7 Tools to Boost Your Hotel Sales
For someone in the hotel business, there is nothing more disheartening than walking down a hallway with empty hotel rooms taunting you as you go by. Making sure your hotel is at full capacity is one of the biggest challenges that can keep you up at night, especially during the lean periods. And to get over the mountain of challenges in your industry, you need the right set of hotel sales tools.
Research shows that millennials will constitute more than half the global travel market by 2025. And a stay for them is not just about the accommodation: they demand impeccable service, unique experiences and tempting discounts. Because of this, maintaining a loyal customer base is next to impossible, especially with rising competition and hotel aggregators that put together the best deals available.
Amidst these customer expectations, 93% of travelers check for hotel reviews before booking a room. So, between keeping your customers happy and managing your hotel, you also need to keep a check on your online reputation.
The biggest challenge of them all? Maintaining healthy and clean data. Most hotels still stick to traditional ways of managing data. Either it is outdated or fragmented across different tools that do not speak to each other—which leaves them looking at the customer with an isolated lens across functions.
One important way to tackle these challenges is to invest in state-of-the-art tech. Using the right hotel sales tools to build a robust technology stack can not only increase your customer service ratings by 19% but also reduce customer complaints by 71%.
Let’s dig deeper into the different hotel sales tools that can work together to enhance all aspects of the customer’s stay—while booking, during the stay, and after checking out. Using these tools is also a way to increase hotel revenue.
While selling hotel reservations
1. Prospecting tools
Whether you’re looking to get hotel reservations directly from the customer or sell to corporates for events and conferences, the key is to go digital. Today, social media is a key companion in the entire travel journey. An article by Webfx states:
- 29% of travelers get travel inspiration from Facebook
- 23% of travelers use social media while researching hotels
- 55% of travelers like social media pages related to trips they are planning
- Three out of four B2B buyers now rely on social media to engage with peers about buying decisions
It is obvious that anyone in the travel or hospitality industry can’t afford to ignore these platforms. Other than posting regular, exciting content on your hotel’s social media channels, integrate a widget that allows direct booking from your page itself. 50% of hotel companies have a booking engine or a widget on their Facebook page.
If you’re targeting B2B sales, Linkedin Sales Navigator and Leadfeeder are two great hotel sales tools for prospecting. For best results, define your guest personas—these will help you track the right customers.
Like any other business, you too must take the time to define your guest personas. This will help you make the most out of any hotel sales tool. Reflecting on these questions will help you look for new prospects in the right places and target your messaging to them:
- Who are your guests?
- What do they look for while planning their travel?
- What are their needs?
- Why would they choose your hotel over any other?
2. Communication tools
Email: It is imperative to build your subscriber list and engage with them time and again through well-curated emails containing relevant content and offers. You can enrich your database by collecting email addresses of all your guests in a central place, like a CRM.
For corporate bookings, use prospecting tools to collect email addresses and create a robust sales strategy to introduce your hotels and follow up promptly.
Look for email services that provide business email accounts. While standard email addresses look generic, business email IDs:
- Make your emails look professional
- Look less spammy, and
- Impel your prospects to take you more seriously
Live chat: Your website is like your hotel’s reception desk. Imagine if no one is available to greet the guests and answer queries at the desk. A website without a live chat is similar to this. 57% of online customers will abandon your website if they don’t receive a quick answer. Integrating live chat tools, such as Freshchat, with your website enables you to catch customers as soon as they enter your website, answer their queries in real-time, and help you close more bookings proactively.
3. Channel management system (CMS)
Around 50% of online hotel bookings are done on metasearch sites like Trivago.com, and this trend is set to go up in the coming years. Metasearch engines scan online travel agencies (OTAs) to give customers the best-listed price. In 2018, almost 35% of all bookings were done via third parties.
This shows that a large number of hotel bookings actually come through the OTAs like Booking.com, Expedia, Agoda, and others, and it is imperative to have your property listed on these platforms as you can’t depend on direct bookings alone. But you and your salespeople have to manually update the listing each time you make a sale via the OTAs. This not just takes a toll on productivity but is also prone to manual errors that can lead to overbookings.
