How can independent hotels bypass 3rd party systems and still attract customers?
As a small, independent hotel, the battle against the big boys can sometimes feel a bit relentless. You know that you offer fantastic customer service and great value for money, but how can you let your customers know this without sacrificing hefty commissions to 3rd party booking sites?
Whether you’ve got just two rooms or twenty, you can cut out the middle man. Here at High Level Software we have lots of ideas to help to attract new customers and retain existing ones, meaning you can reduce your reliance on external booking systems and ultimately increase your profits.
Before you start to even worry about how to bring in new customers, let’s take a look at your most valuable market – your existing guests. These people know who you are already, so half the battle is already won. They will have experienced for themselves the value of that personal touch and impeccable customer service, so now all you have to do is keep them coming back for more.
Customer reward and loyalty schemes are a very simple yet effective way to do this, which is why we offer these as part of our hotel management systems. As well as encouraging guests to come back, it’s also a useful way to gather information about your customers, meaning you can target your marketing more effectively.
Spread the word
Word of mouth is one of the most important marketing tools out there, so as well as incentivising customers directly for repeat visits, you could also think about ways to reward them for telling friends and family about you.
They may not be a hotel, but snack box company Graze’s ‘refer a friend’ scheme applies exactly the same principles – with every box you order you get a number of vouchers for free boxes that you can give as gifts to friends. Each voucher has a unique code, so for every one that’s cashed you get money off your next order.
Could you give each guest a unique discount voucher – nicely presented and perhaps with a hand written note – to pass on to a friend?
Although social media can feel a little daunting it’s actually the perfect platform for independent hotels, as it’s all about putting a personal face and voice to a brand. As the use of social increases, more and more people are looking to channels like Facebook and Twitter for recommendations and to talk to hotels directly.
Having an active social presence means you can be part of these conversations – answering questions, talking to both existing and potential customers, and generally getting yourself noticed. Once you have connected with customers online, strike while the iron is hot – we can set up a booking button on your Facebook page to drive additional bookings through your website.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that social media is just for teenagers – over two thirds of Facebook users in the UK are over 25, and a quarter are over 45.
If you’d like to find out more about how High Level Software can help your business control your spending and reduce your reliance on 3rd party sites then call us now on 02920 351575.