Use the following eight tips to create the perfect packages and drive more direct bookings at your hotel:
How do you build attractive hotel stay packages?
Enticing guests to choose your hotel as their preferred place to stay can sometimes take more than a good price and pretty website. To the average traveller you and your competitors will often appear very similar. That’s why you need to present an offer that tips the balance and convinces an undecided traveller yours is the best hotel for them. Package deals and extras are an easy, but extremely effective way of doing this, providing you take the right approach.
The key factors you must keep in mind when creating packages and extras are: What you sell; How you sell it; When you sell it.
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1. Offer your guests value for money Given the obvious expenses incurred from going on a trip, many travellers are quite money-savvy. Telling them you’re giving them a great deal simply won’t cut it. They’ll be smart enough to see through any empty offerings. Learn to understand your general demographic as well as possible and give them the sense they’re getting great value for money. Packages that personally interest or excite guests are always going to be more successful than a standard ‘romance’ package of chocolate and champagne.
2. Enter into partnerships with local businesses Combining your services with that of another tourist attraction in the area is a surefire way to add value to your packages. It also affords you greater flexibility on what you can offer guests. Popular examples might include tickets to:
• Zoos • Museums • Local tours • Theme parks • Concerts and festivals • Restaurants and cinemas • Experiences in surfing, rock climbing, skiing etc
Even one-off events can be leveraged as short-term packages. The more guests you can convert to packages or extras the better, as guests who purchase these are less likely to cancel their booking.
3. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box It’s wrong to assume packages and extras are only reserved for leisure travellers. Business travellers can also find huge benefits in deals that make their trip more convenient and hassle-free. And within leisure travellers there are many niches. Depending on your destination, your package might be more targeted towards relaxation, adventure, or culture. Thinking creatively will always spark the interest of guests. If travellers see something they don’t expect they’re more likely to investigate it further. For example, creating a ‘bucket list’ package that includes passes or discounts to the absolute must-sees of the local area is likely to garner more attention than if it was simply a bundled attraction package. There are particular groups you may also need to create packages for such as:
• Families with children • Guests with disabilities • People travelling with pets • Event trips such as weddings or honeymoons • Occupation-specific packages for professionals
You can also add your own services to the mix, such as spa treatments and massages. You want as much revenue flowing through your property as possible and guests are more likely to pay for your premium amenities if they’re included in a package.
4. Always promote your packages The type of package you’re offering is irrelevant if no one is aware of it beyond your property’s website. Use prominent social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to let travellers know about the deal. All these platforms give you the ability to boost your content and run targeted advertising when you need to. You can also send out information via your email lists and give the relevant details to your local tourism office, so they can also drum up business. If you’re building a package dedicated to an upcoming holiday or annual event, there’s an even greater chance you’ll receive traffic because it’s likely to be in the news already and travellers will be searching for it. Remember A key point to remember is that you should spruik the quality and convenience of your packages rather than the price. The real value of a package is the one-stopshop element, not necessarily any significant price saving.
5. Increase your conversions with a healthy blend of packages Not all guests will place emphasis on saving money. Some are happy to pay a lot of money while others just want something quirky and different. Does your package have one or more of the following qualities: • They incorporate local culture and attractions • They include an extreme or quirky experience • They incorporate ultra-luxury, high-end elements • They serve niche demographic markets or lifestyles • They tie in to holidays or special commemorative days A particularly interesting case is the ‘Ink & Stay’ package at the Hotel Erwin in Venice Beach, California includes a $100 voucher for a tattoo at the nearby Black Rose Tattoo parlour. The hotel also throws in an ice pack and skin lotion, as well as a bottle of pain-numbing tequila. Knowing travellers can be very impulsive while on holiday, it’s a smart strategy.
6. Be agile with your packages strategy Your hotel always needs to be adapting to the changing travel landscape, and also the different times of year. Otherwise your packages may seem stale. Packages for each season or even just winter and summer is an easy way to stay on top of this but you should also track the latest trends in the industry to ensure you’re not falling behind your competitors. There are always broader fads that sweep across the world and present valuable opportunities. In 2016, it was Pokémon Go. Continuing to create new packages will promote repeat visitation because guests who enjoyed their stay once will be excited to try something new but in an environment they already trust.
7. Take a measured approach Make sure you don’t dilute your effort or over commit yourself by offering too many packages at once. Use these points as a guide: • Try two or three packages and monitor how they’re received • Lock partners in for at least six months • Never offer more than five packages at a time
8. Consider how your PMS can boost guest perks Make sure your PMS can interface with your CRS vendor. With the right PMS, you’ll be able to offer packages to potential guests, enticing them to choose the rate at your hotel. While some PMSs have limitations with this or charge an additional fee to provide this service, a more robust, innovative PMS can give your property an edge when offering packages and other perks to guests. Look for a provider that can offer you a mobile hotel PMS such as StayNTouch.
9. Use an online booking engine to optimise your packages It’s really important to use an online booking engine that can host bespoke packages with flexibility builtin. This way, you can sell your packages direct and commission-free. Look for a tool like eleads Hotel Booking Engine, which allows hoteliers to take control of their selling options for packages and extras.
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