According to a recent report published by a leading online travel agent, budget hotels are a popular choice among Indian travellers with 60% of them opting to book lodgings under Rs. 4000. While the demand is definitely high for budget accommodations, they often fail to adopt innovative marketing techniques to connect and continuously engage with their guests. Here are 5 essential must do activities for budget hotels to improve their online bookings.
Get your target segment right.
Budget hotels face both – financial and resource constraints. Hence, it is important for them to ensure each operational effort is directed towards the right business segment. At the very onset, budget hotels should outline their target audience. Is it catering to leisure travellers or business? Is it meant for solo travellers, couples or families? Can it support the technology dependent preferences of millennials?
Get your positioning right.
The right positioning will help you reach the right people that can propel your business forward. People always look for a seamless experience and value for money deals. With your target audience clearly defined, you should now look at aligning your services to suit their needs. Identify their purpose of travel, preferences and purchase patterns. Now choose your services to ensure you invest in the right things that will add value to your customer. If you are a business hotel, a free pick-up drop and internet connectivity would be more important to a traveller than a swimming pool. If you cater to families or leisure travellers, recreational facilities such as kids play area, fitness center, lounge would add more value.
Tariff will also be a discerning factor. The most important reason for people to choose a budget hotel is lower room rates. Hence, competitive pricing is important. However, at the same time, pricing needs to be intelligent to make sure your operating profits are met.
Get your customisation right.
Today, consumers know exactly what they want. And they appreciate those hotels that come closest to matching their preferences. This means, providing specially curated packages can definitely influence booking patterns. Room nights along with pick-up/drop, internet connectivity and complimentary breakfast sounds more hassle-free to business travellers. Similarly, room nights along with complimentary dinner, spa and sightseeing tours at a discounted rate will seem more promising to a family on vacation.
Get your customer service right.
Irrespective of the hotel category, the hotel’s reputation determines the pace of business. Over 90% travellers are keen on booking hotels with a positive review. Budget hotels can leverage this behavioural trait by ensuring exceptional guest service. There is nothing more convincing for a traveller than best rates and exceptional guest service. To achieve this, hotel staff needs to be trained on how to interact with guests and understand consumer preferences. This will help staff members offer personalised service and win the trust and appreciation of a guest. Staff needs to be empowered with decision making ability (for e.g. when to give a free upgrade or increase the discount percentage on services etc.) that will not only allow them to transform guest experience but also enable to up-sell in the long run. Ensure to collect feedback from happy guests and post them on the website as well as leading review sites. Similarly track guest reviews and respond back to each of them and ensure the actual problems are also addressed at the hotel.
Get your investment right.
Budget hotels have limited resources, so make sure you spend them wisely. Foremost, they should invest in the right kind of talent to expand the business – from senior management to the junior staff.
Next, to reduce the manual dependency for regular tasks, budget hotels should invest in the right kind of technology. Budget hotels should look at working with technology partners that can tailor-make software to fit the scale of the hotel. It would also be wise to partner with service providers who also help identify profitable business opportunities along with plugging the gaps in the hotel’s revenue management strategy.
Big data is not only for the bigger players. With the right kind of technology support, budget hotels can also leverage big data to arrive at the right business segment, offer the right services, enhance guest service, streamline operations and improve revenue.
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