Special offers are a key way to increase direct bookings, while showing off the unique experience you provide above and beyond the competition.
NB: This is an article from Leonardo
The easiest offers are ones you can easily build as rates, that are a simple discount. Convincing travelers to book with a discounted rate will fill up rooms but it will lower your ADR rely on discounts can impact your ADR. A better strategy is to sell based on experiences.
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and stay up to date
Marketing consultant and bestselling author, Jay Baer provides the perfect explanation on why you need to do provide more than just discounts:
“The companies that succeed and break through the pile of social flotsam will be those that base their social efforts on humanization and storytelling, not on post-modern couponing and eyeball purchasing. The winners will focus on people, not logos.”
Simple “get 10% off” direct booking promos work, and may even be mandated by your brand. But unique offers create an authentic connection with travel shoppers. They help you sell on value, which means you can use them to increase ADR rather than have ADR take a hit in the name of bookings.
And after all that work to build a tantalizing offer, hotels need to properly market them. Bad website design or an unintuitive shopping experience will mean that your work has gone to waste.
4 Aspects Travel Shoppers Look For in Special Offers
1. Travel shoppers want to save money and you want to drive direct bookings. But increasingly, shoppers make purchases based on experiences even more than price. If you want to effectively compete with OTAs, then take a page from the Godfather and give them an offer they can’t refuse. Tie your offers into the reasons your target segments visit your area and stop competing on price alone.
2. Shoppers want to envision how this offer will enhance and enrich their overall experience at your property. Special offers that save shoppers money are obviously great, but to make your story stand out, design packages that target the individual and see how it does wonders in terms of customer loyalty. For example, Grand Park City Hall offers three different kinds of in-room dining to cater to different individual tastes:
3. If you have a loyal following, create an email subscription option on your website for loyal guests. Having annual or repeat offers is a great way to build up your email marketing rolodex and catch the spur of the moment, impulsive shoppers. Make sure to put the email subscription on the Offers section of your website, with the promise “sign up for the latest news about special promotions.” Shoppers want good value and will be willing to give their contact details in exchange for this intel.
4. Travelers want that authentic feeling that connects where they’re sleeping with their larger trip as well as the geographic location they’re visiting. If you are just that hotel that spits out “Get 10% off this weekend” deals, then that’s all you will ever be in the eyes of travel shoppers. However, if you provide an experience in the form of a comprehensive package, then this helps build loyalty points towards your hotel.
How to Create a Tremendous Offer
A lot of work goes into creating an impactful offer. Once you’ve created the rate and package, you also need the technology to properly market that offer to your desired guests. From planning to promotion, here’s how to create an offer that will drive direct bookings.
1. First off, you need offers that are compelling enough to stand out. The goal of your offer should be to help travelers imagine their stay with your hotel over any other. They need to be “special” enough to warrant extra consideration along the shopping journey.
For example, Holiday Inn Resort Aruba has a dedicated page just for group offers. This is an offer package that has a specific target audience in mind, but just one group booking like this can be more lucrative than many individual ones. They go the extra mile beyond just saying they’re a great destination for group trips on their site by providing a bookable offer that shows this to be true. Their special offer makes it easy to not just book accommodations, but plan a whole trip.
2. Use SEO and an optimized website design to your competitive advantage. There may be specific search terms relevant to your area and your markets that you should be targeting with a dedicated special offers page.
Having a special offers page and individual landing pages for each offer helps increase traffic to your website overall. Invest in a hotel website builder that allows you to easily create and manage these pages.
3. Your special offer should be easy to book on your website. You need a clear call-to-action with easy-to-follow directions makes the process simple for the shopper. If the offer is not particularly unique and the shopper has to call to book it, they’re moving onto the next hotel the moment they hit any roadblocks.
4. Create a sense of urgency with time-sensitive deadlines helps expedite the booking process.
5. A strong use of visuals combined with a vibrant color scheme can go a long way. Be creative and have some fun with the design. Pair your special offers with visuals that tell the story—such as the group rate above, or this anniversary offer. For this offer, Hotel Café Royal is showcasing their location, amenities, and their target audience all in one photo that draws the eye and sells the experience.
6. Place your offer where travelers can easily find it – on your website homepage, a dedicated landing page, and an identifiable tab at the top of your website. If they’re hard to find fewer travel shoppers will be able to find them and even fewer will actually book them.
We know how important offers are to direct bookings.