Hotel marketing, revenue management, and software and technology solutions all play a valuable role in the successful management of modern hotels, so it is worth taking the time to optimize your approach. In this article, you find essential Hotel marketing, revenue management and software and technology tips for successful modern hotel management.
Hotel Marketing – Attract More Guests
Top 10 Essential Hotel Marketing Tips
Revenue Management – Increase Revenue
Top 10 Essential Revenue Management Tips
Hotel Software & Technology – Streamline Your Processes
Top 10 Essential Software & Tech Solutions for Hotels
Hotel Marketing – Attract More Guests
In the following section, you will find out more about hotel marketing, what it is and why it is so essential for attracting new guests and optimising your overall business performance. In addition, you will also find 10 important hotel marketing tips, which will assist you with your marketing strategy and stay up-to-date with the latest trends.
What is Hotel Marketing?
Hotel marketing is a fairly broad term, which describes all of the different marketing techniques and tactics used by hotels to promote the business, attract room bookings, boost overall brand recognition, and attract customers from other businesses. In many ways, hotel marketing is focused on presenting a hotel in the best possible light.
As an umbrella term, it includes both online and offline marketing methods. The best marketing strategies will span multiple channels to reach as many people as possible at the various points in the customer journey.
Why is Hotel Marketing Important?
Hotel marketing is vital for several reasons, but one of the most significant is that it allows hotels to highlight precisely what they have to offer customers and make themselves distinct from rival hotels and other forms of accommodation that may be competing for the same types of guests.
A good hotel marketing strategy can be the difference between success and failure in a highly competitive industry. When your hotel has the right marketing mix and the right marketing content, you maximise your chances of reaching the right audience, generating sales, enhancing your reputation and boosting business outcomes.
Top 10 Essential Hotel Marketing Tips
In this section, you will find 10 tips that can assist you with your hotel marketing strategy.
The Need for Hygiene is Here to Stay
Ideas around hygiene and cleanliness have always been important within the hotel industry. Still, this importance grew to new levels as the coronavirus pandemic emerged, with customers needing to know that the hotels they stayed in were taking the issue seriously and taking the necessary measures to keep their properties as clean and safe as possible.
However, while some may have viewed this as a short-term priority, in reality, the need for hygiene is here to stay. The pandemic made customers more aware of the importance of cleanliness, and those expectations are not going to disappear. It is, therefore, vital that the right steps are taken and that this is communicated through marketing efforts.
The No.1 Distribution Channel; Your Website
Many marketing efforts are designed to generate bookings for hotel rooms or services, and maximising bookings requires you to use multiple channels. Nonetheless, it is crucial that you do not neglect the most important distribution channel of all: your own hotel website, where bookings can be generated without paying a commission.
Of course, to make the most of your website, important steps need to be taken. For instance, SEO efforts can help customers to find your website through search engines. But, at the same time, you need to make intelligent use of web design to ensure visitors can use the website to make their bookings without hitting unnecessary roadblocks.
Big Data; Get to Know Your Guests by Analysing Data
Modern businesses deal with vast amounts of data, much of which is related to customers. The rise of big data provides both challenges and opportunities for hotels. Still, when the information is collected intelligently, appropriately stored, analysed and then utilised to inform strategies, it can be extremely valuable.
More specifically, big data can be essential for an effective revenue management strategy, allowing you to optimise pricing and availability, while making evidence-based forecasts about levels of demand. Beyond this, data can improve the customer experience, resulting in a more personalised, targeted experience.
Increase Direct Traffic to Your Hotel Website With SEO
As previously stated, attracting direct traffic to your website should be one of the primary goals of your marketing strategy and search engine optimisation can help with this. By carrying out keyword research, embracing mobile optimisation and creating fresh new content regularly, you can attract visitors and keep them coming back.
The basic goal behind SEO is to increase visibility on search engine results pages, so people who use sites like Google and Bing become more likely to see your website among their hotel-related search results. This is vital for maximising website traffic, because it provides you with visitors who may otherwise be unaware of your hotel.
Make Sure Your Hotel Benefits From Voice Search
When it comes to optimising search engine results in the modern age, it is no longer enough to focus on conventional text-based searches alone. Instead, hotels also need to make sure they benefit as much as possible from voice search technology and the use of virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant and Cortana.
To get the most from voice search activity, you need to make sure your SEO efforts focus on local search intent. This may mean using location-specific words within your content, making sure your address is listed on your website and your Google My Business account, and adapting keywords to focus on phrases people might say out loud.
