2021 is meant to be a difficult year for the tourism industry. Let’s see how we can achieve the best possible financial results!
Avoid lowering your rates
It is important, in periods of crisis, to protect our hotel’s rate as much as possible, since they are interpreted as ‘value’ to your potential guests. The ongoing crisis is mainly a health crisis but extends to the financial fields. The effects on each country’s economy are currently unknown.
Protecting your hotel’s pricing policy is important because:
➣ Achieving higher average daily rate leads to higher profit, in comparison to lower ADR with higher occupancy rate.
➣ Hotels that maintained their ADR face a smaller decrease of RevPAR in comparison to their competition.
➣ Most hotels already have some reservations for 2021 coming from this year’s cancellations. These reservations have either been moved from 2020 or exist as vouchers. You have to balance between the reservation’s value, the voucher’s value and the product that the guest finally receives.
➣ If you apply large discounts for extended time periods, the risk of having the discount price as the “reference price” arises, which is considered as the hotel’s value. In addition, increasing your prices when the time is right will be difficult.
Under some conditions, the hotel will not be able to keep its pricing policy unharmed.
Cash flow is needed.
Destination’s ADR has dropped, meaning that the competition and the wider market have decreased their prices. That can get the hotel “out of market”.
What to do if you need to lower your rates:
Use clearly identified boundaries.
The lowest price has to appear as an offer, for a limited time with specific terms, so that it can be distinct from the official pricing policy.
Set up flash sales.
Flash sales can be set up on OTA’s and campaigns that are being promoted frequently, in market specific channels such as Secret Escapes, Very Chic, etc.
Provide added value instead of discount.
Configure the room price as a “package” with additional services ex. voucher for F&B consumptions, late check out, etc.
Provide flexibility to your guests
Due to the uncertainty that we all experience, travelers will have a hard time scheduling and committing to their plans. Flexible cancellation policies are important so that you can acquire new reservations. Do not presume that any flexible reservation will be cancelled! Take a moment and think if you need to deactivate Non Refundable rate plans with 100% cancellation fees. Even if travelers that book non refundable rates in order to get a better deal exist, they are very few. Think of the stock markets: when market rates are dropping, there are some “players” that are taking the risk and buy when everyone else is selling. This kind of buyers is the minority. Feel the market’s vibe, sync and adjust accordingly.
In case that you run a hotel with a smaller scale capacity, flexible policies could be too much of a risk for you. A partially refundable rate plan could be more suited to your needs.
Take care of your OTAs’ pages according to our new reality.
Even though sometimes we have to deal with some tough practices on behalf of the online travel agents, we should not “turn our back” on them. In the contrary, treat them like business partners and use their influence to your advantage in smart ways. Observe how policies change and adapt. For instance, Booking was promoting its flexible rates. Even if you had a great offer but the cancellation policy was Non refundable, it would still appear at the bottom of the page with low visibility.
Update your pages for 2021! Let everyone know the actions that you are taking concerning cleaning, disinfecting, etc. You are taking them anyway; it’s a pity not letting people know! Furthermore, I believe that information about hygiene will have a major part in OTAs’assortment process. Stay ahead!
Invest in close proximity markets
According to INSETE, in long haul markets, barely 7% of Americans choose their vacation in another continent while Australians are on 13%, Indians on 16% and Chinese on 6%. 2021 is a year that domestic travel & short distance travel dominate. Promotions should target these markets. Use Google’s free tools and find out who is looking you up (google analytics) and which market is interested in your destination (google trends). Combine this information with a) destination’s accessibility and b) positive data concerning the virus spread & absence of travel restrictions on the country of origin and you have the perfect customer mix for 2021!
Tip: Turn the average occupancy into an advantage. Provide accommodation to travel bloggers that will promote your hotel.
In order for such a collaboration to be meaningful, you need to evaluate carefully the blogger’s audience. It has to be relevant to the audience that you are aiming for and the blogger’s aesthetics to be in sync with your brand, etc. If you decide to go through with such a collaboration, agree in advance on the details about the material (photos, videos) they produce and your right to use it as you wish.