THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CREATIVE HOTEL PACKAGES THAT DRIVE DIRECT BOOKINGS *FREE DOWNLOAD*
FREE DOWNLOAD: 30 Creative & Inspiring Hotel Package Ideas From Independent Hoteliers Like You
In the perennial power struggle with OTAs, independent hoteliers like you have more tools than you realize. Why do some hotels succeed with creative hotel marketing ideas that drive guests through their direct booking channels while others lament over ever-increasing OTA shares?
We could go on and on about the power of points, but that’s just one piece of a well rounded strategy. At Stash, we see creative packaging as an often overlooked way to grab a traveler’s imagination (and their reservation.)
Even the smallest property can launch a powerful direct booking campaign by leveraging value-added packages that are available exclusively for direct bookings. This can help sway a guest to book with your hotel, as well as provide an additional revenue stream. So, what does it take to make a great hotel package that is both profitable and popular?
We’ve tapped our team of hospitality and marketing experts to boil it down to 4 easy to steps.
1. Define You Audience - Your audience is never everyone, it is always someone…
Everyone is telling you that you have to personalize the experience to wow the guest now, but where do you start? Well you can’t sell someone a great experience if you don’t know who they are or and what makes them tick. Here are a couple of key questions to kick off a brainstorm with your team.
Who are our best guests in-house right now?
What type of guest would we like to see more of?
Who is engaging with us on social media?
What seasons or days of the week do we need to fill?
Identify 2-4 customer segments you want to target: Are you looking to attract more affluent guests who flock to the exclusivity of a VIP experience? Vacationing families who love a great value? Or capture trendsetting Millennials hunting for a unique Instagram-worthy adventure?
Now, consider what their top needs and values are. Put yourself in the shoes of your target segment. You might learn that Business Travelers might check in feeling like a rumpled road-weary mess. Or that the parents of vacationing families could use a break from their kids. The Millennial Instagrammer wants to explore beautiful spaces (that will make her followers jealous).
Make sure to spend adequate time on this step, as it is the foundation of your future marketing masterpiece.
2. Finding Something Special - Put yourself in their shoes
It’s time to take a look with fresh eyes at what makes your hotel city and surrounding areas special.
Get off your property and research unique attractions and activities. Review what’s trending in your neighborhood on social media and travel news.
New neighborhood splash-pad with a beer garden? Parents-paradise!
Breweries, distilleries, coffee roasters, wineries and even meaderies popping up overnight in your own backyard? A tasty tour!
Forging relationships with local businesses like this can help extend your reach, as well as create goodwill in the community. If you highlight it as a great exposure opportunity, you will likely to find them more willing to negotiate a special deal.
If you haven’t spent the night in one of your own rooms lately, this is a great opportunity! With those target travelers in mind, see if you can identify any under-utilized spaces, services or amenities. For example, is your business center a cut above the rest? What about that shoe-shine service nobody every seems to take advantage of? Sometimes, the most compelling package is right under your nose.
3) Putting It Together – Creating something meaningful
Time to take inventory! Before you start curating the perfect hotel package you’ll want to review all your low cost, in-house perks. Examples include:
Late check out or early check in
A bottle of house wine
Breakfast delivered to the room
Complimentary room upgrades
Laundry or dry-clean service
By selectively combining these with higher cost items or outside vendors you can build a package that has a great retail value for the guests (and some profit for you.) This is also an opportunity to call out other property amenities, particular any reserved for direct bookings, such as free Wi-Fi, parking or loyalty program incentives. We recommend a bullet list format so it is easy for shoppers to skim and understand the benefits. It should simple enough that it can easily be added to their online reservation with any restrictions kept to a minimum. You’ll likely lose more than half your potential guests — especially those skittish Millennials— if they need to call to book it. Finally, a catchy title is a must! A fun name can be the deciding factor of having your unique offering picked up by the press.
4) Time To Work It - This isn’t “Field of Dreams”
As with any tool, you get out of it what you put in. We highly recommend an omnichannel strategy to actively promote it across all your channels, including:
Your website, specials and packages pages are generally in the top 5 most visited pages
Your newsletter, reservation reminders and upsell emails
Your social media platforms
Third-party listings, such as TripAdvisor, CVB and chamber sites
Guest-generated content is gold, so if you have reviews mentioning a particular package or experience be sure to highlight them. You’ll also want to monitor brand hashtags on Instagram and Twitter for great guest photos to repost (with permission of course.) You can take your game to the next level by coordinating your offers with your revenue management strategy. Keep premium retail pricing during the high season and then discount or highlight package savings in low demand periods. Finally, make sure you capitalize on this as a direct booking campaign by adding a clear call to action: “Only available when you call or book direct at yourhotelwebsite.com!”
So easy, right!? It might require you to flex some mental and creative muscles, but it will be worth the effort. Exclusive offers for direct bookings can not only help tip the scales in the OTA battle, but research also shows package bookers typically stay longer, book earlier and are less likely to cancel. Not to mention helping guests have an unforgettable experience will pay off in spades with glowing reviews and future loyalty.
We hope you’ve found this guide helpful, but if you need some more inspiration to get your creativity flowing, we have collected 30 Amazing Getaway Packages to Inspire Your Hotel Marketing for you!
Worried that guests will choose OTA convenience over your special offers? Stash Hotel Rewards can help you win back your guests with our award-winning network loyalty program. Let us tell you how we can do the same for you.