How to Not Solely Base Your Boutique Hotel’s Re-Engagement Strategy Off of Discounts and Promotions
The repercussions of Covid-19 on the hospitality industry have undoubtedly been devastating. In an effort to mitigate such severe loss, hoteliers are developing their contingency plans. Some of these plans might include slashed prices and massive promotions. While we understand hoteliers are navigating uncharted waters, and decisions to offer discounts are made with the best of intentions, we’re quick to advise against that strategy, as we believe hotels can better position themselves by instead leveraging their worth.
People now, more than ever, are chomping at the bit to travel again. While under the stay-at-home orders, the general public is not immune to wanderlust. And so, many are at home, researching destinations, and accommodations. We are expecting leisure markets, particularly beachside boutique hotels, to rebound first. Because of this, we advise those within that market to think twice before drastically discounting their prices. With an impending and inevitable influx of travelers with this exact market in mind, there is no reason to offer insane deals.
Once travel becomes a viable option again, it’s imperative that luxury boutique hotels maintain their brand identity. By slashing prices and offering too-good-to-be-true discounts, these hotels start appealing to those outside of their ideal clientele. Attracting the wrong type of clientele weakens brand identity and muddies the target market. As a luxury boutique hotel, you’re likely looking to attract experienced and conscious travelers, guests that are inclined to leave positive reviews, and are considerate of staff and other guests. Additionally, doing so may lower the hotel’s perceived value and set a bad precedent. Please do not sacrifice your quality and integrity here. Know that there will be enough demand that so long as you stay competitive and on the upper tier of pricing provide value and not discount your value, you will rebound faster and stronger. Instead, consider other ways to help incentivize booking to your target market:
Reward for Booking Direct & Large Groups
When guests book directly, hotels are given the opportunity to develop a more personalized relationship with them. You’re communicating with them directly, which gives you the chance to add additional value to their experience. Consider providing gifts upon check-in to those who book directly, whether that looks like a nice bottle of wine, free breakfast, or free parking. Or, as you’re in connection with them prior to their stay, maybe you arrange free airport pick-up for them, or offer them late check-in.
We also suggest incentivizing larger-sized groups. Perhaps their freebies come in the form of a fourth night free, or free upgrades. Other local businesses might be interested in working with you to provide your large groups with discounts. We suggest connecting with local excursions or group tour companies and discussing how you might be able to work together here.
Offering Flexible Booking
Especially during times of uncertainty, offering flexible booking can be another great booking incentive. Allow guests flexibility if they should need to change their dates of arrival within a certain time frame.
Establish Trust with Your Customers
If you haven’t already integrated drip campaigns in your marketing strategy, now is a great time to do so. These drip campaigns can allow you to maintain customer loyalty through trust points and support organic upsell opportunities. For example, should guests book early on, they might receive updates on events or experiences pertaining to their destination, allowing for higher touch point engagement. This is also a great opportunity to partner with other local companies (think: excursion companies, nightclubs, transportation services) and perhaps provide a discount on booking.
Along with travel, people will be craving connection and experiences more than ever. Consider incorporating local or cultural activities in your space. This could look like art installations or shows, or musical performances. Depending on your clientele and the personality of your hotel, you might take things in the direction of hosting intentional networking events, yoga classes, or even a pool party equipped with a DJ and maybe an extended happy hour. If you’d like to learn more about which kind of events might work for your locations, we’d love to chat with you.
Before offering significant promotions on hotel stays, know that the demand for travel is waiting for us on the other side of this, and discounts aren’t necessarily the answer to you getting there faster. Consider the information above and how you may be able to incentivize customers to stay and get back to good health without lowering your prices or value.