In 2021, traveling wasn’t so easy. The STR indexes compiled for Bloomberg showed that there were both good- and bad-performing destinations in Europe. Turkey managed to be the quickest to reopen its borders with its coast, countryside, and capital being ranked in Europe’s top five. European capital cities became the poorest performers with Lisbon, Amsterdam, Prague, Brussels, and Helsinki taking a greater hit from border closures.
In the meantime, many people haven’t had holidays for a long period of time and would like to make up for lost vacations. Based on Booking.com’s 2022 Travel Predictions, 72% of respondents are ready for any vacation opportunity if the budget allows. There is another good news for travel businesses: money is no object for 49% of those who haven’t had any vacations since the pandemic started and have been saving for this purpose.
Now, we’re witnessing a strong demand for travel in 2022. For example, Marriott International and InterContinental Hotels Group PLC have seen a rise in bookings for the following summer that is almost the same rate as it was in 2019.
Given the fact that many people are already dreaming of their next vacation, this is the moment to rethink your strategies to reap maximum profits in 2022. Below, we’ll share our best tips for increasing online sales while planning the year ahead.
1. Provide special offers and deals for active adventures and group travelers
Today, people show greater interest in active travel. The latest survey by The Times revealed that customers choose walking or cycling adventures over cultural journeys for 2022. Another research has shown that half of all journeys will be made by walking and cycling within towns and cities by 2030.
In addition, experts indicate that customers are actively booking trips to mark big celebrations like birthdays or wedding anniversaries to compensate for a lost time and create special memories together. 62% of global travelers admitted that they realized how important travel was to their health and wellbeing only when travel restrictions were imposed.
As a hospitality business owner, you can use this heightened desire to both offer what your guests want and increase sales. Here are some ideas:
- Think about the location, natural phenomenons, and spaces at your hotel and create hotel promotions around them.
- Offer group booking options for guests who want to celebrate holidays at your hotel. Don’t forget about your hotel restaurant and craft menus just for guests’ special events.
- Combine your hotel rooms with activities and services into special offers and deals.
- Encourage more direct bookings thanks to HotelFriend Booking System, as you can sell not only rooms but also food, services, and activities, targeted deals you have composed on the hotel’s website.
2. Prioritize flexibility
People continue to experience fear and uncertainty. They have to deal with the unknown and thus expect hotels to offer flexible cancellation policies. For 33% of travelers, the ability to cancel, and for 32% of respondents, the ability to reschedule free of charge are both critical.
The cancellation policies differ from hotel to hotel. The most common policies offered by the biggest chains like Marriott or Hyatt provide free cancellation with changeable rates up to 24 hours prior to check-in.
The start of the year is the right time to make the following:
- Review the validity periods for rates and extend them or enter new ones in the hotel software if necessary.
- Check out the calendar, determine the seasons and vacation periods, set special prices for public holidays, extended weekends, trade shows, etc.
- Set the availability and prices for 2022 using hotel PMS.
- Set up conditions, rates for corporate clients and partner programs.
With that said, the importance of hotel PMS that comes integrated with Channel Manager and Booking Engine cannot be overstated. You can be sure that the information across all sales channels is relevant while you can adjust your cancellation policy, change rates, and set sales restrictions at any time.
3. Be ready for “trip stacking”
The above-mentioned flexibility in policies contributed to the growing trend toward booking several trips to different geographic areas over the same travel period, now called “trip stacking”. For hotels, it might be annoying. However, experts stress that “trip stacking” should not be confused with “ghost bookings” which can be described as booking trips for fun because there are no consequences for doing so.
Trip stacking makes sense for travelers and it can work well for your hotel business as well. Think of ways you can prove that your location and hotel are safer than others. For example, you can build confidence in the cleanliness and safety of your business by adding a Сovid Safety Widget to your website (available in Germany). It will reflect the latest information on the coronavirus dynamics in your region and show your guests that your hotel complies with all hygiene practices.
4. Test out new sales channels
It is clear that most bookings come from major players like Booking.com or Expedia. However, smaller and niche portals can also help you attract more guests.
Given the desire of 73% of people to connect authentically with the local community, it would be beneficial to test new leisure portals and platforms to offer activities within local ecosystems, heritage, and culture.
What’s more, you can easily meet this demand thanks to HotelFriend Channel Manager. It will help you connect with and manage more than 200 channels without any risk of double bookings.
5. Take advantage of the contactless self-service options
Starting from 2020, the trend towards touch-free services became mainstream. The majority of guests prioritize self-service tech, naming digital payments (35%), keyless room entry (26%), and digital messaging services (20%) as the top-3 for them (based on Global Oracle and Skift study).
To stay competitive, you should implement contactless technologies and make them a part of your marketing strategy. With the HotelFriend Concierge app, you can achieve this easily and reach tech-savvy customers faster. Your guests can check in/check out and access their rooms, order food or services, and pay for them right away through their phones without any person-to-person interactions.
What’s more, HotelFriend provides white-label app options so that you can get your own branded app. This will develop one more way to interact with your potential guests effortlessly and increase direct bookings.
The success of your hotel business now grows out of identifying new ways to reach your potential guests. We hope the tips above will help you succeed in the new normal and increase online sales in 2022.
HotelFriend is a global provider of business software with offices across Europe. The company specializes in R&D in the travel and hospitality sectors, cloud computing, e-commerce, CRM, ERP, and the development of mobile and desktop apps.
Business Development Manager
+49 30 46999 5418