- 15th January 2020
Customer expectations have raised dramatically in recent years, with more pressure than ever before to deliver something beyond a great room at an affordable price.
The overcrowded online market has given us all access to so many more properties than ever before, making it even more important to make your hotel stand head and shoulders above the competition. From crafting clear and concise descriptions of your hotel, and its various features, through to offering attractive incentives for returning customers, there are numerous ways you can attract new guests and boost your repeat bookings.
1. Optimised content online
Without putting quality photos and helpful descriptions of your hotel and its amenities online, you stand the chance of falling at the first hurdle. Not only will poor photography and content likely turn off potential guests, but you also stand less chance of ranking on the first page of search engines. That means your potential audience may not even be able to find your site if your content is lacklustre.
Here are our tips on creating content that’s both useful and eye-catching:
- Write copy that’s comprehensive and easy to digest, so that guests know exactly what they can expect from their room. Details like the size of the bed or those all-important extra touches, such as Sky Sports or Egyptian cotton sheets, could seal the deal.
- Make sure photography is professional and appropriate for the type of room it’s being displayed under. Remember to add alt tags, which allow photos to rank in image searches.
- Make sure your website copy includes keywords relevant to your hotel, and that you know your potential customers search for. Use Google Ads if you’re looking for inspiration on this.
- Optimising your content for mobile has never been more important, with more customers than ever before browsing and booking on the go.
- Keep your content up to date, ensuring both copy and imagery reflect any significant changes or refurbishments at your hotel.
2. Intuitive online booking system
It goes without saying that your website needs to be smooth and intuitive across the board, especially when it comes to your online booking system. Whether there’s too many steps, slow page loading time, or unclear content, a low-quality system could have your guests booking via a third-party, or worse still, with a competitor.
Our Direct Booking Manager (DBM) is a mobile-first platform designed to make things easier for your guests, and has all the required features to make the whole process a piece of cake. Key features include a comprehensive and swift payment system, the ability to integrate with other platforms such as Google Tag Manager, and performance tracking to help you spot trends.
3. Offer flexible payment
Flexibility is key when it comes to taking guest payments. As well as being able to pay online via credit card, debit card, or PayPal, allowing guests to pay over the phone or in person at check-in allows customers to pay on their terms.
4. Focus on experiences
Providing excellent customer service and a great room is more or less expected these days, so it’s important to offer something more unique that your guests will remember you for. A great way to achieve this is by offering experiences or services that are exclusive to your hotel, be they food-driven, or based around activities in the local area.
Here are a few things some of the UK and Ireland’s more forward-thinking hotels are offering to raise their game:
- Muncaster Castle, Cumbria
Cumbria’s Muncaster Castle makes the most of its idyllic setting, offering themed afternoon teas and a range of wildlife experiences. That includes viewing owls by moonlight within the grounds of its very own birds of prey centre. Muncaster also offers the chance to explore the supposedly haunted castle’s long and storied history with audio tours and ghost vigils.
- Glenroyal Hotel, Co. Kildare
With kids and families in mind, Glenroyal Hotel recently unveiled their newly painted walkway to the hotel’s family swimming pool. Like a scene from a movie it creatively captures colourful fishes and sea life, fuelling little guest’s imaginations. Plus, their ‘Little Adventurer’ package brings the outdoor camping experience into the comfort of the hotel’s family rooms with handmade tepees and goodies.
- Bike and Boot, Scarborough
As the name suggests, the Bike and Boot is passionate about exploring the great outdoors, and their hotel has plenty for casual walkers and adrenaline junkies alike. The hotel’s surfing facilities on South Bay beach allow guests to wash and dry their boards, and hang out their wetsuits, while dog lovers can have their precious pooch groomed to perfection after a long walk.
- The Brehon, Killarney
With their ‘In line with tradition, in tune with today’ moto, the Brehon offers their guests unique accommodation packages including a special ‘Taste the Island’ break celebrating the hotel’s creative kitchen team and love of locally sourced produce and their ‘Flying solo’ package that expertly caters for solo parents travelling with children and includes bundles of adventure and a visit to the hotel’s magical Fairytrail garden.
- Coombe Abbey, Warwick
With their ‘No ordinary hotel’ tagline, Coombe Abbey in Warwickshire is committed to providing guests with unforgettable experiences they won’t forget in a hurry. This includes forest climbing, hot air balloon flights, Medieval banquets, and murder mystery parties.
- Breaffy House Hotel, County Mayo
From creative writing breaks with international poets and artists to their famed bingo getaways and wine tasting celebration dinners, the four star Breaffy House Hotel organises innovative and unique experiences for their guests.
5. The little touches
It might be a bit of a cliché, but the little details really do make a big difference. You’d be surprised how something as simple as offering customers a thoughtful gift, or something unexpected, can really boost your image. Here are some of the things you can do:
- Offer a free room upgrade.
- Leave complimentary chocolate, local beer, or wine in the room.
- Take time to offer good advice on where to eat and what to see in the local area.
- Offer a turn down service.
6. Incentives to return
Once you’ve charmed your guests with the wow-factor throughout their stay, why not give them an extra incentive to return? By getting to know them during their time in your hotel, you should have a pretty good idea of how to entice them back. Here are some of the things you might want to consider:
- Offer them a voucher code for a discount on their next stay.
- Offer a deal on an appropriate forthcoming event, be it a Valentine’s weekend stay, food and gin pairing event, or bank holiday break.
- Take contact details and ask if you can email future incentives.
- Ask them to leave you a review on Trip Advisor, and don’t forget to respond with a comment.
- Offer a ‘Recommend a Friend’ discount, because word of mouth really is priceless.
With so many ways to go above and beyond, the difference between good and great is all about maximising every opportunity to impress your guests. From providing a slick website to offering unique experiences and free room upgrades, there are plenty of things you can do from the beginning of the process right to the very end.
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