Optimizing the distribution mix is important at all times for any hotel business wishing to operate in high revenue margins; but when a hotel is operating at near to maximum occupancy, an effective direct booking strategy becomes essential.
NB: This is an article from The Hotels Network
When guests are looking for last minute deals or for dates in high demand, personalization techniques can be used effectively throughout the booking funnel to encourage a direct booking. What’s more, personalized messages help ensure the best type of booking for the hotel and at the highest rate. Here we give a brief overview of the targeting options that could be used, followed by a condensed number of the best practices and examples taken from various hotel brands.
Using advanced targeting options to ensure optimal timing
Within the context of the last available room, it is key to show the right message to the right person at the right time. This can be easily achieved using a website peronsalization tool that allows you to configure timing, user and booking targeting rules. By doing so you are able to show users personalised messages at critical points in the booking process to create urgency, decrease the risk of bounce and increase and encourage engagement. Below you can see examples of targeting rules that can be particularly relevant when trying to see your last available room.
Urgency and Scarcity
Urgency and scarcity are key motivational impulses to convince visitors visitors to book direct. Using personalized messages in the form Smart Notes, you can nudge the user towards a booking by highlighting promotions or advising about high demand for selected dates. In the example bellow, the hotel informs users about Affordable Art Fair in Stockholm taking place 5 minutes away from the hotel from the 11th to the 14th of October. Anyone searching for these dates will see a Smart Note appear warning them about low availability at this time due to the fair.
Special offers to increase last minute sales
If your property is not at full occupancy personalization can be used effectively to boost last-minute bookings. Advanced targeting options allow the hotel to encourage last minute bookings by only displaying the offer to users who are searching for a room for this coming weekend. In this example bellow, for last minute bookings the hotel offers a 20€ voucher to be redeemed at their restaurant – the added incentive is there to help boost direct booking conversion rate without negatively impacting ADR.
Targeted offers to extend length of stay
It may sound odd to some E-commerce Managers, but a common mistake can be selling out too soon. The risk is you could be leaving money on the table because last-minute travelers are often willing to pay a higher rate. It is also important to think about shoulder nights. If you sell out Saturday night too early, you are not going to show up in searches by customers looking for a three night stay beginning on the Friday. In this example, the hotel wants to avoid selling out Saturday when they have almost no rooms left. They encourage users to book a longer stay by using a Layer to display a “4 nights for the price of 3” promotion.
Another option not shown in this example is if your property is fully booked, it is possible to introduce a customised layer offering a recommendation or transferral to a sister hotel or related business. This avoids the negativity incurred when a user is unable to book, and it further boosts income whilst steering clear of any extra expenses. This notification can be outlined in a layer as shown above, or in the form of smart notes that give across a legible and concise message.
Rooms all sold out? Promote your sister property
You’ve already sold your last available room? That’s great. But don’t miss the opportunity to cross-sell if your property is fully booked on the dates the visitor is searching for. Why not follow the example of hotel brand below who uses an Exit Intent? It is possible to display a message promoting one of your sister hotels who does have availability on the selected dates. This avoids the negativity incurred when a user is unable to book and, more importantly, can secure an otherwise “lost” booking whilst steering clear of any extra acquisition costs. This type of notification can also be communicated in the form of a Smart Note that gives across a simple and concise message.
Want to know more?
Website personalization is fast becoming the most beneficial tool in generating hotel direct bookings and it has reached this stage by its immediate impact on improving website user experience. When a user sees a message that has been tailored to their behavior patterns and their intentions it quickly creates a sense of appreciation and encouragement that may just convert a bounce to a booking conversion. Essentially if you are wishing to sell your last available rooms, these are a few steps that you could take to ensure success. Above are just a few of the many ways to increase room sales, download our best practice guide to learn more about some other useful digital marketing tools, and finally sell your last room !