Old School Sales and Marketing Still Has It's Place
Why 86% of travelers book their hotels online, that leaves 14% that don't. When your talking about millions of travelers that's still a large number. Hotels that incorporate a good digital campaign but also has a sales staff to work on direct sales activities perform higher then those that just rely on their online booking channels.
The following if done along with digital marketing will help increase your occupancy, and revenues for 2015. You need to keep in mind there are still people out there that don't care for Facebook, don't know how to tweet, and still prefer phone calls and face to face interaction. Make sure you incorporate these things in your marketing plan if you already haven't.
1. Travel Agents- Why this seems to be a dying breed, they are still used today, and have regained some of their market share. When people call travel agents they are usually booking flight, hotel and rental cars at the same time. The ease of using a professional travel agent makes things more convenient even for baby boomers, who are the largest spenders in hotels. Do a quarterly mailing to the top 50 travel agents that are producing for your property. Make sure they are updated on any amenity changes, upgrades, services, and events going on in your area. During your shoulder and slow season offer them double commissions for stays that happen during these times. You will see a 5% to 10% increase in business from them over time after you start this.
2. News Papers- Scouring your local news paper and business journal for your area can have a load of leads in them if you are paying attention. People getting promoted, married, or even dying are leads for your hotel. The person at their job getting promoted could be the person that handles the spending for lodging or works closely to the person that makes those decisions. Send them a congratulations letter in the mail, and maybe even offer them a free night (Make sure this company does use hotels in the area before giving them a free night). Engagements announcements you can contact the couple by looking them up on Google, and ask them if they need a hotel for their big day for out of town guests. Funerals are never something that people budget for as far as going to them. So if your property offers a bereavement rate, you need to make sure all the funeral homes in your area have this information. Ask them to recommend, leave your items in lobby, and even ask if you could be linked on their website. Build a relationship with these businesses. Local Events can sometimes be announced in your local news paper and could be something you didn't even know about that could be bringing a large number of rooms to your area. Haven't you been sitting there and fill up all of a sudden, and wonder what was going on in your area? We have all been there, but if we know about it sooner, we can use good revenue management practices and get more revenue.
3. Business To Business Sales Calls- Getting yourself or your sales team out talking to area local businesses is still a great way to increase your hotels occupancy. Why most hotels are being completely ran my the general manager and no sales team, your general manager can make time to make at least 10 sales calls a week. Getting in front of the businesses that can use your hotel or recommend people to stay at your hotel is still a number 1 way to increase your corporate travel. Remember most hotels are stopping this, or the sales team is too young and not completely trained on this good ole technique. So you will get great results by implementing this into your property's marketing plan. Send one of your best front desk agents if you don't have time to do this. Send them out with business cards, rack cards or brochures on your property so they can hand these out to the decision makers.
4.Construction Business- Face it the economy in most places are doing really good, and when this happens growth happens. There are probably plenty of construction projects slated for your area in 2015 and could be going on right now. These types of projects bring in people from out of town. I don't care where you live and if the General contractor says they are all local. Most of the time when our economy booms like this, construction companies can be short handed and will sub contract some of the work out to out of town companies. So have your sales staff, GM, or Front desk agent take some flyers with your information and special rate for construction along with a couple dozen of donuts to the site and talk to the foreman. Believe it or not the donuts will be the key to the foreman keeping and handing out your information, instead of throwing it in the trash.
Start working on these four items now, and make a hit list on what businesses to call on, who is going to read the daily paper every day for leads, and who is going to go out and make these sales calls. If you work really hard at both digital marketing, and old school sales practices you will see a great growth in your occupancy, and even rates. If you build a high demand for your property you will be able to raise rates on your transient business.
Keep watching our blog for more ways to increase your hotels occupancy in 2015.
Read our past blog post about Digital Marketing for Hotels in 2015