In the hospitality industry competition is fierce! Every day, travelers worldwide choose between hundreds of accommodation options at any price range.
So, how will you stand out in the hotel industry? How will you show potential guests you are exactly what they need and desire? Through an effective marketing strategy, of course!
Which are the best marketing strategies for hotels?
Although there isn’t a “one-fits-all” solution in hospitality marketing, there are basic strategies that will help you increase revenue, reservation rates, and customer retention.
However, before deciding which is best, you must build a hotel marketing plan based on your hotel needs. It will help you clarify your mission and goals. Besides, it will be the perfect opportunity to identify your target audience and your competitors and check what is happening in the industry.
To help you get started, I’ll present you with some of the best hotel marketing strategies.
Reward direct bookings
When it comes to hotel revenue, direct bookings are the holy grail! Every hotel marketer knows they must rely less on third-party channels to increase profits. Thus, the hotel receives the full payment instead of paying a commission on each new reservation.
How to increase direct bookings?
There are many ways you can encourage your guest to book directly with the hotel. And some of them are easier than you think!
- Invest in SEO
Search engine optimization is the perfect tool to build a strong online presence. Start with a user-friendly website that your hotel guests can easily find. Present an intuitive built-in booking engine to encourage direct bookings. As a bonus, use social media channels and email marketing to stir up their appetite for a getaway.
Since people spend most of their time on smartphones, why not build a mobile-friendly website? Plus, upload high-quality images of your property and optimize the website content. You must guarantee your hotel ranks first in the page results! It will make your hotel pop!
- Build a Loyalty Program
Customer experience is paramount in any hotel business. Besides providing excellent service, your guests must feel welcomed! Encourage them to book directly by providing exclusive offers through a loyalty program.
How can you make this happen?
– Offer a room upgrade or a late check-out;
– Provide special rates for repeated guests;
– Apply a discount on hotel services;
– Offer VIP amenities;
– Provide a welcome drink and private check-in.
Besides rewarding direct bookings, you will also improve your guests’ overall satisfaction. A happy customer is the best marketing strategy! They will be more likely to return and tell their friends and family how wonderful their experience at your hotel was.
- Improve communication with your guests
Hospitality is a people-focused industry. Hence, effective communication is a powerful tool you must use to build a meaningful relationship with your guests!
From the booking process, until the guests check out, you will use different communication channels. A customer relationship management software will help you provide a personalized guest experience. You’ll know their preferences, and it will be easier to assist them before, during, and after their stay!
Take advantage of social media
According to a study published in 2019, 52% of consumers say they were inspired to plan their next trip after seeing their friends or family’s social media posts.
These results show us how user-generated content transformed the way people travel. Since travelers look for recommendations based on others’ experiences, social media is definitely an improved version of word-of-mouth.
Because of that, you must use social media! How?
- Build a profile and include links to your hotel website and email;
- Invite people on your contact list to follow your property profile;
- Promote follower engagement with surveys and incentives;
- Post content on the local area, its landmarks, and main attractions;
- Post new and updated content frequently;
- Interact with followers and other businesses that mention your property.
Facebook and Instagram are the most influential social media in the travel industry. Although it’s possible to use the same content on both platforms, each has its own subtleties. Before posting, remember who your target audience is and which is the best way to reach them.
Alternatively, you can use paid advertising. Similar to Google’s pay-per-click (PPC), you can define your target audience and build a marketing campaign focused on direct bookings, customer experience, hotel services, or any other goal you might want to achieve.
Reconnect with guests through email marketing
Along with social media, email marketing is one of the easiest and most affordable strategies. In fact, it is responsible for 42£ of return on investment for every 1£ spent! For this reason, email marketing it’s a favorite among hotel marketers.
With this powerful tool, you can reconnect with long-time guests. Let them know about special offers, new add-on services, or the newly decorated facilities! Most of all, let them reminisce on the wonderful time they had last time they visited.
By sending them a message, you’ll be reminding your guests you are open for business and looking forward to welcoming them! You can also use email marketing once your guests checked out. It is a great opportunity to collect feedback on their stay!
How can you take advantage of email marketing?
Although it is one of the easiest ways to promote your hotel, there are some details you must consider:
- Choose your target audience;
- Define your campaign goals;
- Build a mailing list;
- Develop an appealing email template;
- Decide how often and at what time you want to contact your guests.
You can do it the old-fashioned way: using a spreadsheet with all your guests’ emails and names and sending it in Bcc from your email address. Or, you can optimize your precious time and use customer relationship management software.
A CMS integrated with your property management system will allow you to gather details on your guests’ preferences to improve their experience. Additionally, a CMS allows you to use an automated email marketing strategy.
All you have to do, is choose a template, customize it and send personalized messages to your clients. It will help you bring in more direct bookings and build a solid relationship with your most loyal customers.
Before exploring all the benefits email marketing offers, you must learn about the current email laws. In the United States, Canada, and Europe, specific regulations protect clients’ personal information. As a result, before sending any message, make sure your customers authorize you to use their contact for any marketing purposes.
Establish a local partnership
When choosing their next destination, your guests consider a few details before deciding. They will analyze the hotel services and facilities and check the online reviews.
However, one crucial factor is the location! Where is the hotel located? What is there to do? Are there any museums, natural landmarks, restaurants, or amusement parks?
As fascinating as your property may be, it’s very likely that your guests are eager to explore the surroundings. Because of this, I recommend building local partnerships to improve the guest experience.
Review your local area for services you don’t provide. It can be anything from dry cleaning to dog sitting or even a hairdressing appointment. As long as it adds value to your customer’s stay.
Additionally, show your customers the region’s history and culture. Collaborate with other business owners for a cooking class or a guided wine tasting tour. Promote a historical tour to show your customers all the details about the must-see places near your hotel.
The options are endless! As a result, your best strategy is to know your guests well and offer them unique experiences!
Marketing on Third-Party Channels
Whether you’re about to open a brand-new hotel or “refurbish” a marketing campaign, third-party channels are perfect to increase your property’s visibility.
The goal of third-party channels is to gather information on accommodation options and help prospective customers compare rates, services, and guest reviews.
As any hotel owner, I’m sure you dread the expensive commission fees. However, you shouldn’t focus on this downside! A partnership between you and a third-party channel helps you bring in new guests. Who knows? Perhaps some of these guests might convert into direct bookings!
So, who are the third-party channels?
GDS – Global Distribution Systems
In the 1950s, the increasing demand in the hospitality industry, especially for flights, led airline companies to offer add-on services, such as accommodation or car rental. This resulted in the creation of the first GDS.
Nowadays, travel agents worldwide use the GDS to check on hotel availability and get special rates, usually 30% cheaper than the retail price. How does this work?
The hotel’s property management system, or PMS, provides real-time rates and availability to the GDS and online travel agents through a channel manager. As new bookings arrive, the room inventory is updated to avoid overbookings. Once there are no more rooms, sales are automatically closed.
Where to find a GDS?
The most respected GDS in the hospitality industry are Amadeus, Sabre, and Galileo. Combined, these three organizations operate in more than 200 markets. They connect travel agents to airline and railway companies, car rentals, cruise lines, and accommodation businesses worldwide. With the right channel manager, you’ll be able to connect your property to a GDS.
Beyond that, the GDS offers you a few perks you don’t want to miss:
- Great opportunity to identify new markets;
- Another way to increase revenue;
- Travel agents worldwide have access to your property regardless of time zone differences;
- The reservation volume is larger than direct bookings;
- Corporate clients often outsource their business trips to travel agents, which makes GDS perfect for attracting business travelers;
- For travel agents, it’s easier and faster to book a room through the GDS.
Although the GDS offers a competitive advantage, you’ll be bound by a contract. Simply put, you cannot change rates as you will or close sales for travel agents and sell the rooms directly. A well-drafted contract will definitely come in handy to avoid such issues.
If you’re new to the hospitality industry, don’t be put off by how detailed the GDS is! Take some time to understand how it works, and you’ll have a team of expert tour operators promoting your hotel worldwide!
OTAs – Online Travel Agencies
Since the internet appeared, the travel industry has changed drastically! Overnight, people could book hotel rooms, rent cars, and reserve flights without relying on travel agencies.
And the best part is that travelers could compare rates themselves or check for excellent reviews! It’s no wonder why online travel agencies, such as Booking .com, Expedia, or Trip.com became so popular!
For you, OTAs are another marketing opportunity!
It means you can list your property and provide high-quality photos and add-on services that will make you eclipse your competitors. Additionally, you’re free to decide about room rates or how many rooms you want to sell.
Even though OTA’s will help improve your online presence, they will charge a commission fee between 15% to 20% on each reservation.
If you promote your hotel on several OTAs simultaneously, then I’d recommend getting a channel manager. It will be easier to update rates and close or open sales according to your room availability. With a few clicks, all your partners will have updated information.
In the early days of the internet, information was scattered all over the web. As a result, travelers would struggle when deciding which hotel to choose.
Metasearch engines, such as Trivago, Skyscanner, or TripAdvisor, appeared as a solution to this problem. Often labeled “information aggregators”, meaning they collect data hotels provide to OTA’s and present it to potential customers.
Nowadays, when your customers search for your hotel online, they will see several websites showing different rates and booking conditions for the same dates and room type.
To promote high conversion rates and increase revenue, you must provide the same information to all online channels. Also, you can add your hotel website and invite prospective customers to a direct booking.
Building an effective hotel marketing strategy will help you achieve success. However, it won’t happen overnight.
So, you must combine different strategies to maximize your hotel visibility. From third-party channels to email marketing or building local partnerships, your actions must focus on improving the guest experience.
Satisfied customers will be more likely to leave a positive review, return and bring in their friends and family! Moreover, remarkable customer service will help you stand out amongst your competitors and make the difference potential guests are looking for!
Last week we celebrated the amazing achievements of two of our customers – Hotel Clark Budapest, and Sligo Park Hotel – who were placed in the Top 25 Hotels in Europe and Top 25 Hotels in Ireland, respectively.
This week we continue admiring the accolades earned by 3 more of our customers in Tripadvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best awards for 2022!
Rated 21 in the Top 25 Romantic Hotels💕 in Europe
Maison Bistro & Hotel
“Charming ambiance with a bit of history; 17 unique designer rooms; Cellar a’la Maison; personalized services”
Budapest, Hungary | Website
Rated #9 of 405 hotels in Budapest
Ranking 5.0 🟢🟢🟢🟢🟢 based on 535 verified reviews
Set in a building dating back to 1464, and with a two-storey cellar beneath it, it’s little wonder that Maison Bistro & Hotel has been named in the Top 25 Romantic Hotels in Europe!
We asked Viczkó Attila, the Hotel Operations Manager for Maison for his thoughts about being bestowed one of the Best of the Best.
“As we all know the pandemic had devastating effects on our industry; we also suffered a lot, but we managed to reopen in July 2021. This award is the perfect recognition of the hard work of our team. We literally emerged from our ashes, but we kept our heads high and delivered a truly professional performance”, he stated.
“I believe Tripadvisor has a huge power on the customers’ decision-making process, and being in the top 25 of their European listings is like a dream come true for us. I hope that more and more people looking for an unforgettable, romantic hotel experience will find us in the near future.”
