Taking advantage of a post lockdown boom: 8 key things hotels can do

Updates , Coronavirus

Following on from the news of the re-opening of the hospitality industry hotels will, once again, be able to welcome guests back through their doors on May 17th. The countdown to re-opening has officially begun and hoteliers need to be prepared for the boom in bookings as consumer confidence rises.

Hotel reservations peaked to all time high after the Prime Minister's announcement of the roadmap to release the lockdown here in the UK. The impact of the Government announcement was immediate as UK hotel reservations on the 22nd February YOY increased by a staggering 307%, room nights rose by 605% and subsequently turnover from direct hotel bookings increased by 685%. 

Previous booking data from the first two weeks in February suggested that guests had already started to forge ahead with hotel bookings – this showed room night bookings were up by 19% with a 53% increase in turnover from direct bookings.

Hotels can look to make up the shortfall of the last few months by getting more value from each booking – helping them to bounce back. So take the steps now in preparation, and get ready to reap the rewards.

Furthermore, UK hotels saw an average 34% increase in direct bookings in 2020 (October 2020 data), meaning guests are more likely than ever to visit a hotel’s website directly to make a booking, thereby circumventing the OTAs and their high commission fees. With this in mind, Profitroom has outlined 8 key steps that hoteliers should be taking to ensure they take advantage of the post-lockdown rush to book:

1. Increase your minimum length of stay restrictions

Put simply, this encourages guests to book for longer, allowing hotels to get more value from each individual booking and helps to fill shoulder nights to reduce occupancy gaps. People will also be looking to take advantage of longer breaks now, especially domestically, so give them the option. We recommend the optimal minimum LOS restriction for the summer season should be 3 nights.

2. Add more upsells and experiences

With the cabin fever of lockdown restricting so many of us, more people than ever are open to adding luxuries or exciting extras to hotel stays – so look to provide upsells that entice guests, encouraging them to spend more.

3. Increase peak season prices

Demand will be high, so increase prices to reflect this; especially during peak season. As we saw following lockdown 1, demand quickly outstripped supply and many hotels were sold out.

4. Extend ‘traditional’ seasons

Summer for hotels traditionally runs from the third week of July to September 1st, however hotels should look to extend this from June until September. With homeschooling and virtual working ever more prevalent, there’s more opportunity for people to get away, with fewer term time restrictions.

5. Add more packages to generate higher booking value

In a similar vein to adding experiences, unique and creative packages are easier to sell – think about what people want post-lockdown; be that ‘self-care’ packages, outdoor activities, or simply treating themselves to a high-end experience.

6. Configure paid dog stays online

Lockdown saw a huge increase in dog ownership. Not just this, with owners being home all the time, many dogs now have separation anxiety. So, we anticipate a boom in people wanting to take their dogs on holiday with them – make sure you’re well placed to take advantage if you’re dog friendly, with prominently placed messaging and targeted promotions.

7. COVID guarantees

Safety and trust are important factors, especially as consumer confidence grows in the wake of the vaccine, but make sure you reassure guests that you’re COVID secure.

8. Payment Schedules

With longer stays and higher prices, look to provide an option for guests to establish a payment plan to tempt them to extend their booking. At Profitroom, we have a new feature that allows for this – and it’s proving extremely popular with guests.

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