No place like hotels for the holidays

The holiday season kicks off one of the biggest travel seasons of every calendar year. In 2016 alone, about 70 percent of Americans said they were planning to travel for the holidays in November and December. That’s a lot of opportunity to welcome travelers into your hotel for the holidays!

7 things to know when prepping your hotel for the holidays

To capture the attention of new and loyal guests, there are seven important facts and tips to show your potential customers that “if they want to be happy in a million ways, for the holidays …” they can’t beat your hotel!

  1. People read online reviews.

  2. Reviews and responses matter.

  3. Mobile booking needs to be user-friendly.

  4. Travelers follow your Facebook page.

  5. Travelers love budget-friendly hotel packages for the holidays.

  6. Incentives can lead to impulse trips.

  7. Hotel guests like to eat.

Ready to get started making your hotel attractive for the holidays?

1. People read online reviews

Did you know that 83 percent of hotel-goers read online reviews before booking?

Make sure you’ve claimed your Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor pages, and set them up with beautiful photos, accurate information and an updated list of your services and amenities.

Whether or not you’re actively keeping up with your online profiles, travelers use these sites to look at your business’ information and reviews to book a hotel for the holidays. This makes it important for you to not only claim your pages on these sites, but to also keep them up to date so potential customers can easily book through your website, give you a call with questions and navigate to your hotel.

Related: How to leverage travel websites to fill hotel rooms

2. Reviews and responses matter

Most people looking to book a hotel stay — 93 percent of them — think that reviews are important, and 85 percent say that a thoughtful response to a review will help improve their impression of the hotel.

Don’t leave your reviews unanswered!

 

Your online reputation is important. You wouldn’t ignore someone in person who shared a story about their experience at your hotel, and the same goes for the feedback you receive online from your guests.

Responding to your customer reviews shows that you are actively listening to your customers’ feedback, and it gives you the opportunity to build relationships with your community.

Need help responding to reviews? See below for some tried-and-true reputation management tips for any hotel owner:

  • For positive reviews, it’s important to let your happy customers know that their review is valuable to you. Reaching out, even just to say thank you, gives you an opportunity to increase customer loyalty.
  • For neutral reviews, your response is your opportunity to leave a positive impression with an unimpressed or indifferent customer. It might even convince them to give your hotel another chance on their next trip.
  • For negative reviews, responding gives you a chance to undo any bad feelings. A thoughtful response shows excellent customer service, whereas no response gives the review more credibility. Let them know you’re sorry they had a less-than-perfect stay, and ask questions to see if you can get to the bottom of the issue. If necessary, you can provide a phone number or email so these customers can reach out offline.

Related: The rulebook for crafting a response to negative comments on social media

3. Mobile booking needs to be user-friendly

For U.S. travelers using mobile devices, 72 percent of all bookings were made within 48 hours before making the reservation.

Make sure your website is mobile-friendly!

 

While many travelers book hotel stays in advance, with the increase in smartphone usage and ability, more and more guests are using their phones to book hotels much closer to the day they need it.

That means that a lot of your potential customers will be booking their hotel from their smartphones — so make sure they can book with ease. Having a mobile-friendly site will make it easier for your customers to get the information they need about your business when they need it so they can book efficiently. If they had an easy time booking with you once, that will make them more likely to book with you in the future — and tell their friends and family about their experience!

Editor’s note: Want a sleek design that looks great on mobile AND has built-in appointment scheduling and email marketing? GoCentral Website Builder and Online Store from GoDaddy not only allows you to create a beautiful website in under an hour, but also schedule appointments and send email campaigns. You can even use Google My Business to make sure your hotel gets found!

4. Travelers follow your Facebook page

Once they book a vacation, 55 percent of travelers like Facebook pages that are specific to their upcoming trip — including the hotel they choose for the holidays. So, make sure you post on your Facebook page (and all of your social media pages)!

When posting on behalf of your hotel for the holidays, feel free to be creative.

Post photos, show off what makes you unique from your competition, ask questions, talk about your specials, post about your local community — think outside the box and add anything you think your guests would engage with like these examples.

Hotel Holidays 1890 Williams House Inn
Photo: 1890 Williams House Bed & Breakfast on Facebook
Hotel Holidays Henry Howard Hotel
Photo: Henry Howard Hotel on Facebook

And, don’t forget to respond to any comments and questions that come through on your page — both public and private. Not only is it what customers have come to expect, it’s a great way to engage with your community. One thoughtful response could be the difference between a customer booking with you over your competition this holiday season.

5. Travelers love budget-friendly hotel packages for the holidays

Budgets are a key factor for more than 60 percent of travelers when booking hotels, and they look for deals before booking. The majority of travelers from the U.S. also said that social media content that features deals makes an impact on where they decide to book.

Create special packages, events and promotions, and promote them on social media. What does your hotel offer that makes you stand out from your competition? Do you offer spa packages or workout classes? Do you host kid-friendly events and activities? What are you offering that will get your guests in the spirit?

Get creative and start creating some holiday specials and deals.

 

Then, make sure you share these great deals with your fans and followers on social media.

Have you ever boosted a Facebook post? Running one of these special promotions or packages, posting it on Facebook, and then putting some money behind it (or boosting it) to reach new customers would be a great way to spread the word about all the exciting things you’re doing this holiday season.

Related: What every small business should know about creating discounts

6. Incentives can lead to impulse trips

More than 60 percent of travelers in the U.S. would consider booking an impulse trip if they could get a good deal on a hotel.

Create branded email campaigns that promote your hotel’s holiday deals and last-minute specials.

You can use a monthly email newsletter or other branded email campaign to promote your best deals, events happening in your community, and incentives for guests to extend their stay in your hotel during their holiday break.

7. Hotel guests like to eat

Hotel and Airbnb guests spend billions of dollars a year on restaurants and dining out.

Promote your food and beverage offerings, or reach out to partner with local bars and restaurants over the holidays.

Once guests book their stay, they still want to explore local food options. If you have a restaurant in your hotel, make sure you’re showcasing and improving your dining experience in order to engage with both locals and travelers.

Hotel Holidays Clinton Hotel
Photo: Clinton Hotel South Beach on Instagram

Add holiday cocktails and seasonal specials, or try out new menu items to offer the younger demographic, such as healthier, vegetarian or gluten-free options.

Share your new additions across your social media pages so locals and visitors know what they can expect when they come to your hotel’s restaurant for a great holiday meal.

Hotel Holidays Hotel Saint Cecilia
Photo: Hotel Saint Cecilia on Instagram

If your hotel doesn’t have a restaurant, partner up with local bars and restaurants to offer a special rate or discounted meal to your guests. You also can work together and create group rates for your guests staying with you for holiday gatherings and parties.

Put it to the test

Use these tips to make this season your hotel’s best holiday season yet.

Still feeling like you could use a little help for your hotel ahead of the holidays? Have no fear. GoDaddy Social, powered by Main Street Hub, can help you with all of your hotel’s social media needs. We currently help thousands of small businesses across the country elevate their online presence on the platforms that matter most to consumers to help them get new customers. Engage with your customers like never before!

The post No place like hotels for the holidays appeared first on Garage.

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