When asked how the award might continue to bolster the hotel’s reputation, Attila said “Being amongst the Best of the Best in Europe is a chance we cannot miss when it comes to our communication. The listing is for a whole year, so we plan to make it visible on our booking engine not to mention our social channels. This award will be communicated periodically, we will mention it wherever we can.”
We were curious to know what Attila thought set Maison apart from other properties that resulted in them being listed as a Best of the Best property. He immediately spoke highly of his staff: “I believe that we have a team of true professionals who seek to deliver a perfect hotel experience. The overall attitude and our common goal is that our guests shall be happy and taken good care of throughout the entire stay.
“There is no secret in this, it is a question of passion and devotion I think.”
Attila concluded with some comments about his partnership with GuestJoy:
“I also would like to thank Guestjoy for playing a vital role in our guest experience. We have been using it for years, and Guestjoy has proven that it is great tool of Guest communication.
“The back-end is very easy to configure, provides a loads of data for decision-making, and guests are also happy with the letters and announcements they receive, they are happy to respond and engage. Our pre and post stay communication via Guestjoy opening and closing the guest journey are the icing on the cake.
“I would also like to emphasize the world-class support of Annika and Andrew; thank you guys“.
Well we certainly appreciate the kind words – but the real test is to see what guests thought. Here are some of the most recent comments on Tripadvisor:
“The staff was very friendly, professional and helpful on all levels. The interior design was absolutely stunning everywhere in the building. Our room had a private little terrace which was an absolute unexpected surprise and a great hit! The level of cleanliness in the room and the building was flawless.
We are very grateful to the staff for making our stay so very comfortable and enjoyable”
“Their aim is very simple: All they want to do is make you happy and smiling during the stay.
And boy, they do succeed; from the first step in hotel till check out – everything was fantastic.
First, the location in heart of Buda district – cosy little gem – not an ordinary hotel in building full of history.
Breakfast was superb, and definitely you shouldn’t stop here – try their bistro menu – a curated choice of dishes to die for! Definitely a place to return. A must choice to consider for everyone who wants to spend some quality time in Budapest.”
“We couldn’t praise the Maison Hotel more highly. A great choice for the Castle Hill/Buda area. Sound and soft night’s sleep in the peaceful courtyard room and every amenity we could wish for. Breakfast was fresh and tasty with a good variety of nice hot dishes to choose from (special shout out to the Hungarian scrambled eggs) along with the buffet. We ate dinner here too, which was delicious and a great wine menu. What made Maison stand out for us are the lovely members of staff who were gracious, friendly, and made the stay a ‘home away from home’. Thank you.”
Clearly, Attila was right when he praised his staff; it seems nothing is too much trouble and guests love the care and attention the receive. Congratulations!
Heading from one continent to another, but maintaining the romantic theme, we find ourselves on the west coast of Canada…
Rated 3 in the Top 25 Romantic Hotels💕 in Canada
“Life is too short to be conventional; discover a splendour and charm that has been lost to the ages and uniquely exists at Abigail’s.”
Victoria BC, Canada | Website
Rated #1 of 44 hotels in Victoria
Ranking 5.0 🟢🟢🟢🟢🟢 based on 1,487 verified reviews
Located in romantic downtown Victoria, British Columbia, Abigail’s is a boutique bed-and-breakfast hotel that blends historic accommodation with a distinctive and charming guest experience.
It is an adult-only, intimate 22-room property that is housed in a 1930s heritage Tudor mansion. Its special atmosphere blends the romance and charm of the past with the comfort and convenience of modern accommodation. Known internationally for its cozy ambiance, dynamic three-course breakfasts and personalized, professional and courteous service, interwoven with elegantly appointed guest rooms.
Here, we have a property that is no stranger to being featured as one of the top properties in its market for many years, and this isn’t their first Best of the Best 😲
We spoke with Allison Fairhurst, General Manager of Abigail’s, about what this year’s award meant for them.
“It is an honour to be recognized by TripAdvisor again this year”, started Allison.
“We have been included amongst the top 10 hotels in Canada for Romance and Small Hotels for the past 10 years and it means so much to us. TripAdvisor is a valuable hotel partner and is an important contributor to our success, we are so thankful to our guests who take the time to provide such lovely feedback. Many guests comment that they booked us based on the positive reviews.”
That is a powerful message on the value of good reviews, indeed!
Allison continued: “Our staff look forward this award every year, they have such a vested interest in the hotel, it’s like a second home for many and we all treat it as our own. I think the quality of service is what sets us apart, the small size of the hotel allows us to go above and beyond to exceed the expectations of our guests.
“Our core values are exceptional service, respect and integrity, teamwork and passion and continuous improvement, these are what drive the team and are the backbone of the hotel. We are a unique property in Victoria in that we are a cross between a small luxury hotel and B&B, so we are able offer more personal service to our guests, they are like family and many have been staying with us for years.
Absolutely wonderful to read. Without a doubt, when you have great staff, they enable great experiences.
When we asked how Abigail’s will use the award in a promotional sense, Allison replied “We have already posted the award on our website, it will go out in our next newsletter and we will also display a copy in our lobby once we receive it.”
Finally we asked Allison what, if any impact GuestJoy has had in their operations and impact in being awarded Best of the Best.
Said Allison: “Guestjoy has played a huge part in securing the award, the number of reviews we are receiving has dramatically increased and we are once again ranked the #1 hotel in Victoria as a result.
“Guestjoy is so easy to use and has greatly improved guest relations and communication, we have found the announcement feature to be especially useful in advising guests of construction notices while we are expanding the hotel.
“The upsell feature has greatly increased add-on revenue and promote our complimentary services.
“Overall, switching to Guestjoy has been one of the best decisions in improving customer relations.”
Such pleasing words from such a well-respected hotel are indeed great to hear; we’re glad that we could have a positive impact!
But the real positive words come from the guests – let’s have a look at some of them now:
“Abigail’s hotel was just a lovely stay to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary. Super cute rooms and the breakfast was better than I was expecting. Would recommend for anyone wanting a unique, romantic, or quaint visit to Victoria”
“We loved Abigail’s. It looks great and is clean and well-maintained. The room was spacious and pretty — and it had a fireplace! They serve an amazing breakfast, and when you sit down at the table you can see the menu and a weather forecast — so helpful.
I cannot say enough about the friendliness, helpfulness and pleasantness of the staff from the second we got there to the moment we left. They did everything they could to make us feel special and enjoy our stay.”
“Judy and the entire staff from the front desk, to the kitchen staff and the housekeepers were very courteous, kind and just wonderful. Chef Gerald’s breakfast were some of the best we ever had. My wife and I were here for our honeymoon and we will definitely be back. this will be our home away from home, we felt like family and they treated us like royalty.”
Wow – absolutely glowing endorsements from many which really paint the picture as to why Abigail’s is so highly coveted! An incredible achievement!
Finally, we’re back in Europe to discover bigger isn’t always better when it comes to hotels!
Rated 4 in the Top 25 Top Small Stays – The Netherlands
Luxury Suites Amsterdam
“One of the finest Five-star boutique hotels in Amsterdam, where guests enjoy a luxurious and tailor-made stay.”
Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Website
Rated #10 of 419 hotels in Amsterdam
Ranking 5.0 🟢🟢🟢🟢🟢 based on 747 verified reviews
Luxury Suites Amsterdam, an exclusive luxury hotel based in an excellent location, is an earthly paradise with a breath-taking lavish interior and a delightful canal view.
Featuring 25 uniquely-styled suites, ranging in size from 50 and 90 square metres; all of which provide the perfect amenities to guarantee a luxurious stay.
We asked Wladimir Schrijver, General Manager of Luxury Suites what it meant to be listed as Best of the Best:
“First, I am extremely proud of my team! Being rated as the “Best of the best” is an honour and a challenge, but we are extremely grateful to our guests who made this happen.
“We are a small team and most of the team members are friends with each other.
“As a General Manager, I know all my staff by name and most private backgrounds. We have a very open working structure with short lines. This makes it a special place to work.”
Wladimir also talked about the value of supporting his team: “I believe in training and supporting my staff where and whenever I can. This way everyone is more flexible in connecting with our guests so guests experience the best stay in Amsterdam.”
When we asked how it felt, Wladimir replied “The Award really means a lot to us. In Dutch we would say: dit is de kers op de taart (it is the cherry on the pie). We work hard so some acknowledgment of that hard work is always nice to receive.
“Guests look and read the reviews. I also do the same before I travel somewhere. You always get a good impression of the property you will be staying.
“Of course, we will use this Award to promote ourselves on our own website, Facebook and Instagram.
About the partnership with GuestJoy, Wladimir stated “GuestJoy can make sure that guests enjoy a fast and speedy check-in. Also packages can be pre-booked to make their stay even more unforgettable. The whole package makes part of the great feeling our guests enjoy before arrival. We call it “pre-holiday-fun”.”
“Pre-holiday fun” – We love it! But so to do the guests love Luxury Suites. Take a look at some comments;
“I have traveled the world and found this to be the best hotel and staff I have ever experienced. Wonderful stay. Beautiful neighborhood. Excellent service and overlooking the canal. I would stay here anytime I am in Amsterdam. Thanks to the staff.”
“I’m thrilled to write this absolutely glowing review. I’ve travelled all over the world including Amsterdam a half dozen times. Luxury Suites is one of my favourite hotels anywhere. Everything about it is perfect. The location is ideal: on a quiet “island” close to the action yet calm. The staff could not be friendlier and more attentive. I almost feel they are like family. Peter the concierge is both super friendly and very professional. My room is spectacular: very large with double French doors opening to the sunshine. The cleaning staff does such an uutstanding job. Etc etc. You get the point. Just book this place and you will be happy.”
“We loved our short visit to Amsterdam, in part due to our wonderful stay at Luxury Suites. The breakfast was delicious and the staff went above and beyond with their helpfulness. Extra compliments to Olga who was so kind and helpful in selecting great restaurants for us to try. And, we were surprised coming back one night when birthday balloons and chocolates had been placed in our room, as we were celebrating a birthday during our stay. Excellent hotel”
This is indeed what it looks like when hotels go above and beyond. Huge congratulations to Luxury Suites Amsterdam for such stunning results!
Are Tripadvisor reviews like these important to your property?
Reading the reviews of other guests is still one of the biggest influences on a guest’s decision to book their stay at a property.
Good quality reviews are critical to your property’s reputation and performance!
Did you know?
All the Tripadvisor reviews / review excerpts published in this article were collected via GuestJoy!
With GuestJoy’s Feedback module, you can effortlessly boost the number of quality Tripadvisor reviews listed for your property. Watch your ranking and rating skyrocket, and you too can be a potential winner of a Traveller’s Choice award – maybe even Best of the Best!
Our Feedback module is just one part of the GuestJoy CRM for hotels.
If you want to know how we can transform your property, get in touch with us today 😉
Last week, we talked about the amazing success story this year that was 2 in every 3 GuestJoy customers being awarded Travellers’ Choice from Tripadvisor.
This, on its own, is a remarkable feat! However, there was even more incredible news – 5 of our customers were also awarded Best of the Best.
This is truly next-level – Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best award winners are among the top 1% of listings on Tripadvisor.
So we decided to feature and celebrate these properties, beginning with arguably the 2 highest accolades… Let’s begin!
