5 lessons from an Irish hotel securing direct bookings during Stage 5 lockdown
How hotel brands can take advantage of website traffic despite being closed
Within today's context, hotels around the globe have been facing the same recurring problems: strict regulatory procedures and, on a more troubling note, temporary hotel closures. However, even if your hotel is experiencing a shutdown, don't forget that quite a handful of potential guests are still visiting your hotel website as they search for a nice vacation away from home. With this in mind, be sure to adapt your marketing communication to win over as many of these visitors as possible, so that your hotel is ready to blast off once those doors reopen.
At The Hotels Network, we believe that it all starts with developing a strong direct booking game plan, just like the Savoy Hotel Limerick, one of our client hotels who used their times of closure as an opportunity to implement more facets in website optimization.
Savoy Hotel Limerick: optimizing hotel website conversion
The Savoy Hotel Limerick, a beautiful and elegant luxurious boutique hotel located in the heart of Limerick City, has worked intensively on optimizing their website while closed, turning a highly challenging situation into an opportunity. With their current shutdown planned to be lifted on December 1st, they've managed to create a solid base of direct reservations to support a successful reopening. Let's take a look at what other hotel brands can learn from this proactive approach and how to leverage different techniques and tools from THN to boost their direct booking channel.
1. Creating excitement around hotel reopening dates
With so many hotels currently closed including Savoy Hotel Limerick, it's now the right time for your property to stand out from the crowd by pumping up your marketing initiatives and keeping guests excited for the grand reopening. An effective way to achieve so is by creating packages for the up-coming holidays and making sure they're well promoted on your hotel website.
In the months of their first closure, Savoy Hotel Limerick found a clever way to create a sense of anticipation among potential guests. Using THN's personalization tools, the property communicated their reopening date and packages across their website, displayed through a Countdown Clock Welcome Layer showcasing the days, hours, and even seconds before their reopening.
The Layer generated a click-through-rate of 18%, with a 5.3% message-to-booking conversion rate; all while being closed! By communicating in this creative and appealing way, the property was able to spark the interest of new visitors as well as maintain the reopening excitement within their loyal guest base.
Now, in their current closure, Hotel Savoy Limerick is once again showcasing a Welcome Layer with a Countdown Clock, hoping to garner the same results they achieved during their first closure. In addition, by promoting exclusive Christmas deals and Gift Card offers on the same Layer, the property is tempting visitors to make an impulse purchase. On your hotel website, why not try to instill a similar sense of urgency and value with your visitors by displaying powerful marketing messages in this way?
2. Highlighting staycation or residential packages for the holidays
Within today's context, it's probable that many potential guests and website visitors are from your local demographic. With this in mind, it's a good idea to start tailoring and promoting packages towards locals to ensure that your messages are relevant and resonate with this target audience. Whether this be through staycation deals or residential packages, the wide variety of choices is now in your hands.
With a clever package running, it's time to promote it across your website. Hotel Savoy Limerick's recently-launched "Christmas Residential Package" is clearly communicated across their website using THN's Smart Notes. By applying geo-targeting criteria, the property displays bespoke messages to their local audience, helping to provide a personalized and engaging website experience for visitors.
3. Growing your hotel's marketing database
If your booking numbers are running low, consider trying to expand your database to later re-engage these contacts with irresistible reopening offers; which is exactly what Hotel Savoy Limerick has done. The property uses THN's Email Capture tool to encourage users who are about to leave the website to share their email address. With this approach of offering abandoning visitors the option to subscribe to their newsletter to receive exclusive deals, the property has been able to grow their database of potential future guests to communicate with via email.
4. Targeting low-intent website traffic
THN's Predictive Personalization tool, Oraculo Convert, harnesses machine learning techniques to predict user behavior and optimize website campaigns for each and every user. With this product, hoteliers can create highly-targeted campaigns driven by an algorithm to boost website conversions while reducing promotional costs. Thanks to the algorithm's ability to identify which users need an extra incentive or discount to make a booking, hotels no longer need to drop rates across the board.
With Oraculo Convert, Savoy Hotel Limerick initiated campaigns that brought great results by motivating bookings for future dates despite the property being currently closed. Since the property closed on Oct 21st, by targeting their discounts towards lower-intent users, more than 140 bookings have been made by visitors who would most likely otherwise have left without reserving. This campaign yielded a 15% conversion rate and generated 8% savings in promotional costs compared to their traditionally discounted revenue. The hotel also launched a campaign targeting high-intent bookers, generating 8 more upsells for the property which helped to increase their average booking value.
5. Letting visitors compare prices without leaving your website
Hotel Savoy Limerick also uses THN's Price Comparison tool so that their website visitors can be sure that they are being offered the best available rate compared to OTAs and other websites. Within the widget, you can also showcase any additional benefits of booking directly, such as a welcome drink or late check-out. In the example below, Hotel Savoy Limerick chooses to highlight the fact that their rates are fully flexible, helping to further reassure guests and eliminate any doubts. Analyzing the impact since the 1st of March of displaying the Price Comparison versus not displaying it, the property has witnessed an impressive 58% uplift in their website conversion.
Making the most out of today
With creative thinking, hope, and proactivity, the results of Savoy Hotel Limerick's initiatives have proven their actions to be a successful endeavor. By adopting and trusting in all of these tactics for optimizing their direct booking conversions, Savoy Hotel Limerick has built a solid foundation for their soon-to-come reopening in December.
Within our current global context, hotel brands need to remain flexible and be able to adapt their marketing strategies on the fly. Even if your property has been forced to close temporarily, hold your head high and don't give up. Traffic will still be coming to your hotel website, so use this time to enhance the user experience in order to grow your marketing database and maximize direct conversions. By engaging with visitors and taking back the coveted direct relationship with guests, you'll be able to ensure that your doors reopen with a bang!