Losing Out on Reservations – This Could Be Your Problem
You already know that a clean, efficient hotel, operated with a dedication to customer service is key to your success.
You’ve hired the right team, you’ve trained them well, and you’ve created a hotel environment that’s welcoming to your overnight guests. But, where are they?
Increasing, or even just getting, hotel reservations is more than providing a comfortable place to stay. It’s about ongoing sales strategies to boost your reservations.
So, if you are losing out on reservations, we have put together a list of things that could be your problem.
Problem: A Lackluster Website
For many lodging properties, a website refresh is just what it takes to increase your bookings.
Take a good long, non-biased look at your website. It should be a well-optimized, fast-loading powerhouse. If it isn’t, this is likely a problem for you when it comes to enticing bookings.
Here are a few things that when done well set your website apart from your competition:
- Your website should be very quick. Speed is important not only to potential customers but also to Google. The search engine values fast websites over slow ones, so you want to make optimizing your speed your number one priority. You don’t want to be caught ranking below the fold or even on page two of search engine results pages. Because potential guests leave slow websites without booking, you should increase your conversion rate by speeding up your site.
- Your website should be very user-friendly. Concentrate on the overall user experience. Is the information your customers are looking for easy to find? Have friends and family look over your site. Can they get around easily? Is your navigation intuitive? If not, fix it straight away.
- Your website should be optimized for search engines. If it’s not, they won’t list you first, and your visitors won’t find you. If they can’t find you, they can’t book with you.
- Your website should be beautiful. Your potential guests are booking your hotel based on the photographs you provide. Invest in a professional photographer to create inviting photos and even videos showcasing your property.
- Your website should also showcase any reviews you’ve already gotten from places like Google, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Expedia. Highlight them so your potential customers can see the social proof.
- Your website should be mobile-friendly. This means it resolves well on any size device. If your website hasn’t been revamped in the last five or so years, the time is now.
By solving the problems of your website, you will increase your bookings.
Problem: No Reservation Engine
Another great way to avoid losing out on reservations is by installing a booking engine on your website.
This allows your website visitors to view the availability of your rooms in real time and even pick out specific rooms.
You’ll find that this is one of the easiest ways to increase your reservations.
Your potential customers are looking at lodging for their next vacation or business trip at all hours of the day and night. By providing them easy access to a booking system right on your website, you will increase your reservations.
Problem: You Aren’t Networking
Another reason you might be losing out on reservations is that you aren’t working with community event planners.
At the start of a new year, identify small, mid-size, and large events happening in your area. You want to create a calendar of all events happening in your community where people might need lodging.
Think conferences, sporting events, concerts, food fests, large church gatherings, graduation events, and more.
Once you know what there are, you can create promotions around each event to increase your reservations. This helps you target a specific audience as well.
Don’t forget to network with the event planners. You might be able to get them to list your property on their advertising collateral, both in print and online.
This is a cross promotional strategy that can certainly keep you from losing out on bookings.
Problem: No One to Talk To
We don’t mean a person here. We’re talking about chatbots.
Many people today don’t want to pick up the phone to make a phone call. They are too busy and want to take care of the reservation themselves.
This is where the website chatbot comes in.
You solve many website visitors’ problems by putting a bot on your website. Your potential guests can ask them a question and get the answer instantly.
Once their question is answered they can then be prompted to book a room. By getting their answer so quickly, they are more likely to go on with the reservation.
Problem: Not Using Facebook
Many booking engines will integrate right into your Facebook page.
As one of the most trafficked social media platforms, you can market your hotel right on Facebook. It’s a great way to grab your customers right where they are and let them book without ever leaving Facebook.
This keeps you from losing reservations because you are again providing your potential guests with immediate gratification.
Problem: No Loyalty Program
The major players in the hotel industry all have loyalty program to encourage repeat reservations.
If you are a smaller hotel or bed and breakfast, consider following suit and create your own loyalty program.
The best part about a loyalty program is you can create it however you’d like. Consider asking your customers what they’d like to see. Does a loyalty program mean discounts, free rooms, a dinner out, or something else?
By finding out what your guests would like to see, you can then provide it to them to increase your reservations.
Loyalty programs are a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. Not only do they encourage repeat visits, but they create brand ambassadors as well. (tweet this)
Take these tips and incorporate them into your overall marketing strategy so you can stop losing out on reservations.
Finally, don’t forget to look at your overall booking abandonment rates. Use your Google Analytics to find out where people drop out of your system.
This can help you modify things to turn your reservations around. Most often, people abandon because your price is too high, your website is slow, they have a technical issue, or it takes too long to book a room.
Once you know the issue, you can fix it and increase your bookings.
We are your hotel’s digital advertising specialists. Whether it’s a new website, search engine marketing, social media marketing or website design, we are here to help. Contact us today to start a conversation about your hotel’s digital advertising needs.
Images: Franck V. and Alexander Huang on Unsplash
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