Starting with an amazing outcome for one of our Hungarian customers:
Rated 24 in the Top 25 Hotels in Europe
Hotel Clark Budapest
“Where tradition and modern times unite in an exclusive, personalised, and stylish manner.”
Budapest, Hungary | Website
Rated #1 of 405 hotels in Budapest
Ranking 5.0 🟢🟢🟢🟢🟢 based on 1,118 verified reviews
Hotel Clark is perfectly situated in downtown Budapest, looking onto the Chain Bridge; one of the most emblematic historic sights of the city. The hotel is in close proximity to a number of World Heritage Sites sites, including the Buda Castle funicular, located just across the street.
Opening in one of the most enviable locations in Budapest in 2018, Hotel Clark has relied on GuestJoy from the following year to ensure their guests had an experience befitting the hotel’s incredible design.
In addition to a modern guest experience, GuestJoy helped Hotel Clark to cement the number one rating for all hotels in Budapest – an incredible achievement given they opened in 2018 in what is one of the most competitive markets in Europe.
“Guest satisfaction, as well as online reputation behind it, is crucial for us; and GuestJoy is playing an inevitable part in the process” said Ádám Szakáczki, Head of Revenue and Reservations.
What makes this accolade even more impressive, is that it’s the second year in a row that Hotel Clark has achieved Best of the Best!
Being listed in the top 25 Hotels in Europe is an amazing achievement – receiving the honour 2 years running is even more prestigious, when you consider that 16 of this year’s top 25 were not listed last year!
Here is a hotel where you can have the utmost confidence that you have not only made the right choice, but you have truly made the best choice.
Concluded Ádám: “We are looking forward to another year full of successes achieved together with GuestJoy!”.
But what did their guests have to say? Here are just a few of their recent reviews:
“Little hotel with a BIG heart. The friendliness and professionalim of the staff just made our stay perfect, right in the middle of a beautiful city of Budapest. We just want to say a BIG thank you to all the crew (from the houskeepers to the top management). Hope to visit CLARK one day again.”
“Beautiful hotel & the staff were excellent, rooms lovely & clean & the location is fantastic. Great views out over the Danube and easy access to all parts of the city. definitely a must for your bucket list“
“This hotel was amazing. The staff were unbelievable. It was the best service we have ever had in a Hotel and we travel constantly. The concierge was first class!
The restaurant downstairs and the rooftop bar served beautiful well thought out cocktails and delicious food. And don’t get me started on the lolly jars! 120% recommend!”
“Beautiful hotel, great views, impeccable service and comfy beds.
First time staying at hotel Clark for my boyfriends birthday! I would like to thank the whole front office team for their help with setting up the surprise in the room and for the extra gestures . Special mention to Adam Szakaczki, Aniko, Boroka and Dorottya! They truly have a 5* service and it’s consistent through all the departments, everyone was so warm and nice. Thank you to Mate (the FOM) for an incredible welcome upon arrival, super smooth, kind and friendly, he truly made us feel at home.
Couldn’t recommend this hotel enough and can’t wait to come back! Keep up the amazing work!”
Amazing opinions from extremely satisfied guests – you would expect no less when you’re rated Best of the Best – among the top 25 hotels in Europe! Congratulations again to Hotel Clarke Budapest!
Moving to the very western edge of Europe now on the emerald isle, we find ourself in Ireland:
Rated 17 in the Top 25 Hotels in Ireland
Sligo Park Hotel
“Explore Sligo and Stay with the Best at the Sligo Park Hotel and experience all Sligo has to offer“
Sligo, Ireland | Website
Rated #1 of 8 hotels in Sligo
Ranking 4.5 🟢🟢🟢🟢◻️ based on 537 verified reviews
A contemporary styled hotel in lush landscaped parkland, one mile from the vibrant town of Sligo. Each bright, modern room is designed with guest comfort in mind. The bar and restaurant serve the best of local ingredients in a relaxed setting popular with locals and guests. There is a superb health and leisure club and it’s also a very popular wedding venue.
Being named on of the 25 best hotels in Ireland is no mean feat.
Anyone who has stayed in Ireland knows that Irish hospitality has a special warmth to it. Often referred to as “handshake hospitality”, staing at a property in Ireland starts with a warm, genuine greeting to a place where they know your name.
And add to that, that the competition is quite tough (which is great for guests!), and you will soon realise the significance of that Best of the Best rating!
Therefore, huge congratulations must go to Sligo Park Hotel. They have been using GuestJoy for 18 months now to enable their guests to simply and easily customise their stay with upgrades and add-ons.
General Manager Gerard Moore thanked his committed staff and a multi-million euro programme of investment, with helping to push the Sligo Park Hotel into the top spots.
“We are especially delighted to feature in this list as the votes come from guests and Tripadvisor has a very rigorous process. That means this is authentic recognition of how we are regarded by guests and that means a lot to us. Our amazing staff have played a huge role.
“We have also benefited from investment in our conferencing facilities and have been fortunate to have hosted many successful events held by leading national bodies and organisations.”
More than €5million has been spent by owners Lee Hotel Group on a complete refit of the Sligo Park’s 136 bedrooms, the bar and restaurant, conference and banqueting, lobby and leisure facilities, as well as the grounds, carpark and entrance.
“In essence, it’s a new Sligo Park Hotel,” says Gerard, adding that he is looking forward to a strong spring-summer season with a mix of both domestic and international visitors.
A ‘Stay With The Best’ campaign is currently leveraging the hotel’s place on the Wild Atlantic Way and capitalising on people’s renewed appreciation of the outdoors following two years of lockdowns and other public health restrictions.
“Sligo has it all, beaches, mountains and lakes, which is why we say, ‘Explore Sligo, Stay With The Best’ – and the best is the Sligo Park Hotel,” adds Gerard.
All this is so fantastic to read, but let’s now hear from the guests themselves:
“Are recent stay in Sligo park hotel has been one of the most memorable hotel stays we have experienced. From receiving a room upgrade upon arrival, to restaurant staff making sure we had a great table for dinner. The staff exceeded our expectations and always had a smile. I can not recommend this hotel highly enough and look forward to our next stay.”
“We booked to stay 2 nights as we were attending a wedding in sligo and the staff could not be more accommodating from the minute we made the booking. All staff were brilliant from front desk to housekeeping. We will definitely be back.”
“Hotel seems to be recently updated – everything was fresh, clean, bright & modern. Bathrooms were modern & spotless. Staff were exceptionally friendly & helpful. Really had a wonderful stay. Would definitely recommend this hotel to others & would happily return.”
“We had our wedding in Sligo Park Hotel in March 2022 and I cannot recommend this hotel highly enough. Whether it’s a big occasion like a wedding or just a short stay the Sligo Park is just about the very best hotel I’ve been to in Ireland.
They really go to the Nth degree in helping with all the bits and pieces leading up to the wedding and the staff’s experience is second to none. I’d like to especially thank Orla for all her help and guidance in the lead up to the wedding, she made everything so easy and put us at our ease straight away.
The staff are all amazing, anything you ask is not a problem. They are professional, kind, helpful and you’re always met with a smile. Best staff I’ve seen in a hotel bar none.
Our wedding guests were treated like kings and queens from start to finish. The reception was amazing, The Prosecco and canapés on arrival were brilliant. The function room was stunning and the food was exceptional. The chef Chris has an unbelievable team and the service from the staff was amazing.
The rooms are spotlessly clean, they are cosy and the beds are so spacious and comfortable. The Leisure center is brilliant too.
If you are thinking of booking the Sligo Park hotel for your wedding I cannot recommend it highly enough.”
With ringing endorsements like that, it’s little wonder that Sligo Park Hotel claims a place in the top 25 hotels in Ireland; truly a Best of the Best.
Once again, huge congratulations to our wonderful customers for achieving such a high levels of service, providing such memorable stays for their guests, and truly being among the best of the best.
In part two of this article, we will be looking at 3 more GuestJoy customers who were awarded Best of the Best in the following categories:
- Most romantic hotels in Europe
- Most romantic hotels in Canada
- Top small stays in The Netherlands
Who will they be?! Stay tuned and find out!
Want to know how your property could win these awards?
It’s every hotelier’s dream to be listed as Travellers’ Choice, let along being Best of the Best.
Obviously, first and foremost is to have well-trained staff who are excellent at their jobs! Secondly, to provide your gets with a stand-out experience while at your property, and hopefully they will write a review of their stay on Tripadvisor.
But what contributes to a great guest experience? GuestJoy is a platform for hotels of all types to help make their stay that bit smoother, more memorable, and hassle-free; along with encouraging guest loyalty.
A CRM specifically designed for hotels, every facet of GuestJoy helps your guest have a fantastic time at your property, and helps bring them back for a future stay.
One part of GuestJoy is our Feedback module, which at the right moment, actively encourages guests to review their stay on Tripadvisor, resulting in more reviews on your listing and thus improving your rating and ranking over time.
Talk to us to see how we can transform your guest experience. And who knows? It might just be your property being awarded Travellers’ Choice – or even better, Best of the Best – in future!
It’s that time of year again – Tripadvisor has announced the properties that have earned a Travellers’ Choice award for 2022.
And it goes without saying that we are thrilled to find that two in every 3 GuestJoy customers we awarded the accolade!
What are the Travellers’ Choice awards?
The Travellers’ Choice awards honour travellers’ favorite hotels based on the reviews and opinions collected from travellers around the world on Tripadvisor over a 12-month period.
Tripadvisor’s awards fall into two levels: Best of the Best and Travellers’ Choice.
Travellers’ Choice recognises hotels that earn consistently great reviews. Travellers’ Choice award-winners are among the top 10% of listings on Tripadvisor. Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice honours select hotels that consistently demonstrate a commitment to hospitality excellence.
Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best is the highest honour. The award takes into account the quality and quantity of traveler reviews and ratings, and ranks the very besthotels in specific categories and geographic areas, as rated and reviewed by travellers. Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best award winners are among the top 1% of listings on Tripadvisor.
5 GuestJoy customers awarded “Best of the Best”
As fantastic an achievement it is to have a property awarded “Traveller’s Choice”, we were blown away to find that 5 GuestJoy customers took home a Best of the Best award – a truly amazing feat!
We plan to feature each of these 5 properties separately in the near future, as operating on such a level deserves individual recognition! So stand by for those announcements – but just as a teaser, those 5 customers were in the following categories:
- Top 25 Hotels – Europe
- Top 25 Hotels – Ireland
- Most Romantic Hotels – Europe
- Most Romantic Hotels – Canada
- Top Small Stays – The Netherlands
Traveller’s Choice 2022: Customer highlights
2 in every 3 customers is a massive number, so we couldn’t possibly feature them all here; however, we wanted to at least tip our hat to some of our favourite properties to win the award this year – so here we go, in no partuclar order!
Tallinn, Estonia | Website
Starting on our home soil of Estonia, Hotel L’Embitu is a luxury 4* Superior hotel in the very heart of Tallinn’s City Centre.
We love the modern sophistication of Hotel L’Embitu; one of Tallinn’s newest hotels.
Featuring 125 enchanting rooms and gorgeous suites, a rooftop restaurant with a charming Tallinn city view, and a wine and tapas cellar in the historic renovated part of the hotel, the mix of old and new is cohesive and stylish.
