Special Offers Deserve a Special Place in Your Marketing Mix

By Rob Kall President, Bookt LLC | May 05, 2010

Name a more competitive online arena than Travel. Can you? As an entrepreneur in hospitality marketing and technology – perhaps I am biased. To me, the Travel marketplace is at the top tier of the web’s explosion of channel aggregation, information, and game changing consumer sophistication. To compete and win, today’s hotelier must develop a multi-layered strategy and deploy an array of finely-tuned tactics. And must do so while battling a recovering economy and navigating crowded sea lanes. Bon voyage!

Special times require special measures, with the keyword being “Specials” – a tried and true marketing tactic that can help you beat your competitors, engages consumers, and can be profitable when smartly done and managed. Unless your city is hosting the Super Bowl, every day, forever, specials should have a time and place in your marketing mix.

Priming the Pump

According to their most recent survey on consumer satisfaction with reservations made on seven major independent travel sites, J D. Power and Associates reports – in order of importance – that consumers are looking for “competitiveness of price, ease of booking, usefulness of the information on the website, availability of booking options/travel packages, appearance/design of site, and ease of navigation.” Thus, while price clearly plays a key role in consumer satisfaction, just as clearly – improving your site itself is also critical. This means that savvy hoteliers will continually refine their website. Consumers are seeking comfort and value in your property as well as in their online experience. To prime the pump for effective use of special offers, get your website house in order. This is absolutely Step #1.

Website Content

Okay. Your website functionality and design is new and improved. So it’s time to launch your Valentine’s Weekend Away promotion – right? Not so fast. One other area on your site requires a look before you leap. Content. According to an April 2009 report from the global online travel and tourism site, TravelMole, when booking a holiday online, consumers say the following content are important:

Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

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Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.