Whether you have a multi-property hotel chain or a tiny bed & breakfast, occupancy levels is a major concern. Empty rooms equal to zero revenue. To bolster your reservation numbers, you probably employ a mixture of techniques such as running ad campaigns, offering discounts, increasing your distribution network, etc. While each of these methods will draw attention to your hotel and will help increase occupancy levels, there are lower end and less time-consuming techniques such as ‘Hotel Packages’ that you can employ to bolster your occupancy levels.
Today, ‘Hotel Package’ is a lost art mainly because in the past just creating a package was not enough. You had to spend significant amounts of your marketing budget to promote the package without any guarantee of reservations and success. To make matters worse, you could not measure the program’s success. Today, the Internet changed all that. You don’t have to take out ads, you can simply create a package and post it on your hotel website. By placing the ‘Package’ on your website, you ensure it gets plenty of relevant exposure, and results are measurable (add an analytics code to the package and your website if you don’t already have one). Plus, by offering packages only on your hotel website, you encourage potential guests to book directly with you, thus cutting the amount of commission paid.
A travel and hotel package is the most well known package today (used by third party travel websites). Tell a potential guest that he can fly to Singapore and stay at 4 star hotel for less than 40 thousand, you will see a big smile on his face and see him pull out his card or cheque book to book his trip immediately. However, for most hotels, offering a travel and hotel package is not feasible, because of the expensive and time it will take to develop a relationship and negotiate with airlines, bus or train operators.
Before you lose hope, keep in mind, ‘Packages are not limited to travel and hotel packages’. The basic idea of ‘Hotel Packages’ is to create a perception of value in the mind of the guest.
Now that you are aware how and why creating and pushing ‘Hotel Packages’ is beneficial, how do you create one?
The first rule of developing of reservation generating ‘Hotel Package’ is to remember that ‘Travelers love ‘Packages’. A ‘Hotel Package’ provides them with reasons to travel (earn how to make Wine at a nearby vineyard), convenience (close to the world’s best theme park) and an added value (free day tours for guests), which ultimately acts as the push to ‘book now’. Simply put, a ‘Hotel Package’ offers a guest some additional value. For example, you can use different in-house facilities such as candle light dinners, coupons for your casino, a boat ride down the river etc. to create a value-providing package.
If you have a small hotel with limited amenities, you can consider tying up with a nearby restaurant or day tour provider to offer guests a discount as part of the package. For example, 10% off for Jungle Safari on your 3 Nights/4 Day Jungle Package.
The second rule is extremely important especially for hotels that have very limited amenities to offer, ‘For travelers, traveling is about destination not about hotel’. Business travelers need to visit your city to attend a meeting or conference. The motivation already exists, and they are looking for a suitable and convenient location to stay. Hotel packages that emphasis proximity will help attract these business travelers to your hotel. Leisure travelers on the other hand are looking for reasons to visit a particular destination (they select the destination first and then select the hotel). You need to determine what attractions draw leisure travelers to your destination. Keep in mind that while some draws (museums, theme parks, beaches etc) are year round, others are seasonal (conventions, sports events, etc.). The purpose of this activity is to use the strongest draws to increase your occupancy levels. This technique works effectively for any size hotel so, you need to keep checking, evaluating and modifying your package to appeal accordingly.
You can also increase the popularity of your package and traffic to your hotel website using search engine optimization. For example, if you are a 3 star hotel located in Mumbai, where a cricket match is being held between India and Pakistan. You can optimize your site/package to display every time someone uses the search terms ‘cricket, Mumbai, India, Pakistan, October’. By adding these keywords to your Meta tag or page title list (search engine optimization), you will ensure that anyone planning to visit Mumbai to attend the match will learn about your hotel and consider staying at your hotel.
To summarize, creating a ‘Hotel Package’ may take a little thought and work, but by creating a Package, you can improve the popularity of your hotel’s website, thus, increasing your overall occupancy levels.