Here are some of the most recent comments guests had on Tripadvisor:
“Impeccable service, room, breakfast and SPA.”
“Perfect weekend for couples. Excellent and rich breakfast, nice and private spa, stylish rooms with all necassary. Very good location near to Old Town and city center, shopping mall. Strongly recommended!“
“I usually do not use superlatives, but this time I will. Fabolous, fantastic, amazing etc. The hotel is new – only 1 year old, modern and very stylish. Perfect finishing quality and top design. We had a room with private sauna – very relaxing and refreshing. Great view onto park, good atmosphere and very delicious meals and good wine selection. I would certainly recommend this hotel for special occasions and celebrations. Thank you L´embitu for this wonderful stay. We´ll be back:)”
“The room was very beautiful with very comfortable bed and beautiful bathroom. The spa was a nice place to relax. The restaurant served tasty food and breakfast was very good with plenty of different items. Will be my number one choice in the future.”
Bohinj ECO Hotel
Bohinj, Slovenia | Website
Next we move from the city to the beautiful sprawling mountains of northern Slovenia.
Located in Triglav National Park in the Julian Alps, Bohinj ECO Hotel is the first and only ECO hotel in Slovenia. It has also been awarded with an international Green Globe Certificate for sustainability.
It is also the most awarded hotel, winning different prizes and awards from public and professionals – and of course, Travellers’ Choice 2022!
There is an abundance of facilties on site – including aquapark, cinema, 8 conference halls, bowling, wellness, restaurants, and more. Plus with it’s sublime location, there are year-round activities available, including winter sports, hiking, biking, golf, natural wonders, watersports, fishing, and more!
Let’s hear from their guests via Tripadvisor:
“I would recommend Hotel Bohinj eco. Everything was perfect. Hotel cleanliness, friendly staff, wellness area, organized ski bus just in front of the hotel. A very good idea for me was yoga, in the evening after skiing. That is the best combination 👍All the best, and thank you Bohinj Eco hotel, you made my holiday, even more beautiful 🥰”
“We’ve visited ECO Hotel for several times now, but every time they pull out something to impress us even more. Beside incredible location, excellent wellness,… the staff is heart of this hotel and after day or two, you’ll feel like home.”
“We were there second time and again everything was great. Friendly stuff, nice hotel, delicious food, good wellness and they also surprised us because we came back second year.”
“Me and my boyfriend took a weekend trip to Bohinj. We really enjoyed the surroundings and the hotel service of the hotel. The value was great for the location. Also breakfast and dinner at the hotel were top notch, we were so full, we did not eat lunch during the day. We will come back 🙂“
Carlton Hotel, Dublin Airport
Dublin, Ireland | Website
The bigger the city, the busier the airport. The busier the airport, the more airport hotels you will have. Just as with any other type of hotel, competition is fierce, meaning that online reviews are crucial.
With that in mind, we congratulate the Carlton Hotel Dublin Airport for their Travellers’ Choice 2022 award!
More than just a place to lay your head, the Carlton features a wide range of services, including multiple restaurants and bars, meeting and conference spaces, and even caters for weddings!
A commendable aspect of the Carlton’s success is how well they know the various guests that frequent the property, and how well they target each with various upgrades and add-ons to suit their stay type.
Now, over to Tripadvisor:
“Stayed overnight for business. Excellent room and facilities, very comfortable. Spacious, well ventilated and well equipped with most things you would need. Bed very comfortable and excellent WiFi throughout“
“Front staff was very nice. Check-in and check-out were easy. Room was clean and spacious. Wifi worked well. Convenient shuttle to-and-from the airport that ran on time. There are places to eat at the hotel and it is an easy drive into Dublin.“
“I stay here all the time. All the staff are brilliant and friendly . They make you feel like you are at home. Absolutely love the bar staff. Was staying on my own and they made sure I was ok all the time.“
“We stayed at this hotel on our recent trip to Dublin and were very impressed! We chose a balcony room which was definitely worth the extra money as the view of the planes coming in was fantastic, my son loved this. Very happy with the service. Location great as bus stop across the road to get in to the city which was only 3 euros. Very friendly staff and room very clean, perfect for our mini stay!“
The Mangosteen Ayurveda & Wellness Resort
Phuket, Thailand | Website
Head 10,000km from Dublin towards the east and you can end up in Phuket, where you will find The Mangosteen Ayurveda & Wellness Resort.
The number one Ayurveda Resort in Thailand, and member of Healing Hotels of the World, The Mangosteen is a family-owned and managed health boutique resort with authentic Ayurveda & Wellness Spa.
The resort offers packaged retreats, such as AyurYoga Panchakarma Retreats, Yoga Retreats, and various Healing Programs.
A relaxed tropical environment, quality accommodation and service, healthy nutrition, high end spa treatments and daily activity schedule are coming with every retreat program.
A key to the success of the Mangosteen is the connection the guests will have with everyone at the resort; including meeting the owner/operators very early in their stay.
Let’s see what past guests have said on Tripadvisor:
“A great place to stay. Wonderfull resort, a kind of paradise. Extremely friendly and service-minded staff. Great pool and houses. Great food in the restaurant and good Wine from the cellar. We can only recommend Mangosteen as a great place for a relaxing vacation.”
“Wow! What a great place. Between the staff, owners and the facility/grounds it was an amazing place to be in Phuket! We arrived tired and left refreshed. Thank you Mangosteen. Some highlights would be the personal service feeling without being too much. Food was great, cooking class, candlelight dinners.Massages are wonderful. The owners Hajo and Rose even arranged a few Muay Thai classes for us”
“The perfect place to relax, recharge and restart with new energy. I did 9 day Ayurveda programme. I felt home, always well taken care of and the messages and treatments were excellent and professional. I enjoyed every single moment very much and managed to reach my objective: relax and recharge. I’ll be back.”
“The property was calm and I could enjoy the pool, the massage, the yoga in a very relaxing way. The massage are EXCELLENT and the Yoga teachers are absolutely great. I needed a week to disconnect was just perfect.“
Coyote Bluff Estate
Montana, United States | Website
Finally, we head over the Pacific to Montana, where you will find Coyote Bluff Estate.
Nestled atop 32 acres, it features year-round breathtaking views of Flathead Lake, Mission Mountains, and the Flathead Valley.
Guests are always astounded at the beauty of this 10,000 square-foot custom designed luxury lodge, featuring over 17 different wood species and the rustic elegance that surrounds them.
Whether it’s the perfect romantic getaway, a vacation to see Glacier National Park, or looking for an elegant alternative to a hotel; Coyote Bluff Estate is designed to provide the comfort and luxury of a fine private residence.
In addition, they offer a full range of services designed to meet all guest expectations from the moment of arrival.
A truly world-class property that stuns guests as much with the highest level of service as much as the surrounding scenery, a look into the Tripadvisor reviews definitely paints a picture:
“Our stay was perfect from start to finish, from our arrival wine and nibbles to the freshly baked pastries for breakfast. The whole property is simply stunning, as are the views and the service to match. This is a 5 star property in every way and we would give plenty more if we could! We couldn’t find ANYTHING to criticise and we are visiting again next year!”
“You cannot fathom the experience you will have at Coyote Bluff. We are world travellers and this has been our favourite. The hosts have thought of absolutely every little detail from music choices in your room, to alcohol selections, to concierge help with making suggestions or even booking dinner reservations! We cannot wait to come back. In fact, I second guess doing this review because that means it’ll be booked even more!! Don’t hesitate. Book it!“
“This property and home was astonishing! The view was incredible and pictures cannot do it justice. We had such a peaceful and wonderful stay and will definelty be back! The hospitality we were shown was really amazing!”
“A stay at this property is as close to perfect as you will find. Everything exceeded our expectations from the accommodations, unbelievable scenic views, hospitality of the hosts, and awesome fresh baked morning pastries. It was truly a stay we will never forget. If you book a stay you will not be disappointed.”
So there you have it – literally a fraction of GuestJoy customers who were awarded Traveller’s Choice in 2022! What an absolute joy to read of the success of our customers – and let’s see how much better next year will be!
Are Tripadvisor reviews like these important to your property?
Reading the reviews of other guests is still one of the biggest influences on a guest’s decision to book their stay at a property.
Good quality reviews are critical to your property’s reputation and performance!
Did you know?
All the Tripadvisor reviews / review excerpts published in this article were collected via GuestJoy!
With GuestJoy’s Feedback module, you can effortlessly boost the number of quality Tripadvisor reviews listed for your property. Watch your ranking and rating skyrocket, and you too can be a potential winner of a Traveller’s Choice award – maybe even Best of the Best!
Our Feedback module is just one part of the GuestJoy CRM for hotels.
If you want to know how we can transform your property, get in touch with us today 😉
Hotel marketing helps you reach out to prospective guests and promote your business. And without it, you would struggle to succeed!
This portion of your daily job is probably the most important. As a hotelier, you must promote your hotel’s facilities and services, attract new guests, and encourage loyalty. Sound simple?
Well… hotel marketing is much more than that!
Considering the hotel industry has over 700.000 hotels worldwide, investing your time (and money!) in an effective hotel marketing strategy is paramount. Although travelers’ needs change over time and global events affect the way people travel, all in all, the hotel marketing principles remain the same.
In this article, I’ll offer you a complete overview of hotel marketing so that you can successfully promote your hotel.
What is hotel marketing?
Hotel marketing refers to the tools and strategies set in place to promote a hotel. The purpose is to bring in as many new guests as possible, and to retain past customers.
In simple words, potential guests are eager to travel and possibly visit your hotel. All you have to do is show them your hotel’s best features!
Knowing your target audience and your competition well will help you achieve your goals. If you succeed, then your hotel will be taking more bookings than ever before.
Why is hotel marketing important?
Without guests, there’s no business. Showing potential guests that you are available and why they should choose you over your competitors is the role of hotel marketing.
Additionally, it’s your chance to build a brand your customers trust. And if they trust your hotel, then they are more likely to tell their friends, and book with you again for future stays!
Knowing your guests
Once you understand what your guests want, it will be easier to offer exactly what they are looking for. So, how will you find out your guests’ deepest desires?
Well, a good place to start is with the online reviews for your property! You’ll have an insight into as to why they booked a room at your hotel. Also, you can find out what services your guests enjoy the most. Was it the superb dinner they had in your restaurant? Or the relaxing massage in your spa? Perhaps it was the wifi connection speed?
With this information, you can offer each guest precisely what they’re after!
Showing your hotel off
Making guests aware of your hotel’s best qualities is crucial. It might be sprawling gardens in a country estate, a stunning beach view, or something else unique at your property.
Making potential customers familiar with the best things about your hotel is key to winning them over. Some common ways to raise awareness to these things is to use email marketing, social media, or user-generated content.
Another way to do it is using promotions and special offers. Everyone loves a good deal, and I’m sure your guests are no different! When business is slow, presenting lower rates or a complimentary room upgrade will definitely capture your customer’s attention.
Keeping your guests close
Top-notch service is the key to success. But in order to encourage a guest to return, you must keep them close. How? Using modern-day technology, of course!
Digital marketing plays a key role when it comes to customer engagement. Through social media, you can show your long-time customers what you’ve been up to. And through email marketing, you can send them exclusive one-of-a-kind offers!