Optimise Upselling Strategies With Personalisation
Upselling can be described as the process of encouraging customers to purchase more expensive products or services, such as room upgrades. This is typically achieved through special offers and other marketing messages, and the aim of upselling is to make customers aware of the best options, while maximising the revenue earned from them.
To optimise an upselling strategy, however, it is important to make sure these marketing messages are personalised. The best way to do this is to focus on what you know about potential customers and then upsell the right products, based on that information. For example, it may be relatively easy to upsell a king-sized bed to a couple around Valentine’s Day, while leisure travellers could be tempted to pay extra for a room with a great view.
It is best to focus upselling efforts on those customers who could most clearly benefit from an upgrade, based on the data you have. Customers who feel like the offering is relevant to them are more likely to convert, and this then means a better experience for them, increased revenue for the hotel, and better overall financial results.
Online Travel Agencies to Attract Leisure Guests
When it comes to attracting leisure guests to your hotel, it is important to reach out beyond your own website to find customers who are not currently aware of your hotel. One of the best ways to do this is through online travel agencies, who can connect customers to your hotel – usually in exchange for taking a commission fee.
This can be especially important for hotels that need to fill vacancies, because selling the room and paying the commission fee is far from having empty rooms. For customers, OTAs serve as a kind of ‘one-stop shop’ for hotel finding, presenting them with the various options in a single place, allowing for quick and easy comparisons.
Online Travel Agencies to Attract Business Guests
In addition to attracting leisure guests, many hotels emphasise attracting business guests, and their marketing efforts need to reflect this. It is also becoming increasingly common for businesses to outsource responsibility for business travel to a dedicated corporate travel agency, saving time, effort and money in the process.
Therefore, to benefit from this trend, hotels also need to make themselves available to these corporate travel agencies. In most cases, such travel agencies will use a global distribution system actually to make their bookings, so it can be crucial to connect to at least one of these, such as Sabre, Amadeus and Travelport.
Manage Your Hotel’s Online Reputation
Online reputation management is another increasingly important area for marketers to prioritise, especially with the rise of review platforms. Many potential hotel guests are influenced by online reviews and will actively seek them out before booking, so you need to make sure they see positive comments.
Reputation management can take many forms, but you need to focus on customer satisfaction at the very heart of your strategy. Once you have satisfied customers, you can encourage them to leave reviews on key online platforms. Furthermore, you can take the time to respond to any complaints or negative comments to limit the damage.
Embrace the Power of Virtual Reality
Virtual reality (VR) technology represents an exciting opportunity for businesses throughout the travel industry, including hotels, because it allows customers to experience digital recreations of real-life environments. This can be invaluable when it comes to showcasing a hotel and convincing them to make a booking.
A growing number of hotels are offering virtual reality tours on their websites, allowing customers to experience different areas of their hotel, all from the comfort of their own home. Taking this further, it is also possible to offer VR tours of nearby attractions or tourist sites, so that people can get a sense of what to expect on their trip.
More Hotel Marketing Tips & Trends
Hotel marketing is a broad field encompassing everything from social media marketing and search engine optimisation to partnering with online travel agencies, optimising your website, and making intelligent use of data. It is also a field that is constantly evolving, so you need to keep your finger on the pulse.
Revenue Management – Increase Revenue
The following section is centred around the concept of revenue management, allowing you to understand better what it means, how it can be used in the hotel industry, and why it is so valuable. Beyond this, you will also have access to 10 revenue management tips, so that you can improve the financial results of your hotel.
What is Revenue Management?
Revenue management is a technique that utilises customer and performance data, along with analytics, to anticipate demand, predict customer behaviour, and then optimise availability, pricing and distribution. All of this is done to generate the best possible financial results.
The concept originated within airlines, but has since been introduced to hotels and other areas of the travel industry. When revenue management is applied to hotels, it can be seen as the practice of attempting to sell the right room, to the right customer, for the right price, at the right moment, via the right channel, with the optimal cost efficiency.
Why is Revenue Management Important?
The hotel industry is highly competitive, and hotels only have a certain number of rooms to sell. At the same time, however, hotel rooms are an example of something that can be sold for a completely different price, depending on circumstances such as the level of demand, the time of the year, the type of customer and local factors.
Revenue management allows hotels to use data to make informed predictions about demand and other aspects of customer behaviour to optimise pricing and distribution. This is ultimately all about making the most money possible from the hotel rooms available, based on the specific circumstances of the time.
