Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Building Hotel Brand Loyalty - The Last Minute Traveler

The global economy over the last five or six years has helped create the last minute traveler phenomenon. But hotels have unwittingly furthered the trend by offering drastically discounted unbooked inventory, particularly across mobile platforms. World and national economic conditions are beyond the control of hoteliers and they must bear with them like any other business. However, heavily discounting remaining hotel inventory is totally within the control of hotel marketers and decision makers.

Continuing to offer these discounts only teaches consumers to wait before they make their hotel reservations and they will be rewarded with last minute deals. Fortunately there are alternative strategies that will not damage hotel inventory values while still leveraging the last minute traveler. It is even possible to earn the hotel brand loyalty of these deal conscious travelers in the process.


 Offer Deals Other than Rates

People like getting things for free. Enticements intended to inspire last minute hotel bookers to choose your hotel do not have to be limited to rate discounts. Offers could be for hotel ancillary services, such as the spa or golf, hotel restaurant discounts or giveaways, drinks at the bar, parking vouchers in cities, etc. Any kind of hotel discount or giveaway is better than drastically discounted inventory.


 Same Day OTA Sale

Hotels that avoid using online travel agencies for advance hotel bookings can opt for having their accommodations listed on a one-day basis. Advantages include the fact that the discounts offered are not as deep as what the last minute sites dictate and you can set the rate of your choosing. The big OTAs can give the hotel increased exposure for minimum effort as well.


 Targeted Push Marketing Ads

Rather than sitting back and waiting for the revenue trickle from the last minute travel discount sites, get aggressive and place specifically targeted ads with other travel related industries such as the airlines and car rental companies. That way your hotel can be push marketed to consumers who will probably be needing accommodations based on the fact they bought last minute airline tickets or rented a car without a reservation.


 Social Media

Social media can be a great platform for informing last minute travelers about any availability deals a hotel may have upcoming. It is important to make it perfectly understood to potential guests what specific nights are available to them in order for them to receive the deal. Social media is also the best forum for building a lasting relationship with the last minute traveler through truly engaging that customer. Once the hotel has successfully enticed these discount conscious guests to book the hotel, in order to earn their loyalty and return booking, it is necessary to never offer them the hotel’s most costly daily rates anytime in the future.

The hotel guest phenomenon known as the last minute traveler can be successfully leveraged to a hotel’s revenue benefit. This can be accomplished without destroying its entire rate structure and driving away loyal hotel brand past guests.


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