How Innovative Sales and Marketing Ideas will Act as a Boon for Hotels All efforts to drive more business should stem from the standpoint of showing that you care for your guests.

By Anil Kumar Prasanna

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Attracting modern-day travelers who have access to influential information at their fingertips is quite a challenging task. There is more to a cutting-edge sales strategy and marketing campaign than it meets the eye. All efforts to drive more business should stem from the standpoint of showing that you care for your guests. I want to share some simple, yet innovative (proven) tips to spruce up your sales and marketing strategies and turn heads towards your property.

Website: Offer More Than They Seek

The idea of your website is to help visitors understand what you offer and help them book the property with ease. However, visitors do a lot more than stay at your property, right?

So, what else do they do? As a part of your website user experience, create a small chat window/web form to understand the reason for travel, and suggest minimalistic to-do-lists and holiday calendars. These little things may not generate extra revenue but may just go to show that you care.

Social Media: More than Posting Five Times a Day

We all use social media, most of us use two or three of them. If you are a person who checks Facebook often, and you check your favorite people and brands and you pop out of the app. At another point in the day, you check your Instagram. Wouldn't it be a poor experience if the brands and businesses you follow on Facebook deliver the same posts on Instagram as well? As a hotelier, you got to avoid doing this with your own property content. Each social medium has its own audience. Here are some simple tips you can implement right now at no extra cost:

  • You need not be present on all social channels
  • Create custom visual content for Instagram and Snapchat
  • Create detailed content for Facebook
  • Use Twitter as an engagement tool (airlines use Twitter to announce flight delays)
  • Share property pics and conduct polls on Facebook and Twitter, ask the audience to pick their favorite

Listing on Distribution Channels and Metasearch Engines

There are so many OTAs, where to list? The best idea is to pick them all. However, as you go along, verify which channels bring you more business, and eliminate the others. Remember you are catering to an audience with a very wide age group. More than just the price, it is the attractive package, seasonal deals displayed on OTAs that can drive better occupancy rate. Being a hotelier, it is important to understand what your guest is looking for and deliver it to all online distribution channels. Hence marketing to the right segment becomes crucial to maximize the ROI.

Metasearch platforms such as TripAdvisor and Google Hotel Finder have gained momentum recently as customers find this as an easy option to compare existing rates. It will help you improve rankings on these websites and drive better revenue.

Membership Rewards

Membership programs are a must if you want to build a loyal base of audience. Most reward programs offer extra amenities or discounts on future stays. Looking beyond the conventional activities and incentives guests earn through loyalty points, you may also reward guests for following your brand on popular social channels (ask them to upload video reviews, testimonials and suggestions - which can be rewarded as well).

Cross Promotion - Events

Watch out for popular entertainment and business events in your city/locality and create exciting tie-up packages. There have been campaigns where hotels create a theme (based on a popular movie or book characters and offer special amenities to match the theme) to attract specific categories of clientele.

Monitor Your Competition

This is one of the most valuable aspects which can help you design not only your campaigns but also set your prices right to attract more guests. Sign up for their email subscriptions, and keep up with all their marketing campaigns.

At the End of the Day, Surprise Your Guests

If you want to deliver a WOW experience, then offering all amenities as promised won't cut it. An unconventional way of surprising your guests is to deliver something which isn't promised. Hiding short notes about relationship and love for guests on their honeymoon, observe little quirks about your guests and offering surprise tokens of inexpensive gifts (especially when they dine at your restaurant or during check-out) can make your guests memorably remember their stay at your property. This might become your social currency which could drive more business. These little actions go a long way to show that you care. No amount of discounts or free breakfast coupons can match your willingness to care for your guests.

Anil Kumar Prasanna

CEO, AxisRooms

Founded by Anil Kumar Prasanna, Ravi Taneja and Leema Rosali in 2011, AxisRooms is a technology-based channel management system that helps hoteliers improve their distribution, both for online and offline channels. Whether it is getting adequate exposure for the property or allocating the correct price for rooms in time, AxisRooms’s single dashboard gives hoteliers a seamless experience in inventory management. Using this, hotels have a better visibility of the demand and are able to serve guests better. Currently, it has 6500+ hotels on its platform spread across 20+ countries including brands like CGH Earth, Leisure Hotels, OYO Rooms, Fab Hotels, Keys Hotels, Samode Hotels, and ITC WelcomHeritage etc. It is backed by Seedfund, India's leading early-stage venture capital fund.

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