Digital marketing in the hospitality industry
The rise of the internet was a turning point in world history. Every business worldwide faced a new challenge: adapt or cease to exist. As a result, marketing strategies changed drastically. They became more focused on the company’s online presence and customers’ buying intentions.
Considering people spend most of their time online, most hotel marketing campaigns happen on the internet. If you are not using digital marketing, then you’re missing out on incredible opportunities!
Through digital marketing, you can actually measure your campaign’s effectiveness. Explore Google Analytics to learn more about how your visitors discovered your hotel. This is also a great tool to find your target audience, understand user behavior, analyze conversion rates, and improve ads and SEO content.
In the old days, marketing was only accessible to big companies. Advertising was expensive, leaving small companies out of the competition. However, since digital marketing is considerably cheaper, any hotel can benefit.
It helps you find your audience
Through online marketing, you can find specific customers. Depending on their demographics, location, and preferences, you’ll have the chance to develop a strategy focused on promoting your hotel to the right visitors.
It’s where people spend most time
According to “Digital 2022” report, an average internet user spends around 7 hours online! Whether it’s professional or personal usage, we spend most of our waking time browsing the web. This is why the internet is the perfect location to promote your hotel! People go online to search for accommodation options, compare rates or check on guest reviews before booking a room.
It’s personalized advertising
With online marketing, you can direct your message to specific groups of customers based on their preferences and make them feel you are speaking directly to them. Email marketing is the most used option when it comes to personalization. You can segment your audience, and provide personalized information on promotions and services that truly captivate your guests.
Hotel marketing strategies
Over the last century, travelers’ needs shifted, and the hospitality industry needed to adjust on several occasions. As a result, hotel owners are avid “people-readers”, constantly identifying new trends that satisfy the modern guest and lead the hotel business forward.
Define what makes you different
Research your competition. Learn how they work. Find out their strong points and weaknesses. Finally, ask yourself some questions: Why is your hotel better than the one down the road? What do you offer that your guests won’t find anywhere else?
This exercise is the perfect opportunity to realize how your hotel will stand out among others. Focus on showing potential guests something that your competition lacks.
Are you targeting families? Or maybe you offer pet-friendly accommodation, where families can enjoy their vacation at your hotel with their fur babies!
Map the booking journey
A customer journey map is a powerful tool since it helps you understand why some of your guests take long before completing a reservation. Additionally, you’ll have a clear insight into your customer experience and how you can improve. So how do you go about it?
- Create a buyer persona
- Define your goals
- Identify the touchpoints and stages
- Retrieve data from customer surveys to compare results
- Map future customer journey stages
Reward direct bookings
Every hotelier knows how important direct bookings are to hotel revenue. Besides saving a massive amount of money each year, direct bookings are also proof your guests trust your business!
So, why shouldn’t you thank them?
A complimentary room upgrade, a fruit basket in their room upon arrival, or a special discount are small gestures your guests will definitely enjoy! Let them know you appreciate their preference. That they are valuable to you. That you care about their happiness!
Promote the location
Marketing your hotel is important. However, potential guests aren’t booking a room only because of the amazing and expensive décor! They want to explore the surroundings. To explore your location’s history and culture!
Show your customers why they should stay at your hotel:
- What is there to do?
- What can they visit?
- What tips can you offer that only a local would know?
To complete this “information package”, you can build partnerships with local businesses. This way, you can offer services that you don’t provide on your hotel property and will help your guests learn more about your location.
Invest in the marketing budget during the reservation peak season
Do you know when your property’s occupancy is at its highest? If you don’t, then you’re missing out!
Knowing the time of the year when your customers book more rooms is a great marketing opportunity! Explore the advantages of email marketing or social media advertising to reach your target audience and get more bookings. Is there a world-class event happening close to your property? Learn what that specific audience is looking for, and present your hotel as a perfect solution.
Improve your customer service
Yes… I know you’ve heard it a thousand times… But, the truth is that your customer service must be top-notch from the very beginning and even after your guests have checked out!
You might have a bullet-proof marketing strategy, but if your customer service fails, all your efforts will be in vain. Ensure that your staff are well trained. A customer-first mindset is key to guaranteeing your hotel is successful. However, to accomplish this goal you must provide your employees with the right tools.
Build a customer loyalty program
Repeat business is important to any organisation. But in the hotel industry, it’s essential. Having returning customers means that you’ve successfully met their expectations. So, providing them with exclusive offers, such as special rates or free room upgrades, is a way to reward their loyalty. Additionally, you’ll ensure that they will keep coming back!
Most hospitality businesses segment their customers into different levels, depending on the previous number of stays. Each new reservation will grant points or discounts that can be redeemed on the next reservation. Find out which enrich your guest experience and what services you can offer.
Take advantage of technology
Nowadays, visiting a distant hotel is easier than you think! With virtual reality, you can offer potential guests a guided tour of your property. Show them the stunning facilities and incredible services you have at their disposal in promotional content.
Provide guests with the means check-in online or visit a virtual concierge. This way, your customers will be able to make restaurant reservations and spa appointments or check for information on activities and places to visit from the convenience of their own smartphone or computer.
5 ways to successfully promote your hotel
Although marketing offers several strategies to promote your hotel, there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” solution. Regardless of the approach you choose, it must be aligned with the campaign goals and property needs. To help you get started, I’ll let you know the best ways to make your hotel stand out!
1. Build a strong online presence
Most of your guests are miles away from your location. Yet, you can still keep in touch! Developing your hotel’s digital presence will help you reach a wider audience while updating your most loyal customers. How?
This is your digital “home” and where you present your hotel to potential guests! So, it’s important to guarantee they will easily find what they’re looking for. A user-friendly web page will help your guests virtually explore your property and make a reservation.
Your website can be so much more than showing great hotel photos and booking a room! Along with your user-friendly website, you can build a blog and offer video content, presenting the services provided, your location, and events happening in and around your hotel.
To do so, I’d suggest getting a content management system. It will help you organize and schedule our posts and avoid duplicate content. The best part is that it is so easy to use you don’t need a team of experts to take full advantage of its potential.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
In today’s digital world, SEO is definitely the most powerful tool you’ll find!
When people search online for their next destination, they often choose the first results appearing on the search engine results page. Why? It’s simple! Travelers understand Google ranks the most reliable options for their search query first. In their minds, booking a room with a hotel raking first place is likely a safe choice.
Because of this, if you’re looking to outrank your competitors, then you must definitely invest in SEO. It will help you please Google’s algorithm and lead you to top page results.
- Use on-page SEO so that Google sees you as a reliable source of information. Keyword research, optimized visual content, and backlinking are a few strategies that will definitely help you.
- Paid advertising will only take you so far. For Google’s algorithm, organic traffic is much more valuable since your website gets visitors without you investing money. You’ll get better results if you improve your website content and use social media to promote your business.
Google Analytics provides clear information to understand user behavior and intention. By monitoring your SEO strategy, you’ll be able to make needed changes that will help you reach your goals.
Conversion rate optimization
Once potential customers visit your optimized website, you must do everything you can to ensure they don’t leave without booking a room!
Improving your CRO, or conversion rate optimization, means that you are actively guiding your visitors through the sales funnels and convert them into paying customers. You can set an e-mail marketing campaign and dedicated landing page providing an exclusive offer, or developing an optimized website and prompting visitors with calls to action.
Remarketing is another strategy you can use to bolster your conversion rate.
Imagine someone visiting your website. You can clearly see what they were looking for but, for someone reason, they left without booking a room. Why did that happen? Maybe they found a better offer elsewhere? Or maybe, they just didn’t have enough time to complete the reservation!
With remarketing, you’ll be reminding your visitors about their buying intentions so that they return and finish the booking process. Email marketing campaigns and social media ads are usually the most used options.
2. Manage your guests’ preferences
In a people-centered business such as the hotel industry, knowing your guests well will help you succeed. As your hotel brand grows, so to does your customer base. For that reason, it becomes increasingly harder to know every guest by name.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is the perfect tool to help you meet your guests’ expectations. Besides saving contact details, you’ll have the opportunity to collect detailed information on their preferences and reservation records.
With a CRM platform, you’ll have a unique database to keep your customers engaged. Besides, you can use this valuable information to build a loyalty program and boost repeated guest reservations.
3. Email your guests every now and then
Email marketing campaigns are a cost-effective strategy that’s perfect for up swinging direct bookings and increasing customer loyalty.
However, before reaching out to your customers, ensure that you have their permission to use their contacts for marketing purposes. In Europe, the United States, and Canada, for example, there are strict regulations when it comes to data protection.
A CRM tool is key to building an email marketing campaign. You can segment your guests and offer them valuable and exclusive offers they will love.
4. Engage your customers through social media
Scrolling through social media has become a routine for most of us. Without even realizing it, we find ourselves reading the news headlines, checking on what our friends have been up to, and following our favorite celebrities.
In fact, users stated they felt inspired to travel after seeing their friend’s social media posts. And more than 70% said that they post photos of their vacations on social media.
For hotels, this is the perfect opportunity to promote business! Besides posting content on hotel facilities and services, you can use it to engage with customers. Offer last-minute deals or limited availability for exclusive offers. The fear of missing out will be so overwhelming that your guests will definitely book a room!
5. Work side by side with third-party channels
I know that as a hotelier, commissions are at the front of your mind when it comes to third-party channels. Even though you might be eager to convert these commissions into direct revenue for your hotel, they do serve a purpose: third-party channels help you gain visibility with a broader audience that you would struggle to find on your own!
Global Distribution System (GDS)
Travel agencies and travel operators use this system to get better deals with hotels when making a reservation for their clients. For hotels, it means defining contract rates, allotments, booking windows, and blackout dates that no other partners will have access to.
If you’re new to the hotel industry, this might seem tricky. Yet, with a channel manager, you’ll be able to upload the contract information to the system. This way, your hotel availability is always updated.
Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)
As a traveler, if you haven’t booked a room with a tour operator or directly with the hotel, chances are that you used an online travel agency. The same happens to your customers!
Popular platforms, such as Booking.com or Expedia, show your property to millions of potential guests worldwide. By defining the search filters, travelers will find your hotel, among others ranking for similar rates, services, and location.
Because of that, you must use high-quality photos of your hotel and encourage guests to leave positive online reviews on their stay. Hopefully you’ll outrank your competitors, and potential guests are more likely to book their stay with you!
Another way to use third-party channels to your advantage is using metasearch. Ever heard of this before? In a few words, metasearch engines, such as Trivago or TripAdvisor, gather information on hotel rooms and present it to potential guests.
For guests, it’s easier to compare rates and services and find the best deals. However, their journey to complete the purchase will be longer, as they will be redirected to different third-party websites.
To overcome a high abandonment rate, guarantee that guests will see the same rates for each room type or use a remarketing strategy. If your guests get lost along the journey, they will easily get back on track to complete the reservation.
How to build a solid hotel marketing strategy
Designing a marketing strategy is key for your business to succeed! Whether it’s a boutique hotel or an international hotel chain, you can get great results with proper planning. Now that you know which marketing strategies professionals use, it’s time to put your knowledge to good use!
1. Build a business summary
The marketing plan intends to provide clear information on your hotel to marketers and other professionals dealing with the communication strategy. For that reason, start by clearly identifying your hotel. Include the hotel’s name and location. Additionally, state your mission, vision, and values.
