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:

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Hotel Spa: Oasis Unplugged

The driving force in current hotel spa trends is the effort to manage unprecedented levels of stress experienced by their clients. Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by demanding careers and technology overload, people are craving places where they can go to momentarily escape the rigors of their daily lives. As a result, spas are positioning themselves as oases of unplugged human connection, where mindfulness and contemplation activities are becoming increasingly important. One leading hotel spa offers their clients the option to experience their treatments in total silence - no music, no talking, and no advice from the therapist - just pure unadulterated silence. Another leading hotel spa is working with a reputable medical clinic to develop a “digital detox” initiative, in which clients will be encouraged to unplug from their devices and engage in mindfulness activities to alleviate the stresses of excessive technology use. Similarly, other spas are counseling clients to resist allowing technology to monopolize their lives, and to engage in meditation and gratitude exercises in its place. The goal is to provide clients with a warm, inviting and tranquil sanctuary from the outside world, in addition to also providing genuine solutions for better sleep, proper nutrition, stress management and natural self-care. To accomplish this, some spas are incorporating a variety of new approaches - cryotherapy, Himalayan salt therapy and ayurveda treatments are becoming increasingly popular. Other spas are growing their own herbs and performing their treatments in lush outdoor gardens. Some spa therapists are being trained to assess a client's individual movement patterns to determine the most beneficial treatment specifically for them. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.