When we talk about industries caught up in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the UK’s hospitality market is undoubtedly one that springs to mind. With turnover in the industry falling by over 50% in 2020 – a £10 billion-plus shortfall on the year prior – there were serious questions about the challenges laying ahead for hotel owners in a potentially much-revised post-pandemic market.
That said, things didn’t change as much as many speculated they would and, thankfully, the world of hospitality is recovering, albeit with new challenges and opportunities to consider. Less work travel. More UK staycationers. A hyper-focus on hygiene and customer safety. Still, with all these in mind, the bottom line remains the same: getting customers through the door.
Whether you’re an independent hotel owner or you run a chain, then, what’s the secret to attracting customers to your hotel?
If there’s a market where reviews matter, it has to be hospitality. A 2019 study from TripAdvisor and Ipsos MORI found that 81% of travellers look at reviews before deciding on a booking – and one could speculate that that figure might be even higher today. Take a look at more research on the impact of reviews and you’ll find that having a high rating attached to your hotel massively boosts the likelihood of would-be customers booking as well as their willingness to pay higher rates.
How to boost your chances of getting reviews? Adding the option to your checkout process, incentivising your guests to leave one and sending out customisable surveys to those who’ve stayed with you previously are all helpful.
Streamline the booking process
It’d be an awful shame to lose a willing customer in the midst of an unnecessarily complicated booking experience – and rest assured, while you may not yet have simplified your booking process, many of your competitors have.
Revising how your customers book their stay can be made part of a wider process to boost your SEO, advertising and social-media presence. If all of those elements are up to scratch, the user booking process needs to match up, too.
The best way to do this is to adopt a user-friendly booking engine that is primely positioned at the top of every page of your website.
Protect your interests
Now is a good time to consider your hotel’s insurance needs. While not directly part of your promotional efforts to welcome more guests, having your business fundamentals accounted for is essential to keeping things running smoothly.
These days, you can get customisable and – perhaps more importantly – affordable insurance packages as per your needs as a business. Insuring your hotel properly means you can focus on the front end of your operation safe in the knowledge that, if anything goes wrong, you can handle it and move on quickly.
Create an experience worthy of remembering
We started this article talking about generating positive customer reviews and getting people to click ‘book’. For all your nifty promotional endeavours, the only way you’ll truly do that is if your product is up to scratch each and every day.
But what makes a good stay? That really boils down to nailing the fundamentals: creating great value, exceptional customer service and looking after your staff are some areas with which you’re no doubt already in tune.
Making your hotel a great place to stay is another article entirely but, when we come to talk about how to attract more guests to your enterprise, know that it all starts with the quality of your offering.
With the industry’s recovery looking bright, hotel owners can start to forget about post-Covid woes and start looking to the new normal of the hospitality market. Certainly when it comes to attracting guests to your hotel, not much has changed in the fundamentals but, like the market itself, there are some interesting new opportunities of which to take advantage.
Here’s to a hectic 2023 and beyond.