Top 10 Essential Revenue Management Tips
Here, you can read through 10 top tips to assist you with your hotel revenue management efforts.
Total Revenue Management is on the Rise
Total revenue management is a specific form of revenue management, which has been designed to maximise the overall profitability of a hotel, rather than focusing predominantly on room sales. To achieve this, the core revenue management techniques and principles are applied to all of the relevant revenue sources within the hotel.
Depending on the hotel, this may mean food, drinks, leisure activities, business services and more. As with conventional hotel revenue management, total revenue management relies on data and analytics to predict customer behaviour and make projections about demand levels. From there, pricing and availability can also be optimised.
Learn How to Accurately Forecast Future Demand
A major part of any good hotel revenue management strategy is forecasting future demand for rooms and other hotel services. This can help you overcome some of the natural uncertainty associated with hotel management while also allowing you to make more timely decisions in pricing and distribution.
Good forecasts will typically be based on past data, wider industry trends, existing bookings, other data currently in the books, local events and activities, global political developments, and more. Once you can forecast demand levels, you can anticipate any dips and plan to maximise revenue during peak times.
Use the Right Metrics to Measure Your Hotel’s Performance
Performance metrics are another crucial area linked to revenue management, but you must select the right metrics. These key performance indicators need to be relevant to your efforts to improve financial results through forecasting, price optimisation and so on, so they need to be selected with this in mind.
Some of the most common key performance indicators that can be useful for hotels adopting a revenue management strategy include the occupancy rate, revenue per available room (RevPAR) and average revenue per account (ARPA). However, there are various additional metrics that you should monitor and use to inform your pricing strategy too.
Adopt the Right Pricing Strategies for the Right Moment
Optimising pricing has to be a fundamental part of your revenue management approach, and achieving this requires a knowledge of the different pricing strategies available. In addition to understanding what these different strategies are, you also need to know how they should be used and the most appropriate time to use them.
There may be times, for instance, where it is advantageous to raise prices, such as when demand is high, as this will allow you to maximise revenue per room. However, at times of lower demand, you might wish to offer discount pricing to attract as many bookings as possible and avoid unnecessary room vacancies.
Work Closely With Other Departments
With hotel revenue management being so reliant on data, and with different areas of the hotel generating revenue in the first place, it is essential that departments all work together. This also means that the individual strategies being pursued by each department need to align with one another, so that everyone is pulling in the same direction.
To provide an example, the sales and marketing teams can help make life significantly easier for one another by being in close contact and sharing relevant data. Collaboration can also be essential for providing customers with a consistent experience and ensuring no contradictions in messaging.
The best way to achieve this kind of close collaboration is to make sure all of the key decision-makers for each department are aware of the revenue management strategy and understand why it is essential for your hotel.
Provide Incentives For Direct Bookings
A good revenue management strategy gives careful consideration to the different distribution channels. Nevertheless, all other things being equal, the best way to maximise revenue is to attract direct bookings. After all, with these bookings, there is no need to pay commission fees or subscription costs, meaning you keep more of the money.
With that being said, it is also essential to recognise the various reasons why so many customers turn to third-party platforms, with convenience often being at the very top of the list. For this reason, if you are going to convince them to book with you directly instead, you may need to think about the incentives you can offer them to do so.
The precise incentives on offer will vary from one hotel to another, based on various factors. Still, some popular options include running a customer loyalty scheme that only applies to direct bookings, throwing in free extras for people who book directly, or entering those people into contests or prize draws.
Offer Value and Flexible Cancellations
The hotel industry is highly competitive, and pricing often forms a significant part of how this competition plays out. However, if you aim to maximise revenue and optimise financial results, there is a limit to how much you can compete in this area. One way around this is to compete based on value, rather than pricing.
Customers are generally quite happy to spend a little bit more if they get extra value for that money. However, you can get away with charging more than a rival hotel if you can offer better rooms, a better level of customer service, greater personalisation, or other elements that ensure your guests are getting what they paid for.
Another way you can potentially charge more than your rivals, without putting customers off, is by offering flexible cancellations. In many cases, customers will be happy to pay extra for greater peace of mind.
Educate Yourself and Your Team with Top RM Courses
Revenue management can be a complex area to fully understand. One of the ways you can potentially improve results is by investing sufficient time, effort, and money into educating yourself and the rest of your team. The best way to do this is to enrol in a hotel revenue management course from a reputable academic institution.
A good hotel revenue management course will introduce revenue management and the associated concepts, and explain how they can be utilised within the hotel industry. In addition, they will cover various other areas, such as pricing strategies, distribution channel management, and the role that data analytics plays.
