Launching a new hotel can be a daunting experience. If getting the rooms and interiors done on time were not enough, you will also need to go through a lot of bureaucratic red tape in getting clearances from various government agencies for your hotel to operate as a legitimate business entity.
After all this, there is still no guarantee that you will have bookings from real customers. Marketing your newly launched business is a lot of work and in this article,we will provide you with a short checklist of things to do in order for you to get your first bookings.
List your business
Some studies show that an overwhelming 65% of hotel bookings are made online. One of the first things that you should do when you launch a new hotel is to list yourself on popular hotel booking services like Booking.com, Expedia and Agoda. If you run a boutique hotel or a bed & breakfast, you may also be eligible to list on Airbnb.
This is not all. It is also important to head over to Google My Business and list your business here. A significant chunk of hotel booking searches start on Google and being visible here is thus very important. Make sure you enter details such as your hotel phone number, email address and website URL in order to be discovered organically.
Work out a pricing strategy
Favorable reviews from customers is an important part of long-term success with your hotel business. This is because customers look for experiences from past guests while picking a hotel. Getting reviews is however not possible till you start getting customers.
One way to get this happening is by working out an attractive booking price for your first customers. This gets you in front of customers sorting their hotel listing by price on the aggregator sites. These customers are likely to get high value for the money they pay and are also thus likely to give you a positive review. Be sure to nudge your customers for a review when they do check out.
Partner with travel blogs
Travelers do a lot of online research before any trip. This includes reading a lot of blogs and articles related to their choice of destination. One way to gather inbound traffic to your hotel is by partnering with popular travel blogs for your region and getting listed in their recommendations. For example, someone traveling to Bali might search for keywords like “best beach resorts in Bali”. If you were one such resort, getting listed here could put you in the bucket list for a lot of travelers.
Having said that, you do not have to necessarily restrict your partnerships with travel blogs. You may also consider partnering with social media influencers who cater to your customer base.
Partnering with travel blogs may not work if you are a plain vanilla hotel in the middle of a city. In such cases, a large chunk of your customers could be business travelers checking into the city for work. These travelers do not bother researching blogs for hotel stay recommendations.
To cater such travelers, you may partner with travel agents who are in charge of handling business travel bookings for corporate clients. Such partnerships ensure a steady stream of customers from these agents. In exchange, you may be asked to share a part of your revenues as commission to these agents.
There are also other kinds of partnerships you could look at. You may partner with banquet halls in your neighborhood to offer accommodation for guests. These banquet halls may also include your hotel stay as part of the package they offer their guests.
Set up social media accounts
Lastly, set up social media accounts on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn (if it is a business hotel). This allows you to engage with users discussing on topics related to your city. This builds a brand for your business over time that translates into inbound bookings for your business.
Hotels, like many other small businesses, has a high failure rate. Bringing customers to a hotel is a long-drawn process and occupancy rates are likely to be low for the first few months after launching. Let this however not deter you from pursuing your marketing campaigns – hospitality is brand-drawn businesses and once you build a name for your business, attracting guests to your hotel should get easier.