Internet and specifically mobile devices are changing the way travelers plan their trips—flights, hotel bookings and info about their destinations are now managed and obtained online.
Of course, Clerk is an excellent example of how this change has impacted the hospitality industry; however, what else can hoteliers do to increase their direct sales and profits within the online atmosphere?
We have one key word for you and your business: e-commerce, which represents an evolution of the way hospitality industry in general, and hoteliers in specific, do business. And this is not only a decision made by you, hoteliers–your customers are asking for it.
- Social media: capitalize your engagement with customers. Provide a space where your frequent (and potential) passengers can express themselves, find valuable information about your rooms, services and facilities, and interact with you and/or your staff. You can accomplish this through the use of Facebook, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, a blog and fresh online content within your website to convert it into your main direct sales channel.
- Direct sales: incorporate online tools to your negotiation tactic. “Virtually everything you need to know about a potential customer’s business can be found online,” says Heather Allison-Smith. This means every person working in your hotel should be trained to learn sales techniques, to check your competitors’ rates and offers, and understand your customers’ behaviour through the online sales made by your hotel (instead of seeing new technologies as a colder, harder and more impersonal way of selling).
- Booking strategy: go personal, go local. If in the old-fashioned way of increasing your bookings you had to think about (and like) your customers, nowadays that exercise is even more essential. That means you have to generate specific geographic content, create a mobile-friendly version of your website, and (of course) allow online, easy-to-make bookings in order to target users in a more personal manner.