In the realm of luxury hospitality, there are countless ways to drive revenue to your brand. Among them: creating strong relationships with your guests and providing them with a consistently seamless experience, whether in person or digitally.
Taking that into account, we approached our Executive Vice President of Operations, Ian Cornish, for his take on establishing and sustaining consumer relationships by streamlining the online booking funnel.
1. Implement a Sign-Up Call-to-Action Feature for Engaged Visitors
This may seem intuitive, but prompting visitors who have spent time exploring your site with a message asking if they would be interested in receiving more information about your brand can connect you with guests who are more likely to become a customer in the future.
The key lies in knowing just when a particular user has become engaged enough to want to receive those room offers and food and beverage specials – which is where average time on page comes in. We recently used this method to implement a “Stay in Touch” message for Shutters on the Beach and Casa del Mar, targeting visitors who spent more than the website’s average time on page to capture as many leads as possible. We then segment those leads based on interest (hotel guests, restaurant guests, and spa guests).
2. Create an Exclusive Email Offer
Consistent with the level of service offered by properties in the luxury hospitality field, email correspondences and offers are about making the guest feel special. Don’t just offer them any package, but rather, reward them with an invitation-only package that isn’t available elsewhere. For instance, if your hotel group is opening a new property, invite guests who have previously stayed at your other properties to book with a special rate. Or, give recurring restaurant guests first dibs on reservations for an upcoming private tasting with the Executive Chef.
The package can still be customized to suit your needs, but keep it exclusive. It’s something that guests will appreciate whether they have stayed at the property yet or not.
3. Clarify Hotel Availability on the Booking Engine
You have convinced the guest to reserve a stay. Now, you want to make the booking process as simple as possible to ensure that the guest does not abandon the reservation. If days appear as available but turn out to be unavailable, you run the risk of losing the booking. If there are an unreasonable number of steps to go through, the guest is probably already pulling up Expedia.
Provide as much information about rates and availability as you can, especially when there are strict stay restrictions. You can do this with tooltips (hints that pop up when you hover your mouse over a certain area, like a date) and helpful notes. “Be as transparent as possible about availability,” says Ian, “making it a logical, effortless process to avoid any potential frustrations a guest might encounter.”
4. Offer a Room Upgrade/Package During Booking
Your last opportunity to drive as much additional revenue as possible comes in the form of a room upgrade or package offered during the booking process. Present offers in a digestible manner, such as citing the difference between two room rates (like an additional $50 per night) rather than the full price of the next-tier room. Says Ian, “Without being intrusive, it’s your last opportunity to upsell the guest before completing the booking.”