What do guests check about your hotel before booking?
It’s a question worth asking, as it provides useful pointers for improving your online marketing strategy, hotel policies and the guest experience you offer in ways that will boost direct bookings in the long run.
Sure, a well-optimised, eye-catching website is persuasive. But guests, especially modern-day, time-strapped travellers, still have a checklist - a few important, perhaps even personal, requirements that might be all it takes to convince them to tap that booking button.
And if your hotel doesn’t offer them - or your website isn’t making it clear - you could be losing out to competitors.
This is something you can’t change, but guests will be investigating your location before booking and you can help them find what they want to know, perhaps even something they didn't know, by detailing what your location offers online wherever you can.
Which local attractions, in-demand restaurants and venues are near your hotel? Are these detailed on your website? Promoted in your online blogs?
Guests want to know, so help them - this is something that will entice bookings as well as establish your online marketing presence about your area and the local businesses around you.
Flexibility and ease. One of the many things the pandemic has taught is that plans can change in the blink of an eye, often out of our control. Guests with hectic schedules or event bookings will be checking your cancellation policy for its straightforwardness, so it’s well worth making sure that it’s clear, flexible (as realistically possible) and accessible in plain sight on your website.
This goes also for check-in and check-out times. How flexible are you? Even at an extra charge, early check-ins and late check-outs are becoming more common, particularly for holidaymakers travelling from afar and business travellers running hectic schedules.
Subsequently, a flexible cancellation policy might just work in your favour. A frequent traveller who found it easy to cancel their hotel booking might just remember your hotel for that, going on to fulfil a stay at your hotel in future.
How do your hotel reviews measure up? It’s a question that can make any hotelier wince, but with reviews now playing a big part in all online buying and selling, it’s a question - and a key area of hotel marketing - that has to be addressed.
You may think online reviews are out of your control, but the opposite is the case if managed properly. Whether it’s an OTA, social media page or website like TripAdvisor, replies and management responses are possible and will do wonders for your online reputation - even when it comes to negative reviews.
You won’t stop guests from seeing bad hotel reviews, but a well-written, a professional response can reshape their opinion and convince them to proceed with their booking, noting your attention to guest satisfaction and trusting that they're in good hands.
Facilities and Amenities
Convenience, comfort and leisure. Amenities are the things that make guests feel at home enjoying everything they need and facilities complement the overall experience. For the modern-day hotel, it’s crucial to have a baseline of room amenities and hotel facilities to offer.
We spend most of our time online, so WiFi access is something you can be sure guests will be looking for. This is the same with cable, perhaps even Smart TV or Chromecast availability - small but significant features that will represent your hotel as one that’s up to date and not lagging behind the times.
On top of that, these features must reflect your location. A city hotel can get away without a swimming pool but not without WiFi and onsite parking. Likewise, resorts must offer at least a few family-friendly facilities that relax and entertain. Does your hotel offer what it should?
Rates… And Special Offers
Of course, rates are the first thing guests will be looking at, so your rates must reflect what you have to offer in terms of location, hotel features and overall value. Therefore - and as touched on above - it’s equally important to “boast” and show upfront what your guests receive by booking with you.
Additionally, guests are always on the hunt for special offers. Does your hotel offer regular promos and deals? If not, you could be missing out on extra bookings, as well as the opportunity to forge loyal customer relationships with your guests.
Special offers can be seasonal, weekday-exclusive, earned through repeat bookings or more simply a local discount or free room gift on arrival. Get creative and you might just find more guests looking at, and booking at, your hotel.
Have you considered what guests check for before booking at your hotel? Let us know in the comments below!