Hotels need to create packages and deals that target different customers based on their past buying history or website behavior.
1. Once you know your hotel guest, give them what they are looking for
We know that short-term hotel promotions, like a 3-day flash sale, drive a sense of urgency among consumers and can have a higher CTR and conversion for a limited amount of time. However, most promotional packages are longer-term campaigns and might not even include an offer at all. The ability to drive hotel bookings without killing your ADR is always a plus!!
With all of the granular targeting offered by Google and Facebook, there should never be the need to promote a ski package to someone looking for a beach getaway. As you create your hotel packages, make sure you also consider the specifics around who you will want to target the package too. You are no longer restricted to age, gender and income! If you build a hotel package that includes rooftop yoga, you can target avid travelers interested in yoga that live within 180-miles of the hotels.
Also, as we covered in part two of this hotel blog series, make sure you are remarketing specific hotel packages to website visitors based on their behavior. If you can see that a user visited multiple wedding pages on your hotel's website, you should either be remarketing to them with a wedding package or a romance package. If you are a brand with multiple hotel locations, you should build package landing pages that include more than one property such as a wine package page that includes all of your hotel properties near wineries, or a golf landing page for all of your properties with golf courses. Based on their website behavior you can target the golf or wine package to the correct visitor. But note, if you see they ONLY visited the restaurant page, you might be wasting advertising dollars by remarketing to them at all.
2. Hotel packages can both inspire guests and drive direct bookings as long as they are well thought out
Hotel packages can inspire guests to plan beyond the hotel room with you. They add value so that you don’t have to discount your hotel rates. If you know your guest is looking for breakfast to be included, price the room appropriately and package in breakfast. If romance is the goal, offer a package with champagne or wine in the hotel room. A ski resort package can inspire a family trip to the slopes and a hotel shopping package can inspire a girlfriend getaway.
I have seen a lot of success with local resident rates for hotels. If you know that the majority of your hotel's guests come from one particular state, you should put together an offer that incentivizes them to book direct with you. In the past I have had clients say things like "if we know all of our guests come from Arizona, why would we offer them a deal?" My response is that if you need to drive hotel bookings, why not give the best rate to the audience that is more likely to book than offer a deal to an audience that isn't? Also remember, an offer doesn't need to mean a discount. You want the user to feel special, and a resident rate lets them feel like they are getting something special for being a local. It could be something like breakfast included or a free upgrade. You can also hide the package page from other visitors to your hotel's website so that you are only promoting the offer to those based in that state so that you are not discouraging anyone that isn't.
3. Have add-ons available to book at your hotel in addition to packages
If a hotel guest did not book a package originally, it's okay. Most travelers don’t get down to the experiential details of their trip until 7-10 days in advance. Once the guest has booked their lodging and any major components, such as an all-inclusive meal plan, you want them to be able to check-out quickly. You can then offer additional add-ons to the guest through a pre-arrival drip email campaign that you can prioritize based on guest purchase history. A guest that is booked in your hotel's penthouse does not need to be offered a free breakfast, you'd want to make sure and promote a spa treatment instead.
The hardest thing for me to see is when a hotel has too many options before guests can book a room. For my clients, I recommend a friction-free booking experience by waiting to offer the majority of add-ons after they have booked the lodging. I was recently booking a hotel in the Caribbean and when I went to check-out I was offered ten different add-ons. There were so many options that I abandoned the booking so that I could wait and talk to others in my party. In the end, I did not book that specific hotel because I had to make too many decisions 8 months in advance.
4. Make booking a promotion at your hotel hassle-free
According to Facebook, "in today’s tech-driven world, consumers stick with brands that offer convenient purchasing processes. To win loyalty, provide a simple booking experience and make all steps of the travel journey friction-free."
I could not agree more! Too often I see hotels promote a package without easily providing all of the booking details. When promoting a package for your hotel, you should always be sending the guest to a landing page the includes all of the necessary details around the booking (stay dates, booking dates, inclusions, exclusions, blackout dates). I cringe every time I see an ad on Facebook for a package if I click to learn more and land directly into the booking engine. This leaves users with no idea where to go to learn more about the hotel's package!
At GCommerce, we recommend that each promotion has its own individual landing page so that the guest does not need to scroll around on the hotel's specials page to find the specific promo. We also get SEO benefits by providing more content.
5. Do not promote a package to someone that does not know your hotel
At GCommerce, we talk a lot about prospecting and remarketing, because as we discussed in part two of this series, the hotel customer journey is not a singular digital touchpoint. When prospecting ads to an audience that has not been to your website or stayed at your hotel, it is very important they are not hit with ads around a discounted rate or package. I've seen display ads that promote a romance package that does not include where the hotel is located. Make sure that you think through the full customer journey. Use prospecting ads to highlight your destination and amenities such as "The largest infinity pool in downtown LA" and then remarket to them with the package or discount once they have been to your hotel's website and are familiar with your brand. This requires a lot of strategy and planning, but will do wonders for your conversion when managed correctly!