Three Common Mistakes Hotels Make (2/3)
You can read the first part here.
Mistake #2: Not Offering Benefits to Guests Booking on the Hotel’s Website
I remember a discussion with one of my hotels, “I have no choice, even if I wanted to increase traffic to my website, the moment I lower my rates, OTAs will soon call and demand rate parity. I can’t even control them during peak season, as soon as I close availability to their channels, they will scream ‘inventory parity’.”
“I have no choice, even if I wanted to increase traffic to my website, the moment I lower my rates, OTAs will soon call and demand rate parity…”
These days, almost all hotels have become slaves to the OTA business. Since they give you the production you want and when you want it, even though they are the most expensive channel, you can never say no to them.
Sometimes, hotels forget that they own the product. As the owner of the product, you have the power to persuade buyers to purchase your product by any means possible. The most effective tool that you have is your own website, where many potential buyers compare rates that they initially see on OTAs. This is your opportunity to steal that potential buyer. This is your chance to give them something they value, something they cannot resist which will change their minds to book at your website instead.
Of course, you need to catch their attention during that moment. Signs on your website should be particularly visible to really make them click and explore what you have to offer e.g. “Book Direct and Be Rewarded”, “Special Offer for Website Bookers Only”, “Best Web Rate”, etc. Posting these next to your “Availability Calendar” should do the trick.
There are a number of other things you can offer potential buyers without the need to dilute your average rate. You will need to analyze the type of guests that stay at your hotel. Do you mostly get business clients or leisure clients? This might also change depending on the season. Your additional benefits can range from giving discount off breakfast, free airport transfer, free one suit press per day, free one suit for dry-clean per day, free thirty-minute massage, 500 miles per stay (for hotels with frequent flyer miles), etc. The hotel can further analyze other amenities or services that are low cost to them but are perceived as valuable to guests. No need to be restricted to just a specific set of benefits. It would also be tempting for your guests if you keep changing your rewards. Maybe have a theme per season e.g. Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Halloween, etc. This way, you can keep surprising your guests and this can potentially increase your website especially for those guests whose interest you have awakened and are wondering what is in store for them next.
Coming to my initial point regarding rate parity, by selling the same rate with that of the OTA, you are guaranteed that you will not be breaching any rate parity agreement. With your additional perks you are guaranteed that potential buyers would want to purchase via your website instead of going to an OTA.
You can read the third part here.
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Cover image from picjumbo.