2. Conduct extensive market research
A comprehensive analysis of your competitors and customers will help you identify the right resources to reach your target audience.
Identify the market and your competitors
Start by researching the current state of the travel industry. Then, decide which date is most important and how you’ll use it to predict future trends and growth projections.
At this point, you can use a SWOT analysis to identify your competitors. It will be your chance to identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. You’ll be able to state what their business lacks and how you can fill in the gaps.
Identify your target audience
Your ideal customer will be the one buying your services. That’s why you must know who they are! Once your market research is complete, it will be easier to identify who is more likely to stay at your hotel. That will be your target audience.
Demographic information, such as age and gender, will help you understand your customers. However, it is also important to consider their location, profession, education level, preferences, and needs.
3. Define your marketing goals
Your goals should be crystal clear! People around you must understand your vision and what you hope to achieve. Besides which, it will be easier to analyze your campaign success in the future.
One way to master your goals statement is to use the SMART strategy. This method stands for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
How does this apply to you?
Let’s say that for your next marketing campaign, your goal is to increase your revenue on direct bookings by 15% until the end of the year. Using the SMART strategy, it would look something like this:
- Specific – ask yourself who should be in charge of this goal and what you need to accomplish it. Be as detailed as possible.
- Measurable – using numbers is a great approach to attain a measurable goal. In this example, the 15% increase is as clear as it can be.
- Achievable – identify which strategies you must put into action to attain your goal. It can be offering a lower rate for repeated guests or walk-ins or depend less on online travel agencies.
- Relevant – for your plan to succeed, it is important that your goals are meaningful to your company. It will allow you to focus on what’s important.
- Time-bound – when mentioning “until the end of the year” you are identifying until when you will take this goal into action.
4. Pinpoint your budget
Establishing a budget is a crucial phase where you guarantee you have enough resources to accomplish your goals. Once you’ve done your market research and identified who’s your target audience, it is time to decide how much you are willing to spend. A well-designed financial plan will help you decide on the marketing channels.
5. Marketing channels
Now is the time to set your plan in motion!
Decide how you want to reach your audience. If you’re just starting and are lucky enough to have a big budget, then go for sponsored content, pay-per-click, or native advertising. On the other hand, if you’re managing a hotel with a small budget, then put all your efforts into social media, email marketing, and personalized advertising.
With these tips, I’m sure you’ll create a thriving marketing plan!
Key concepts you must know
- Allotment – refers to a number of rooms hotels must always have available to a specific travel agency.
- Blackout dates – Upon signing a contract with a travel agency, the hotel defines specific dates that cannot be booked by travel agents.
- Booking window – refers to the period between a reservation being made and the guest’s arrival.
- Brand awareness – refers to how familiar customers are with a brand and its products or services.
- Conversion – refers to the moment when a visitor turns into a paying customer.
- Consumer behavior – studies how customers satisfy their needs and desires when choosing, buying, and using goods or services.
- Marketing channels – refer to the activities, people, and organizations that promote products and services to customers.
- Personalization – refers to using personal information to promote products and services to a targeted customer.
Hotel marketing plays a vital role in today’s travel industry. Considering accommodation is one of the largest expense people have while planning a trip, it is no wonder it quickly became a multi-billion dollar industry.
For this reason, hotel marketing has the job of connecting the right guests with the right services. It offers them the opportunity to enjoy the best customer experience, starting with the booking process.
However, the success of any hotel marketing strategy lies in other equally important factors. Impeccable customer service will highly affect your guests’ intent to return. Consequently, it will affect your ability to attract new customers and increase revenue. And, with a less income, it will be harder to improve your hotel facilities or pay better wages for high-performing employees.
As you can see, an effective marketing strategy will help you bring in potential customers and win repeat business. Yet it still matters to all departments within your hotel.
Guaranteeing your strategy is aligned with the service provided isn’t always easy. However, GuestJoy will help you achieve your goals effortlessly. With GuestJoy, you can present upsell opportunities, concierge services like online check-in, collect feedback an encourage positive reviews online, and much more. Take a moment out of your busy schedule and request a demo today!
For further readings, we recommend you the following articles:
- Hospitality Statistics – https://hoteltechreport.com/news/hospitality-statistics
- The future of hotel marketing – https://www.cvent.com/en/blog/hospitality/hotel-marketing-trends
- Modern History of the Hospitality Industry – https://hoteltechreport.com/news/modern-history-hospitality-industry
- COVID-19: The great hospitality reset – https://hospitalityinsights.ehl.edu/great-hospitality-reset
As Spring slowly takes hold and begins to warm things up, you’re probably looking forward to (or not looking forward to – no judgement!) the busy high season. High occupancy, good vibes, and revenue figures that are pleasing to the eye.
But prior to that busiest time of year, there’s good cause for you to focus more on room upgrades at your property. In fact, it wouldn’t be hyperbole to say that you should never underestimate the value that room upgrades bring to your business, notwithstanding your guest!
The revenue 💸
It might seem obvious, but it bears repeating: empty rooms are missed opportunities, and the first opportunity missed is the additional revenue.
Despite the fact that we’re arguably at the point of “Covid-normal”, I’d hazard a guess that there are many properties doing so well that they could do without a nice bump in the bottom line.
So if you don’t have particularly high occupancy yet, this is the best time to make lemonade from those lemons you have. And let’s not forget that selling upgrades frees up lower tier rooms, which are more likely to be booked, yielding – you guessed it – more revenue!
The referrals 🗣️
Poke around on Google and you will quite easily find multiple studies that state a sizeable majority of guests check property reviews as part of the booking process. However, there is an even greater influence on the booking process, and that’s word of mouth.
Providing such a good experience that a guest gives your property an organic referral should be what we aim for with every reservation. Room upgrades are one of the easiest ways to make your guests’ stay more memorable, more enjoyable, and therefore potentially get them to drop your name in conversation.
Picture it: two friends, work colleagues, whatever you like. One says they’re thinking of booking a stay in Barcelona for their Summer break. The other immediately chimes in and recounts how they stayed at your property not long ago on their Barcelona trip, that they took a room upgrade and they were so happy with it, they loved the view and especially the luxurious bathroom, and so on… It would be a safe bet that they would be looking up your property after such a glowing referral! That’s the power of word of mouth.
The rebookings ❤️
Following on from a great stay in a higher category room, a happy guest is far more likely to re-book with you because of their past experience.
Now of course, there is a portion of guests for whom this would never apply, and that’s fine. But there are many reservation types that would factor this in to their decision making process when they are planning to return to your part of the world:
- Larger cities: I know that I couldn’t do everything I want to do in London with just one stay!
- Celebrators: Guests who stay with you for a special occasion are more likely to book again after having such a good experience the first time round
- Event travellers: Whether it was for a concert, sporting event, or anything else really – if a guest had such a good first stay with you, why risk going with an unknown quantity?
- Regular holidaymakers: There is always a portion of guests who enjoy going to the same city, town, or village as part of their routine, for example an annual break. Make yours the property they want to keep returning to.
5 ways to help maximise upgrade conversions
And now, here are the most important things to do to ensure you can convert as many guests as possible:
Timing is everything
Why didn’t your guest opt for a higher category room when they made their booking? The answer is simple.
When making the initial reservation, most guests are conservative. Since this is the biggest expense of their trip along with flights (if applicable), they are using their booking wallet. They’re trying to keep the overall cost down.
But as time for their trip draws closer, they open their vacation wallet. The emotion of the journey invites them to enjoy and live a little. Thus, presenting guests with the chance to upgrade to a better room not too long before their arrival is going to yield the best results.
Incentivise the guest
Sometimes your guest might need a little bit of gentle persuasion in order to splash out. Consider teaming your room upgrade with an added bonus; for example, if the guest takes the upgrade and dines in your restaurant, they get a complimentary bottle of wine.
Sometimes it’s the little flourishes that you can add which really make the difference in your guest’s mind!
Use a little FOMO
One of the most consistent techniques to apply is that of scarcity. In your communications with your guest, consider using phrases and language that prompts them to take action, lest they miss out on the opportunity.
“We only have a few rooms of this category available – thought you might like to know!”
“Almost sold out at this price!”
“Get in quickly before another guest snaps it up!”
The other key incentive is displaying a discounted price. It’s consumer psychology 101; if a guest knows that they would secure the deal for a cheaper-than-advertised price, then it’s going to drive conversions.
Who hasn’t wanted to stay in a high-tier room, but never did because of the added expense? Well, even just seeing that “%” symbol can trigger the reaction in your guest that this is going to be their chance.
Don’t just offer the room
Be creative! You know the reasons guests choose to stay with you – or at least you should – target those guests with a room upgrade package!
- Celebrators: If you know guests stay at your property for things like birthdays and anniversaries, cater to them and make a package. Why stop at just upgrading the room? Include extras like wine, cakes, rose petals, flowers, hand-written notes, decorations – there’s so much room for creativity and your guests will absolutely love it!
- Girls’ nights/weekends: When the girls are going to get together, their propensity for splashing out a little more increases. Pair the room upgrade with a bottle of chilled Prosecco and canapes, in preparation for their big night out.
- Older couples: These guests still like to have a splurge; perhaps just not as dramatically as the previous personas. Pair the room upgrade with a sumptuous set menu dinner, tickets to a local attraction, or a delicious selection of gourmet treats – think cheese boards, pate, dips, and so on.
So what do you think? Are you going to revisit your room upgrade strategy? What other guest personas stay at your property, and how could you better engage them?
Remember, aside from pushing up your bottom line, you’re going to provide your guest with a more memorable experience! And that makes it far more likely they’ll think of you for their next booking, or also refer you to a friend or colleague.
GuestJoy now covers even more of the guest journey, ensuring guests have a seamless stay, and hoteliers can update their directories with ease.
Tallinn, Estonia, January 10th 2022: GuestJoy’s mission is to make it easy for hoteliers to provide their guests with a modern experience, and this is further underscored with the release of their new Guest Directory module.
Fitting in seamlessly with GuestJoy’s other modules, Guest Directory is certain to save hoteliers time and frustration, while enabling guests to access important hotel information in a way they expect to in 2022 – using their smart devices.
“Adding a Directory module to GuestJoy’s suite of tools simply made sense,” comments Alar Ülem, co-founder of GuestJoy. “After the initial shock of covid, hotels started to take up our online Check-in module in earnest. It proved that at the end of the day, guests were happy to embrace digital hotel experiences, and so now we’ve modernized the guest directory experience as well.”
The Guest Directory module sits alongside GuestJoy’s other modules, including Check-in, Upsell, Feedback, and Announcements.
Simplicity was the goal in designing the module, explains Andrew Martin, GuestJoy’s Customer Experience Manager. “No hotelier looks forward to updating their in-room directories. In fact, it’s often neglected due to the time and costs involved. That usually results in half-measures being used as workarounds. I’ve stayed in many properties where the directory had single pieces of information “redacted” with a black marker, or entire sections of information covered with a sticker to update it, rather than re-print every directory. So, our focus was to make updating the information in the directory as simple as possible. This means that updating the directory can be done in seconds – instead of days or weeks – and with no cost associated with it.”
Andrew continued to explain the experience for the guest. “We knew that having an app to download was never going to be an option – there are simply too many hurdles with apps.
