Offer, price and sales strategies for hotels in uncertain times
Is now the right time to care about innovation, i.e. renewal? Certainly, all companies must love innovation in these fast-changing times. For many hotels, now is the right time to review the existing offer and pricing strategies and the tools used in connection with them. In times like these, every booking at the best possible price matters. Nothing should be lost and nothing should be sold below the best possible price. Clever strategies to increase prices must also be technically possible.
Therefore, supply, price and sales strategies must be based on these 5 pillars:
- Assessing demand correctly and aligning offers for the accessible guest segments.
- Have sales under control, both technically and in terms of content
- Dynamic pricing to be able to react to opportunities at short notice
- A good overview of sensible promotion options to stimulate demand
- And, of course, know and take into account cost developments
In these times, there are negative and positive influencers of your demand
The international, tourist market will not recover so quickly, a balance is created by travellers who forego long-distance travel for security reasons. Congresses, trade fairs and the business travel market as a whole will need a few years before a full recovery can be expected. Hotels that have had business travellers as their focus should look to expand other segments.
The best tools are just good enough
Skilled labour shortage is a relevant issue and this is not the only reason why optimal automation of sales and distribution is more than important.
This includes first-class 2-way interfaces between hotel software and channel manager and, if possible, hotel software and revenue management tool. The following points are important for distribution: 100% of the capacities belong to online sales. Very often the occupancy factor is underestimated. Rooms that allow more than 2 or 3 persons should also be bookable in all channels. Children’s prices should also be correctly set up in the OTAs. Any reason not to book should be eliminated.
Dynamic pricing will become a must-have standard
Hotels that still have to stick to their price lists published a year ago are giving away opportunities and cash.
For pricing, the past only counts to a limited extent, the forecast shows which course and price levels have to be set. Strategy and value proposition must be adaptable on a daily basis. Transparency is a key to selling today. Raising prices works best at times of really good demand, for best-sellers in bar and restaurant and by inventing new, well-paid services.
Use promotional opportunities actively and wisely
Hotels with a good technical basis for pricing and distribution can test what the sales department and their own website have to offer on a whim.
Some campaign offers of the OTAs produce 30 to 50 % more turnover if they are used cleverly. One strategy for success is: increase prices for the campaign period, perhaps by 20%. Then create a campaign with 25% discount. Result: better visibility in the distribution channels concerned (often No. 1 places in city search), strong labelling of campaign offers. Realisation: many guests have no idea what a hotel room is worth and are more likely to buy a discount.
Do not favour external distribution channels under any circumstances
Please be absolutely sure: Every promotion must also exist on your own website / booking engine. Always make sure that external distribution channels are never given preferential treatment. This would only shift sales from one distribution channel to the other. If it is not possible to set a mobile fare in your own booking software (IBE), then you should not offer this promotion on Booking or Expedia either. An exception to this rule is to check the results of promotions carefully and to develop the strategy permanently.