What happened in the hospitality industry over the summer?
The summer season is the best time for leisure travel, which means that it’s also the best opportunity for hoteliers and other property owners to make money. Following a very difficult year, businesses across the hospitality and leisure sector began to gradually reopen, finally able to give customers the opportunity to enjoy everything they have missed during the pandemic.
This article looks at key performance data metrics on hotel performance in the UK and EU over the past 12 months. Written by our wonderful partner RoomRaccoon with valuable insights and pricing tips from our CEO Ari Andricopoulos.
Hoteliers can use this information to make strategic decisions to boost revenue and improve their business strategy during the next summer months that are predicted to see an influx of travelers due to “revenge tourism”.
How Hoteliers Can Prepare for Summer 2022
Revenge Tourism is real – Hoteliers should capitalize on the rise in revenge tourism, a phenomenon in which visitors want to break free after being confined in their homes for months together due to the fear of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdowns.
1. Cast a Wider Net
The data shows that 41% of hotel bookings in 2021 came from a single online travel agency (OTA). Can you guess which one it is? If you’re using just one OTA, you’re leaving money on the table. There are a lot of different OTAs out there, so make sure you get the most out of their marketing efforts.
Even better, you can use different OTAs to reach different guests. For example, you could use Booking.com and Expedia to reach a broad audience, and then use other OTAs that target very specific travellers like Gayhotels and Health and Fitness Travel.
2. Leverage More Direct Bookings
Direct bookings are the best kind of bookings because you know that you won’t lose any of that revenue to a middleman. This summer hoteliers enjoyed 15% of commission-free bookings.
So, how can you leverage more direct bookings?
Use Google Hotel Ads
The best way to get more direct booking is to get more traffic directed at your website or booking engine. One weapon that small properties utilize to fight for this precious real estate and compete for direct bookings is a Google Hotel Ads campaign.
Compared to the industry average cost per booking of 18% for OTAs, Google Hotel Ads allows you to gain direct bookings for less than an OTA reservation. Not only do you get to cash in on the direct booking revenue but you’re also in full control of the guest experience.
Good to know: Google Hotel Ads typically integrate with various Property Management Systems (PMS).
Boost Your Booking Engine Conversion Rate
On the topic of guest experiences, is your booking engine optimized for success? Booking engines are the backbone of your business. They’re the first interaction your guests will have with your property and the only opportunity they’ll have to convert.
That’s why booking engines are so important.
A great way that you can boost your booking engine conversion rate is by offering your guests options for packages, upsells, and add-ons that will not only add additional money into your pocket but enhance the guest experience.
3. Move Away from Static Prices
The summer months are filled with events, concerts, festivals, and school holidays. A lot of hoteliers are scared to increase their prices because they’re afraid of losing customers but the reality is that when the demand is high and supply is low, you’re going to be able to increase your prices and still sell your rooms. Think about it like this: If you can manage to increase your RevPAR by 10 percent, then you’re going to increase your overall revenue by 10 percent.
For independent hotels with a few rooms, increasing your RevPAR is probably the most important metric you can focus on. It’s a great measurement because it takes into account the number of rooms you have and the revenue you’re generating from those rooms. Hotels with less than 200 rooms had an average RevPAR of €35. The RevPAR went from a low of €7 in November 2020 to a high of €95 in August 2021.
RoomPriceGenie’s CEO, Ari Andricopoulos, shares a few handy tips for hoteliers in their area of expertise: pricing!
Watch Your Competitors
Tip 1: It is very good to be aware of all your competition, both nearby and with similar markets further away. If you are a long way out of line, without good reason, then you will probably make a lot less revenue than you could.
It is important for two reasons. First, your relative pricing is important if you want to get your fair share of business at the best price.
Tip 2: No one really knows what is going to happen this year but by combining the views of various competitors you are taking their best guess for what will happen.
What to do in a low-demand situation?
Be careful of a race-to-the-bottom. Keep a strong minimum price in place, low enough to not price you out of the business, but not so low that you don’t make good margins.
What to do in a high-demand situation?
In a high-demand situation, you may also want to keep your prices up higher than the market. But how do you know early if it is a high-demand situation? Check your data!
Watch Your Data
Data is your early warning system. You need to see early if you are filling up or not and make sure that you are priced appropriately relative to your competition.
Keep an eye on sudden changes – either in bookings or in cancellations. These can be either getting faster or slower and you should be aware of these.
You don’t want to be in the situation where you’ve sold most of your rooms 3 months early at too low a price, while all the other hotels are charging 50% more than you did. Don’t be that person!
But data isn’t everything, you also need to…
Add Your Judgment
Watch for travel restrictions both for guests who visit your country and for guests that will travel abroad if they can but will come to you if they can’t. Talk to people locally about what they are seeing. Charge a little more if you think you can and a little less if you think that everyone is being a bit too optimistic.
4. Create Summer Packages
Based on our data, most guests book stays for 2.7 nights. This makes summer the most important season for most hotels. With most guests planning their vacations in advance, you can offer different packages for different times of the year. If your hotel has a spa you could sell an extra night package including breakfast and half-price access to the spa for €50. Not only will you make more money but ensure your hotel is fully booked.
5. Offer Contactless Services
The health and safety of hotel guests should be a top priority for all hoteliers. More and more travelers demand extra security when staying in a hotel. By offering online check-in and digital door locks, you can create a sense of reassurance that will encourage more people to stay at your hotel. In fact, 71% of guests are more likely to stay at a hotel that offers mobile check-in.
If you are not already automating your hotel operations then you will probably miss out on revenue in summer 2022. One great way to keep on top of everything is to use the seamless connection between RoomRaccoon and RoomPriceGenie to automate great pricing. Book a free trial with a member of our team!