Create special offers that meet business needs.
Are bookings down this summer compared to last year? Are suites not selling like it did last quarter? Are conversions down significantly month over month? Whatever the business need or challenge, a special offer can help potential guests get excited about staying at your hotel. Before getting too creative, first consider the business need, then work out what amenities the hotel is able to offer in order to make the special compelling.
Make sure to craft each special offer around a business goal. Establishing the goals and KPIs before the offer is live can help hoteliers to measure the effectiveness of special offers. If KPIs aren’t being met, it may be useful to considering tweaking aspects of the offer.
2. Leverage unique selling points of the hotel when creating a special offer.
Amenities like free Wi-Fi and continental breakfast have become commodities. While these features are useful and valuable, travelers now expect them to be included in the rate. For larger hotels with a greater number of amenities, whether it’s an acclaimed restaurant, an eclectic cocktail bar, or a rooftop pool, the most distinctive features of the hotel should be leveraged when crafting unique offers.
For smaller, boutique hotels, even the most commodified amenities can be sold to the right audience segment. Business travelers, for example, carefully consider internet connection and the ease of having a quick breakfast at the hotel when making their purchase decision. Whatever the hotel has to offer, think of the different buyer segments that will be influenced most by these amenities.
3. Give potential guests a few options, but not too many.
Travelers like having some choices, but too many or too few special offers can cause abandonment. Having three to five special offers live at a time gives hotel shoppers some variety to choose from, and is also manageable for the hotel to monitor how each special offer is performing. Going beyond five optimized offers is inadvisable—the more choices a user has to make, the more likely they are to drop off the site and book elsewhere.
4. Keep offers relevant throughout the year.
Update special offers throughout the year to encourage repeat visitors to your website. Leveraging seasonality is an easy way to rethink how you approach your amenities. For example, during summer, the hotel could offer a welcome cocktail and a spa credit. Imagery promoting the offer could include sunny destination photography or the beach, if applicable. In the winter, the same offer could be updated, swapping out the welcome cocktail for hot chocolate, plus a Lyft credit to help guests stay out of the cold, with new imagery to sell a winter vacation.
Also, important to note is the ‘book by’ date. Even if an offer is evergreen, it’s inadvisable to have an offer that can be booked at any time. Employing a sense of urgency with scarcity messaging is key to increasing conversion during the booking phase, at which point users are most ready to book a special offer. When updating evergreen offers from season to season, don’t forget to also update the ‘book by’ date.
Without significantly overhauling the offer, small changes can keep specials relevant throughout the year and interesting to both new and repeat guests.
5. Promote your special offers.
With content management platforms like HEBS Digital’s smartCMS®, updating existing or adding new special offers to the hotel website and merchandising with a promo tile is quick and easy. After the special is live on the hotel website, don’t forget it to promote it to as wide an audience as possible. Monthly email promos can send the offer directly to the inbox of loyal customers, while both organic social media posts and a paid social media advertising plan can drive targeted, highly-qualified traffic.