How do you increase sales in an industry where the guests are solely focused on ‘coupons’ and ‘best deals’? You give them a different story to think about. We all know that the best strategy is to start with your current guests and leads.
There is so much potential on the table that it blows my mind that hoteliers just leave those opportunities laying there. If together we cultivate some of the ideas below, I guarantee that you will be able to increase your sales.
Let’s dive in and look at some strategies:
- Answer the phone
You would be surprised at how many hotels don’t answer their phones or let guests wait ages before someone answers it. The longer the guest waits on the phone the more frustrated they will become. In a world where it requires less than 10 seconds to buy something (hint – Amazon, Booking.com, etc.) people’s expectations are high and their patience is low.
If you care about your guests, you need to show it. I feel agitated when I call a hotel and nobody answers. How can you lose an opportunity like that? If businesses continue with the mentality of guests can wait, or it’s okay for them to wait, it’s inevitable that at some point that hotel will lose potential guests.
- Train your people
Happy people and, most importantly, happy guests pay dividends. If a guest is happy about an experience they will share it on social media and with friends and family. There is a quote by Maya Angelou that I always ponder; “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
If a hotel stay was mediocre then there is nothing to share, nothing to be excited about, right? Would you share something that is mediocre? I don’t think so. Oh wait, the bed, the bed was amazing…It’s not the bed, it’s what happens in the bed, if you see what I mean.
If you want to create extraordinary customer service and increase your sales, you need to train your people. Keep key people motivated to think of new ideas to surprise guests and make them feel unique. When guests feel unique they are more willing to spend. If you don’t train your people, they will not be inspired to train themselves. Let’s remember that everything starts from the top.
Take them out, encourage them to read customer service books, hire coaches, do whatever you need for your people – so that they make your guests exceedingly happy.
- Market directly to your guests
Design and stories make people feel a certain way. If you let others market your property, then they will market it like they think it’s right. To be more specific, OTAs tend to market all hotels in neutral language. They have to, they don’t know your tone of voice and your story and hopes, and their job is to sell rooms, any rooms, not just your rooms.
Retrospectively, you need to think of how you want your guests to feel about your brand. That’s where design and storytelling are so valuable.
If you want to increase your sales you will need to market to your guests directly, create valuable content that will make them think, that will inspire them, that will make them feel something.
Create engaging, interesting content on social media, gather your guests’ emails and ask them to subscribe. I repeat you need to ask them to subscribe. For a guest to subscribe they need to know that they will receive valuable information, not just ‘coupons’ and ‘special offers’. It’s boring and it’s not exciting.
- Bring emotions into your storytelling
Research shows, again, let me repeat, it’s research not some guy sitting and coming up with random numbers…..67% of consumers consider clear, detailed images to be very important and carry even more weight than the product information and customer ratings (MDG Advertising) and travellers are 150% more engaged with listings that have more than 20 photos than with properties that have only a few photos (TripAdvisor 2013).
You can add emotions to your content, to your hotel by sharing an emotional story, by being transparent. The best strategy today, is being transparent, people want authenticity. We can all agree that we are tired of manipulating images and broken promises.
Emotions are important because they help the guest to relate to your story and this leads to connection.
Do you hang out with people that you don’t feel connected to? No.
Do we buy things from people that we don’t feel connected to? No.
The goal is to make that connection. A great story with emotions will do the job.
Emotions are the primary drivers of ALL our online and offline actions.
Emotions are involved in every decision we make, be it buying a mobile phone or making an online reservation. The key is to think of what the guests want from you and make sure that you bring it to them. A key question to ask yourself is ‘What emotions are you selling?’. The dirty little secret is that we all sell emotions but communicate features.
- Feelings vs Benefits
There is a way that you can simultaneously promote feelings and benefits. Let me give you an example: –
- A) We have a great spa VS B) After a busy and hectic week at the office, it’s time to unwind and enjoy a great book at our health spa.
There are many ways to communicate something, as long as we think of the right angle. If we communicate benefits, our next door neighbour can do the same, if we can communicate feelings that are integrated within our story, nobody can copy that.
That’s where the benefits of a story comes in. Once you have your branded story, nobody can copy you and you don’t need to compete anymore.
- Thank people for visiting
When people leave your hotel what do they get 24 hours after they leave? Usually some sort of email asking for feedback. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good idea, but I see it as the guest is doing you a favour. He just paid you for a service and now you want a review. How about calling the guest and thanking them over the phone?
But Alex, it will take time. Of course it will take time. Alex, what is the ROI on this activity? What is the ROI of having a guest sharing their experience with one of their friends?
We have a paradigm of how we do things, we get used to do certain things in a certain way without questioning it or asking why it’s done this way.
The best strategy to have is to fall in love with your customers. It’s to show customers that you care. I don’t think many hotels actually call or send a personalized tweet thanking their guests for their stay in the hotel. Once you do that and create a system you will be surprised at what might happen. They might even give you some really honest feedback about your hotel, something that you can then improve on. They might share an idea with you or they might just feel that somebody cared enough to call them and thank them.
That feeling will then be shared with somebody close to that guest. Your next guest might have heard it from a friend and made a decision to stay at your property.
There you have it, five feasible ideas on how you can increase your hotel sales and brand loyalty. It’s not just sales but loyalty as well. I think we need to ponder and ask ourselves how we can improve the customer experience, how we can add more value for our guests.
Sales have a lot of layers and once we start working from the inside-out rather than the outside-in, things start to change.
If you would like some help with any of these strategies, we can arrange a short coffee meeting and discuss how we can help you execute them.
You can email me at an at iqd.agency or give me a call on 07575 531360.