“First, will the guest actually be bothered downloading and installing an app for what could potentially be the only time they stay in that property? Do they have space available on their device? Is their device compatible with the version of the app? These barriers and more really do make an app a poor choice.
“Therefore, we opted for a web app, which is a website that looks and behaves just like an app on your phone. It’s accessed instantly by scanning a QR code, so it’s quick and easy. There are many benefits to QR codes as well; they can be printed and displayed in the room, as well as in any other part of the property. Also, they can be made to look quite stylish as well.
“With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, and subsequent rules stipulating certain cleaning measures in hotels (or in some cases, guest expectations of such measures), a physical in-room guest directory was seen as both a complex, time-consuming cleaning touch point on the hotel’s side, and a risk of or being perceived as unclean from the guest’s perspective.
“With the advent of this great new module, hoteliers are in a definite win-win situation; no more putting off updating guest directories, and guests can access hotel information in a manner that they simply expect to in this day and age.” Andrew concluded.
GuestJoy’s Directory module is available on its own, or accompanied by the other modules to produce a seamless, complete guest experience.
A complete guest experience platform, GuestJoy enables hotels of all styles and sizes to provide their guests with a modern stay, with upselling, online check-in, announcements, feedback, and a digital guest directory in one.
Reach out to your guests with upsell offers tailored to them before they arrive at your property. Impress and delight your guests with upgrades, services, and products that will enhance their stay with you, all while maximizing revPAR – without your team doing a single thing!
Besides the Upselling emails, you have the possibility to send announcements to a select group of guests based on a date range. No more individual emails!
Our online check-in feature is seamless, easy to use, fast and fully customizable. This will save you time, work and it’s contactless.
Once guests are at your property, they can seamlessly access your digital room directory to find any property information they need – no app download is required.
GuestJoy’s feedback module will allow you to ask for reviews, retarget and handle any issue immediately.
This post was written by Andrew Martin, GuestJoy’s Customer Experience Manager
It started with an email from one customer.
“Andrew, four of our properties have been awarded Travellers’ Choice 2021 from Tripadvisor; they have provided us with some graphics to use in our marketing. Can you suggest how we could incorporate these into our pre-arrival emails?”
Next, there was a post by a customer on LinkedIn: “Honored and proud! Apotek Hotel has been chosen as the “Travellers’ Choice” Winner for 2021.”
“Well that’s really good!”, I remember thinking to myself at the time. It was nice to see a some customers earn this recognition.
A few more popped up over the next couple of days – but this trickle soon turned into a flood 🌊
I decided that I needed to find out just how many of our customers had won. Cue a lot of manual work, but work that turned out to be well worth it.
In total, a staggering 70% of our customers earned this award across 23 countries. This. Is. HUGE.
2 of our customers were even listed in the top 25 hotels in Europe. Wow. WOW.
What is the Travellers’ Choice designation?
To begin with, in Tripadvisor’s own words:
Travel in 2020 looked different, to say the least. We stayed a little closer to home, hit the open road, took to the great outdoors, and saw our own hometowns in a new light. And millions of travellers everywhere shared reviews and opinions based on those places and moments that left an impression.
Our Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best list is drawn from the experiences of the best experts possible: Real travellers who’ve been there before.
From family resorts to boutique charmers: the highest-rated stays around the world.Tripadvisor
So in every market, Tripadvisor digs through all of their reviews. Only the properties with happiest guests, posting the best reviews, will earn the designation of Travellers’ Choice.
What it means to be a Travellers’ Choice winner after 2020
Tripadvisor said it well: “Travel in 2020 looked different, to say the least”. Hotels needed to pivot and fundamentally adjust how they operate if they were to survive. Sadly, not everyone made it. We lost a few long-term customers to closure and bankruptcy.
“…the first guests to return became messengers. They were the barometer to all other potential guests as to whether they felt the hotel had “got it right” via the reviews they would leave.”
But for those who managed to keep trading, getting it right was going to make or break their business. Travellers would decide if they felt comfortable; if the measures put in place at a property gave them confidence, and that they were still able to enjoy their stay. And this would be reflected in the reviews that they posted on Tripadvisor.
Enter: GuestJoy, and the complete guest experience
Staff are wearing masks. There’s a perspex panel at the reception desk between guests and staff. Cleaning regimes have changed. All these changes are vital – but equally so is the guest experience, and GuestJoy proved itself pivotal for our customers and their guests.
Throughout 2020, timely, effective guest communication became absolutely crucial as situations changed and evolved from day to day. Hoteliers using GuestJoy had complete control of how they kept their guests informed – and it all happens automatically – as soon as a reservation is made.
Prior to arrival
The moment guests make their booking, they receive a confirmation email which is able to be customised with the content the hotelier wants them to see. This is a big step up from boring, plain-text emails, or emails where hotels can’t customise the content (or worse – both!), usually sent by the PMS.
Guests choose hotels over short-stay accommodation for a reason – the opportunity to take advantage of little luxuries and experiences they might not have access to in their day-to-day life. But with the onset of the pandemic, a lot of the offers hotels might have presented their guests were often no longer possible. Hoteliers needed to innovate and provide guests with unique ways that they could enhance their stay.
And innovate they did! In 2020, we saw so many hotels coming up with new upsell and cross-sell possibilities for their guests, despite most of them needing to adhere to strict rules and guidelines. Through GuestJoy, guests were able to customise their stay with ultra-personalised offers and upgrades presented by their hotel. Almost ironically, many hotels using GuestJoy had some of their best upsell figures ever.
One of the biggest changes to hospitality in 2020 was the increased adoption of contactless check-in solutions. GuestJoy had offered online check-in for over a year by that point, but the pandemic was the catalyst the hospitality sector needed to finally move forward, and most hotels will not be going back.
Needless to say, guests have loved checking in online as well. A fast, safe arrival, without needing to stand in (now socially-distanced) queues is no longer just a nice thing – it’s an expectation. After all, we’ve been checking in online for our flights for years now; why shouldn’t it be the same at hotels?
Hoteliers discovered they too loved the efficiency of online check-in. The average guest spends 8 minutes at reception completing their check-in – and this doesn’t include time spent standing in lines. This meant that over the course of a day, many labour hours were saved.
GuestJoy’s check-in form is completely customisable, so that hoteliers can collect any information they need. Passport/ID scans, digital signature, data for accompanying guests, credit card details, terms and conditions, and any question they could think of – this endless flexibility is now so popular, that submitting check-in data is now the number one action completed on the GuestJoy platform 😮
I’ve seen so many ways that hotels have adapted to the changing conditions over the past 15 months. One of the most impressive were hotels who used GuestJoy to provide a digital guest compendium.
Understandably, the guest compendium is a complex cleaning touch point. It would take a lot of time to effectively disinfect; and guests might not even be confident that the compendium was clean, and avoid using it. Again, another example of hospitality adopting technology for the good of everyone, and many of our hotels will not be switching back.
During-stay feedback became more important than ever during 2020. Being able to reach out to guests throughout their stay to check if everything is going well provides hoteliers with an opportunity to potentially resolve issues while the guest is still at the property. Naturally, this is much better than finding out about said issues in the form of a bad review once the guest has left.
This is the stage of the guest journey that became far more important last year.
Many hotels closed for a period, either due to government-mandated shutdowns, or such had low occupancy that it made no sense to trade at all.
Once hotels began to reopen, the first guests to return became messengers. They were the barometer to all other potential guests as to whether they felt the hotel had “got it right” via the reviews they would leave. These reviews in turn heavily influenced the choice that subsequent guests would make when choosing which property they would book.
This is where GuestJoy’s post-stay feedback emails proved invaluable.
It’s one thing to have a happy guest – but will they let others know about it? Thanking guests for their stay, and then inviting them to complete the Tripadvisor review right out of the GuestJoy email made it simple for guests to leave their opinions.
And remember, that’s how Travellers’ Choice is awarded – a high number of positive reviews posted. And almost all of GuestJoy’s customers collect more Tripadvisor reviews via GuestJoy than submitted to Tripadvisor directly!
70% of our customers being designated as Travellers’ Choice is absolutely amazing to hear, but at the same time, we cannot say we are shocked about it. The reason is because GuestJoy truly covers the entire guest experience.
Having separate systems in place at a hotel to cover everything that GuestJoy does will inevitably lead a poor guest experience; one that is jarring and frustrating.
Picture it yourself: You book your hotel stay and receive a bland email confirming your reservation. The hotel has already missed its chance to make a good first impression.
Next, you are prompted to enhance your stay with another email – one that looks completely different from the first. You’re taken into a new environment that you need to learn in order to customise your stay.
You get notified that you can check-in online, which is great; but once again, the notification you receive bears no resemblance to the others you’ve previously received. You may even start to question which of these are genuinely from the hotel you’re staying at.
Finally, you start the check-in process, only to be presented with another new environment to figure out how to navigate.
Once your stay is complete, yet another email – different from the previous ones, of course – asks how your stay was.
Do you want to force that upon your guest?
I’d hazard a guess and say no.
And that’s not even taking into consideration the time involved to set up, train staff, and maintain each of those separate systems, let alone pay for them.
Finally, any system that only serves one purpose in this day and age is going to be redundant very soon. It just makes good sense to cover everything in one comprehensive platform.
An expected outcome
I mentioned earlier how I was happy but not at all shocked that so many of our hotels earned the Travellers’ Choice 2021 designation.
To me, it is a sign that GuestJoy is merely doing what it says on the box. It’s helping hoteliers around the world to provide their guests with a complete experience. One that isn’t over-the-top with tech gimmickry, yet makes everything so easy and accessible.
To our customers who earned this accolade, I’d like to congratulate you all. You’re doing exactly what you should be doing, and your guests have recognised you for that.
Some companies claim – rather baselessly – to be the number 1 in their field.
We’d rather just let the numbers speak for themselves 🙂📈
Hi! 👋 Andrew here; I’m GuestJoy’s Customer Experience Manager. Today, I want to talk about the frequently asked question our potential customers have: How long does it really take to set up GuestJoy?
One of the main reasons some hotels have apprehensions about introducing a new system – any system – is the question of time. How long is this going to take? How much of my and my colleagues’ time will it occupy?
These are very common and natural concerns. None of us are sitting around, twiddling our thumbs, waiting for something to do. We’re all busy – that’s why we have jobs – there’s plenty of work to be done!
With that in mind, we thought it would be a good opportunity to give you the full picture of what to expect when setting up GuestJoy for your property; from when you sign on the dotted line, to set the system live.
First things first 👩🏫
Our customers constantly give us feedback that GuestJoy is a simple system to use, and we’re very proud of that! But the first step towards going live is to have an onboarding session – usually with me – just so you have all the information you’ll need and know how everything ticks in the GuestJoy app.
This session takes no more than an hour, so the only thing that will affect how long it takes to go live is how soon you can make the appointment!
Who should join the onboarding session? 🤔
A simple rule would be that just the people who will make decisions on how GuestJoy is configured should attend. A definite benefit of the session is that we’ll make some key decisions together about how you want GuestJoy to work, which further streamlines the whole process.
For staff whose only responsibility in the system will be, for example, fulfilling the order requests that your guests submit, then it’s very easy to show these staff what to do yourself.
