The New Year means a new “to do” list focused on enhancing customer loyalty and boosting profitability – and the questions of how to achieve these goals drive what goes on that list. What were last year’s big strategic hits and misses? What new programs should be implemented to increase productivity and our reputation? How can we better generate profits? Here are the top five goals to add to your “to do” list for 2019.
1. Demystify Distribution Dilemmas
Today’s distribution landscape is extremely complex with an ever-growing number of channels, and hoteliers and revenue managers must determine the best approach to handling distribution dynamics. For 2019, focus on how to better manage distribution diversity by eliminating inefficient strategies and outdated technology. What’s paramount is implementing tools and an approach that allow hoteliers to lower costs, maximize occupancy, and increase revenue.
Measure the costs of direct and indirect distribution channel in order to fully optimize your distribution mix. Evaluate the commission paid per booking to indirect channels against metasearch fees (with cost-per-click models or lower commissions) to see what’s most attractive. Utilize technology that automates revenue-focused tasks because you don’t want to waste inventory or time or lose profits. For vast online visibility, use a channel manager system to help acquire guests like the one from SiteMinder that allows you to manage rooms and rates on 400 hotel booking channels in real time. Integrate revenue management technology with a hotel’s property management system (PMS) to help prevent overbookings.
2. Raise The Bar On The Guest Experience
Competition for customers’ business is increasingly fierce, so hotelier commitment to their satisfaction must be unwavering. Emphasizing the importance of the guest experience is probably always top of mind for hoteliers, but elevate it like never before in the coming year. Connect with guests beyond the superficial to create real customer relationships based on trust. Deliver on what you promise them at the hotel – Every. Single. Time. – because there is less forgiveness than ever before when the experience falls short of expectations.
Engage with guests prior to arrival to aid with personalization on-site. Consider upgrading in-room amenities and adding smart technology. Innovate concierge services. Re-examine housekeeping processes to ensure optimum cleanliness in every hotel space. Build partnerships with local establishments, and design specially curated authentic experiences. Continue to invest in technology and staff training, so that the guest experience is seamlessly executed.
3. Refresh Your Website
It’s not just enough anymore to have a hotel website. The amount of online competition for bookings makes it imperative to invest in strengthening a hotel site’s appearance and functionality. Give your hotel’s website a design refresh with compelling video content, photography, and an easy-to-use booking engine that converts web lookers into bookers. The goal – make your hotel website your most profitable booking channel. Keep consumers engaged, make real-time updates to content and promotions, and make the research and booking experience seamless from start to finish. Reverse “abandon their booking” on your site, and optimize web pages for mobile viewing. And, integrate a hotel site with a powerful online booking engine to drive direct business.
Companies provide cost-effective, easy-to-use website builder programs where hoteliers don’t need to be IT experts. For example, SiteMinder offers Canvas, an intuitive website design solution that integrates with its TheBookingButton online booking engine.
4. Effectively Mine Data
In our world of monumental data, it’s crucial to more smartly examine that wealth of game-changing information to boost the bottom line. What’s the ideal approach? Tap superior technology to better efficiently organize data and enrich hotel performance. Dig deeper into the data to determine distribution channel fees, the rates particular channels get, what guests spend (and from what channels those guests are coming from), and more. Understand the impact of seasonality on consumer shopping behavior, market trends, etc. to help inform marketing and revenue-driving strategies. Leverage data to offer competitive pricing to elevate profit margins.
5. Leverage Social Media’s Power
Social media is a part of our customers’ lives, and its power is undeniable. Use social media more wisely because these platforms can easily become friend or foe. Implement strategies to drive traffic from social media platforms to your website and booking pages. Integrate a hotel’s booking engine with social media sites, like Facebook.
Carefully listen to social media feedback because this is an opportunity to improve operations and the hotel product. Respond to all comments (positive and negative) with grace – show gratitude for the praise, and handle the negative with a solutions-focused approach. Avoid bad hotel reviews by delivering on the guest experience promised.
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