In-House vs. Outsourced Revenue Management
One of the major decisions hotels need to make about revenue management is whether to handle it in-house, or outsource responsibility to an external revenue manager, or revenue management company. With the in-house option, it will be necessary to hire a revenue manager and invest in the tools they need to do their job. They may also need to be offered employee benefits, such as sick pay, holiday pay, and health insurance.
The option to outsource revenue management, on the other hand, means hotels only pay for the services they use, when they use them. There is no need to hire full-time staff, hotels do not need to offer employee benefits to third party revenue managers, and there is no need to invest in equipment, technology or training.
Automate Your Revenue Management Processes
Finally, one of the significant benefits of modern technology is automating many processes while achieving accurate and swift results. This can be especially advantageous for revenue management, because large amounts of data may need to be analysed or utilised, and forecasts need to be as accurate as possible.
A sound revenue management system (RMS) will be able to handle data from your hotel, as well as broader industry data, to make accurate calculations automatically and continuously, so you always have up-to-date information to work with. These software solutions also provide a central access point for various tasks too.
More Revenue Management Tips & Trends
Hotel revenue management is a complex area that relies on data and analytics to forecast future demand and customer behaviour. It is also a discipline that requires specific understanding and can be significantly aided by using revenue management systems and other modern technology.
Hotel Software & Technology – Streamline Your Processes
To guarantee success in the modern hotel industry, hotel owners need to prioritise the streamlining of processes. To achieve this, investment in a combination of software and other technology will be required.
In this section, you can explore hotel software and technology in more detail and find some helpful tips along the way.
What is Hotel Software?
Hotel software, also known as hotel management software, is the name given to all software solutions designed to assist with managing a hotel or similar business. This definition includes revenue management systems, property management systems, rate shopper software packages, channel managers, and more.
Most of these packages are designed to make standard hotel management processes easier, faster, or both. Generally, hotel software allows tasks that were once carried out manually to be achieved digitally, with some degree of automation. Some hotel software is also intended to help hotels with their efforts to enhance the customer experience.
What is Hotel Technology?
Hotel technology is the term used to describe various technology solutions that are used within the hotel industry. In truth, there are many different examples of hotel technology, serving a variety of other purposes. Hotel chatbots, for example, assist with customer service, while mobile check-in solutions speed up arrivals.
Contactless payment systems can help to speed up payments and reduce friction, while virtual assistants allow guests to ask questions and control aspects of their room from a single location. Some hotels are even using robots to carry out tasks at the more advanced end of the spectrum, ranging from cleaning to concierge services.
Why is Hotel Software & Technology Important?
Hotel software and technology solutions have a crucial role in assisting hotels and their employees with essential tasks. For example, computers may carry out some actions more quickly and more accurately than a human. At the same time, technology can help improve the customer experience by reducing delays and
Both software and technology can play a role in automation, allowing various tasks to be performed without human intervention. For hotel owners, there are many benefits associated with this, including the ability to reduce the number of staff needed at any one time and eradicate issues linked to human error.
Top 10 Essential Software & Tech Solutions for Hotels
In this section, you can find out more about some of the essential software and technology solutions for hotels and gain some valuable tips on making effective use of them in your property.
Use a Good Revenue Management System
A revenue management system (RMS) is a software package specifically focused on assisting users with revenue management-related tasks and processes. These applications can process and interpret relevant data, automate calculations and forecasting, and help you in making more informed decisions.
One of the primary uses of a revenue management system is to analyse hotel data, historical data, and more comprehensive market data to identify trends. From there, a good RMS will anticipate increases or drops in demand and help you calculate the ideal room rate at any given time, to optimise financial results.
Choose the Right Property Management System
A property management system (PMS) is a software application that is designed to allow those in the hotel industry to carry out a range of everyday tasks from a single place. A typical PMS will function as an all-in-one solution, covering various areas, including sales, operations and planning.
The specific features of these software packages can vary quite significantly, but it is common for users to track key performance indicators, manage room reservations and access financial information. In addition, some of the more repetitive or mundane administrative tasks can also often be automated, saving time, effort and money.
Embrace Reputation and Review Management Software
Many hotel guests now take the time to explore the reputation of a hotel before making a booking. Typically, this will mean checking review platforms and social networking sites to find feedback from previous customers. A negative reputation can, therefore, dissuade potential customers, costing you money.