If you can’t get all the necessary staff to attend the one onboarding session, then don’t worry. We’re more than happy to do additional sessions as required, and it doesn’t cost you anything either 🙂
Customizing the app 🛠
Now it’s time to start configuring GuestJoy to match your preferences.
We always recommend setting up the emails you want your guests to receive as the first task; after all, emails are the fundamental driver for everything that GuestJoy does.
Remember that you can have emails being sent to your guests pre-, during-, and post-stay for various purposes, but the minimum that we recommend having in place from day 1 is a pre-arrival upsell email, a post-stay feedback email, and a feedback reminder email to help capture those extra reviews.
Customizing emails in GuestJoy is easy, and dare we say it, fun! All you need to do is add your property’s images in place of our example ones, customize the text of the email, and decide when the email should be automatically sent to your guests. Simple!
Next up are the services, products, and upgrades you want to offer your guests. During the onboarding session, we will have discussed examples of interesting offers, and also what you feel you might be able to offer your guests. It’s also likely we will have set up one or more real offers as well, so you should be well on your way.
Naturally, when you go to add new offers, we have some templates for the most common and best-selling ones, so you don’t always need to start from scratch!
Then you will have some operational decisions to make, such as who should receive the notification emails from GuestJoy for different notification types, and adjusting some other settings to suit how you want GuestJoy to work for your property.
Final inspection 🔍
Naturally, once you feel you’re ready to go, we’ll have a look over your configuration to make sure everything looks right, and we’ll make suggestions for anything we think could be improved.
From that point, you simply need to decide when you would like to go live, and you’ll be up and running!
How long does it actually take? ⏳
Of course, there are many factors that can affect how long it takes to get things up and running.
The most significant would be the languages you want to have active; GuestJoy currently supports 20 languages, so each one that you have active will require time to add the content for it.
Beyond that, there are some human factors to consider, and these are usually due to the size of your property. For example, in a larger hotel, multiple departments might be responsible for different aspects of GuestJoy, and as we all know, sometimes they operate at different speeds!
Having said that, the actual effort is not great and will not take a lot of time; it’s more down to how long people take to make decisions.
In smaller properties, or where a single person has been put in charge of setting up the system, things usually move more quickly.
In most cases, our customers take 3 to 4 days to complete the setup, chipping away at the tasks here and there as they go about their regular routines.
We even have many customers who have set up GuestJoy for their property in less than an hour!
Definitely not a project 🎉
I suppose the main takeaway I’d like you to have from this article is that implementing GuestJoy is not the same thing as implementing a new PMS, revenue management system, or just about any other large-scale system that you find in properties of any size.
Phenomenal support whenever you need it 💪
Add to that our absolutely stellar level of support. We pride ourselves on having friendly, useful, and above all, responsive help for all our customers.
If you have any questions during the setup phase, the quickest way to get an answer is via our in-app chat. There are no bots – you’ll be talking with one of our team members right away.
If you’d prefer to send us an email, you won’t be waiting days – or even hours – for a reply.
Again, we aim to reply to emails as they come through to us; and even if we aren’t able to provide you with a resolution with that first response, we’ll still be treating your request the way we’d like our own to be!
You’ll wonder how you ever survived without it 🧐
GuestJoy is a powerful, yet simple to use platform which, without a lot of effort, will be up and running for your property in very little time.
And once the setup is done, GuestJoy doesn’t take up any of your time days to day. It will happily run in the background, automatically; when a guest requests something, then it will be up to you and your staff to do what they do best – providing the human side of the guest experience!
“2020” – it feels weird to say, doesn’t it? Not just a new year, but a new decade! But before we boldly go forth into this new, futuristic time, let’s have a look back at the year that was at GuestJoy.
Wow, that was a lot to process! What was your favorite stat of 2019? Which of these seemed most interesting for your property?
We hope you had a great 2019, and wish you a safe, happy, and prosperous 2020. Let’s see what the new decade will bring!
Today’s post was written by Andrew Martin – GuestJoy’s Customer Experience Manager
I have a confession to make. It isn’t easy to admit it in this sector but… I’m an Airbnb traveler.
The forbidden logo
There. I said it. Please don’t judge me too quickly! I use Airbnb when I travel for leisure. For me, it’s about simplicity and convenience. I want to stay somewhere central, cheap, and basic. When I travel for leisure, all I want is a place to sleep at night, and I am out and about discovering during the day. I don’t want your upsell! During the holiday I had in Spain in April, I visited Barcelona, Valencia, and Madrid. In all 3 cities, my wife and I sought somewhere to stay in the best location possible so that we wouldn’t lose any time making our way to the sites we wanted to visit. But this was not the only way that I travel. In my previous role, I had to do a lot of travel. The length of stays ranged from a night to a week, and when I was on those trips, my guest persona changed. Suddenly, I was happy to spend some of my own money on upsell offers, because I wasn’t paying a cent for the trip! The same goes when I was on my honeymoon, which was a 3 week trip around Japan. Was I trying to put a smile on my wife’s face with surprises and experiences on that trip? You bet I was! And the majority of what I spent was with the hotels we were staying at.
Know the personas at your hotel
There is probably a wide range of types of guests who stay at your property. Naturally, some types will stay with you more than others. When it comes to upselling, these are the guests you are most likely to target. Let’s choose a few common guest personas before we go any further: Couples on holiday: They feel as though they’ve earned themselves a break, and part of that includes staying at your hotel. It might even be their first trip away without the kids! Celebrators: These guests love the idea of staying in a hotel as part of birthdays, anniversaries, etc. They’re always looking for ways to make their stay more memorable. Wealthy retirees: They’ve worked hard, the nest is empty, and now enjoying themselves is their prerogative. The subconscious motto of “We’ve earned it!” drives them to spend more on a special experience while at your hotel. Knowing the guest personas at your hotel allows you to formulate offers that really appeal to their needs or desires. This should be any hotel’s priority when it comes to creating an upsell strategy. But determining what you intend to sell is only the first step. Today, hotels need to do more than just present guests with a product or service that they might be interested in.
Think about why many guests choose a hotel over an Airbnb
Remember before, when I was sheepishly confessing to you my preference for Airbnb when I travel? That’s all well and good for me. But for a hotelier, the advent of Airbnb and its competitors has taken a chunk out of hotel revenue. Your revenue. And they did it because they saw a segment of travelers who weren’t really interested in extra products or services. Here’s a quick hypothetical: How many Airbnb travelers have ever ordered a bottle of Prosecco? How many of them upgraded their room? Did any of them ever book a dinner in the Airbnb’s restaurant? We know, of course, that none of this has ever happened – because that isn’t why they stay at an Airbnb property. The same logic can be applied to a large proportion of your guests: Many of them choose to stay in a hotel because they want the hotel experience. They want to feel cared for; they want the chance to enhance their stay; they want to be able to rely on your services. This is where hotels need to cement the biggest advantage they have over Airbnb.
Don’t sell a product or service; sell an experience.
Upsell gets harder the moment you forget to target the experience. Now, more than ever, it’s vital to connect with your guests’ emotions in order to engage them and foster the urge to buy. As the old adage goes; “Don’t sell a stay – sell a memory!”. With that in mind, we’re going to look at how to package your offers in a way that appeals to guest’s heart.
Prosecco: The current queen of in-room drink orders
At the moment it’s hard to beat the popularity of these Italian bubbles (Bonus tip: The new king will be Cava – be ready!). But even this humble beverage can be helped by selling the experience rather than the bottle itself. Selling the product: The good: The guest knows exactly what they’ll get, I suppose? The bad: It’s about as interesting as reading up on income tax laws. The image is purely utilitarian. Selling the experience: The good: The description empathizes with the guest’s arduous journey and invites them to relax and enjoy their favorite sparkling white. The offer name is charming and the image used humanizes the experience; the guest is relieved to have that glass in her hand. The bad: …Your staff will be busier fulfilling all those orders for Prosecco? If that’s at all a bad thing?
Packaging offers to sell more
The concept of the “Extra Value Meal”, a set combination of menu items, was created by one McDonald’s restaurant manager in 1991. Sales at that McDonald’s increased dramatically, as customers didn’t need to stare at dozens of items on a menu board to figure out what they wanted. This same concept works for experiences in your hotel. It’s one thing to sell a room upgrade with extras; another thing entirely to sell a package as an experience. Let’s have a look now:
Upgrade the experience – not just the room
Let’s now look at our Celebrators. The fact they are already at our hotel to mark a special occasion is already enough to know that they will be interested in enhancing their stay. And, what better way to do that by upgrading not only their room, but their whole experience? Selling the products/services: The good: Not much, honestly. The bad: Guests won’t be excited or emotionally involved after reading such a description. Selling the experience: The good: The emotional connection will be made, because the description focuses on the experience and the benefits of the package, rather than just describing each part of it. The bad: We didn’t have a better image to display, but I’m sure you can picture the scene with the cake and Champagne being displayed in the higher category room.
The Wealthy Retirees
These couples are more than willing to spend more when they stay in hotels, but only if you sell the right experience. They want high-quality experiences, and your offer should be written accordingly. Let’s see what the difference is: Selling the products: The good: Honestly, there is basically nothing good about this offer. We’ll explain: The bad: Starting with the image. Guests don’t need to see a picture of your restaurant; they’ve probably seen one somewhere already. Instead, show your guests the food they will be served! Whet their appetite with a simple image. Next, the offer title. It’s alright, I suppose; but it could definitely be improved. Then, reading the description – what’s the big mistake here? No information about the actual dishes! And zero effort to sell it as an experience. Let’s see how it can be improved. Selling the experience: The good: We’ve got a lot to list here!
- The image is bright and attractive, and actually shows one of the dishes
- The offer title is in French. It seems so simple, but ask almost anybody which language they associate with fine dining, and French comes to mind more often than not.
- The language used in the description appeals directly to the guests: curates a new dining experience; focuses on high-quality local produce; 3 sumptuous courses; your dining experience; excellent local wines. These are the key phrases that our target demographic will react to most when deciding if they want to book their table.
- The dishes are actually listed! The guest knows what they will get!
The bad: What do you think?
How to convert some of your offers into experiences
Now, not every offer can be described as an experience. Just how sexy can we make an airport transfer look?! However, it’s always worth having as many offers as practically possible which sell the experience the guest wants to have. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a marketing genius to do it. Just follow these simple guidelines:
Simplify the language
- Try not to go into too much detail about the offer or the components of each offer. Remember – enough is as good as a feast!
- Focus on the benefits of the experience, rather than the offer, or components of the offer.
“Humanise” the offer
- Use conversational language – don’t just write a dry list of things the guest will get.
- Use the appropriate tone for your hotel and target guests. Be mindful of the tone of your words, whether you involve humor, or keep things high class, and so on. Decide how you’d like guests to perceive your hotel, and write using a tone that instills that perception in the mind of your guests.
Don’t be afraid to be creative
Remember, your guests are at your hotel because they want the hotel experience. How creative can you get with what you offer them? Test out new ideas and see what clicks with them, and what doesn’t.
We are the experts in selling experiences.
If you’ve had a mini-epiphany after reading this, but are not sure where to start – talk to us! We’re more than just a software company. We’re experts in helping hotels master upsell strategies like this and increase revenue. But more importantly, we’re great at helping you connect with your guests. So… What are you selling?