A Channel Management System comes handy in such scenarios—especially when you have a vast distribution network for your reservations. It manages your hotel room sales, sells reservations on the booking sites, and automatically updates your inventory with each sale. A CMS like Cloudbeds or D-Edge not only connects you to multiple OTAs, but it also gives you reports and metrics to keep track of the ones that bring in the most revenue.
As we discussed earlier, social credibility is everything in the hotel business. And when there is a small glitch in your guest’s experience, they will take it out on social media and your online credibility takes a dip.
We all know that errors are bound to happen, but it is how quickly and efficiently you solve the customer’s problems that makes all the difference. Support tools like Freshdesk and Help scout capture grievances and social mentions fast, assign them to the right person, and help resolve issues faster, hopefully winning some ‘hearts’ along the way.
When you focus on customer satisfaction, it is bound to impact hotel sales positively.
5. Survey tools
In a 24/7 digital world, customer feedback is everywhere. In fact, 46% of travelers post hotel reviews on various sites. These reviews and ratings are accessible to many at the click of a button (another great reason to ensure service is on point).
But more importantly, 53% of travelers wouldn’t book a hotel with no reviews. So, why not make customer feedback more intentional?
- Gather testimonials for your website and online platforms
- Understand the grievances of your customers and use insights to take positive steps toward building that elusive “customer loyalty.”
- Understand and define a variety of personas and their expectations.
Throughout the process
6. Property Management System (PMS)
The guest’s interaction at the front desk can set the tone for the entire stay. If you’re fumbling and seem clueless about their booking, be assured you have raised doubt in their minds.
A Property Management System (PMS), such as Oracle Hospitality and Hotello, manages and, to some extent, automates many admin tasks like check-in, check-out, accounting, hotel room allocation, inventory management, housekeeping, and even guest communications.
As per a survey in 2015, only 34% of hotels relied on software for this, and 25% still relied on pen-and-paper. In the last few years, unfortunately, this percentage has only seen modest growth. Adopting the right tools soon can thus give hotel owners a huge advantage.
7. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
So, you have tools for prospecting, communicating, support, and feedback to understand your customers better. But the data is fragmented across all these tools that do not talk to each other. This makes it challenging to leverage insightful inputs about your guests.
A tool like a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, such as Freshsales, not only stores customer data but also integrates and brings all the information in one place. This means no more fragmented information across several systems and, instead, you get a 360-degree view of the customer in one place.
A CRM software for hotel sales should have the capability to:
- Integrate with all your tools and sync in your business environment
- Allow you to customize the tool for your needs
- Show the history of interactions with prospects and customers
- Pull together their activities and visits to your business websites in one place
- Give you reports and insights about your sales, business, and your guests
The Super-duo of Hotel Sales Tools
Combine the PMS to a robust CRM software, and you’ve got a super-tool that isn’t restricted to just one department but seamlessly connects admin, sales, marketing, and support functions, tying it together in one place.
When the CRM and PMS act together, the guest and prospect information meets hotel operations, replacing time-intensive, spreadsheet-heavy processes.
Imagine these scenarios:
- Knowing your customers’ preferred room type and delighting them instantly with their choice before they ask
- Sending out a birthday greeting to a guest who once stayed at your hotel through automated email campaigns
- Answering a prospect’s questions across different channels like Live Chat, email, and over the phone—without losing the record of past conversations
- Seeing which channel contributes most to your bookings, the customers who book with you most frequently, and reports on your sales team’s performance—all in one place.
This integration allows a single profile to include the guest’s photo, stay history, total spend and booking patterns, interests and preferred locations of stay, preferred room types, links to social profiles, satisfaction, loyalty program status, and feedback from previous stays.
That’s the power you can unleash when all your hotel sales tools talk to each other.
Selling more than just a reservation
Finally, hotel sales are not as easy as it looks.
When you sell a reservation, you also sell a welcoming lobby, comfortable stay, good quality housekeeping, hygienic restaurant with delicious food, and, most importantly, a temporary home for travelers. So hotel sales tools can weave together the collective effort across all fronts to keep the hotel lobbies busy.
So make sure to take some time to understand what makes your establishment special, what you offer, and why travelers and businesses should be interested in your hotel. Understanding this helps you sell more, sell better, and sell faster with the right hotel sales tools.
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