This makes reputation and review management essential, and fortunately, hotel reputation management software solutions exist, making this process easier. Generally, these packages will allow you to manage various online platforms from one place, allowing you to keep up-to-date with customer feedback and respond to it swiftly.
Upselling Software on the Rise
A major trend within the field of marketing has been the rise of upselling software. These solutions are designed to assist hotels and other businesses by creating targeted offers, which are tailored to the individuals receiving them. This level of individual targeting then makes upselling attempts much more likely to be successful.
The best upselling software solutions will offer integration with a variety of global distribution systems, property management systems and channel managers, allowing these tools to be used in combination. As a result, the software can access important data that can help to inform the upselling efforts.
From there, the software can understand your current customers, and send marketing emails and other communications at the right moment, in order to maximise the chances of conversion. This combination of automation and personalisation can greatly enhance the user experience for customers, while saving hotels time, effort and money.
Deploy a Hotel Chatbot for Customer Service
When it comes to delivering exceptional customer service, one of the biggest challenges for hotels is providing customers with rapid responses to questions, complaints and other comments, especially across social media platforms. Unfortunately, this is an area where customers expect quick answers on a 24/7 basis, which presents a real problem.
However, the emergence of hotel chatbots has helped change this, with the chatbots providing almost instantaneous customer responses. When questions or reasons for contact are relatively simple, the chatbot can tackle the entire interaction from start to finish. In contrast, in more complex cases, the chatbot can obtain key information. This information can then be accessed by a human customer service rep, who can take over when they have time.
Capitalise on Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence, or AI, refers to the ability of computers or machines to perform seemingly intelligent actions that were traditionally thought to require human capabilities. Although the concept itself is nothing new, it is only in recent times that reliability has reached the necessary level to be truly useful in hotels.
There are several possible functions for AI in the hotel industry today, from assistance with data analysis, to assist with customer service functions. A key benefit of utilising AI is the ability for intelligent actions to be performed on a 24/7 basis, even when no human staff member is available to do the work.
Consider the Benefits of Using Hotel Robots
A number of hotels worldwide have started to use robots to assist with day-to-day operations, with some of these hotels going further than others. The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Las Vegas, for example, uses robots to greet guests, while Hotel Jen in Singapore uses robots to carry out room service deliveries.
In truth, the possibilities here are almost endless, and as the technology becomes more affordable and more advanced, its viability increases too. When used to good effect, robots in hotel rooms can help to reduce pressure on staff, improve efficiency, enhance the customer experience and provide a sense of novelty.
Enhance the Customer Experience With Smart Hotel Rooms
Among the most significant technological trends of recent times has been the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), which essentially refers to internet connectivity being inserted into ordinary objects. Smart speakers are one of the most famous examples, and they can potentially allow hotel guests to control their room through a central hub.
Taking this technology further, it is now possible for hotels to provide smart rooms, which offer excellent personalisation, the ability to control all aspects from one place, and even the possibility that guests can set an ideal temperature and an ideal time for the lights to go off, with the room then maintaining those preferences automatically.
Make Sure You Can Process Contactless Payments
The ability to process contactless payments is now among the most important hotel technology investments you can make because customers expect to pay without entering their credit or debit card PIN, or using cash. Contactless payments need to be safe, secure and fast, while the technology needs to be dependable.
Demand for contactless payments has been growing for a long time, due to their ability to reduce friction and speed up check out processes. However, since the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, this demand has sky-rocketed as more and more people come to realise the extent of the benefits of travelling without relying on using cash.
Explore the Potential of Augmented Reality (AR)
Finally, it is also worth taking the time to explore the various possibilities that augmented reality (AR) technology can provide. In simple terms, augmented reality is the use of computer technology to enhance real-world environments digitally. While virtual reality places users in a digital environment, AR alters the real surroundings.
AR is often deployed via apps on smartphones or tablets, placing a digital overlay over objects or environments that are viewed through the device. These apps can be purely based on entertainment, as is the case with an AR game like Pokemon Go, or they can be more educational and informative, which can benefit hotel guests.
More Hotel Technology & Software Tips & Trends
Hotel technology can assist you in your efforts to automate your processes and innovate, to improve customer experiences. Meanwhile, hotel software can help you perform everyday tasks more accurately and faster while also enabling you to manage different channels from a single place.
Marketing, revenue management, and software and tech solutions all have a crucial role in optimising business success within the hotel industry. By following the tips provided and learning more about each of the concepts, you can help to boost your hotel’s reputation, improve your financial results and streamline your processes.