According to a 2017 report by Phocuswright, the global travel activity market is projected to reach $183 billion by 2020. This figure stood at $135 billion in 2016, with hotel industry’s share marked at 33%. Hotel industry is a crucial stakeholder in the travel ecosystem and its share is going to grow as the global travel market is also expected to expand. And as a hotelier, you must do everything possible to attract more international hotel guests to your property.
In the United States, where hotels across categories face fierce competition, attracting and satisfying foreign guests becomes quite a task. However, with a bit of insights on foreign guests’ demands and expectation and with a bit of a practical approach in place, hotels in the U.S. can attract international tourists to their properties.
Here are some tips on how to attract international guests –
Most importantly, first identify your target audience
You must know the kind of foreign tourists visiting your region. Try to understand their nationality, age group, their stay patterns and how they spend during their stay in a hotel and the time of their visit, etc. Once you get to know your target guest, it becomes easier for you to have a strategy to attract them to your property.
Then comes –
Branding – think about your hotel brand’s niche
A well-thought-out branding strategy will give your hotel the much-needed brand value and will also help you in many ways to attract travellers. Most importantly, a consistent branding is an operational necessity as it helps your target audience in distinguishing your hotel. Your hotel website should have all the required information a guest might look for.
Be very cohesive while projecting your brand’s niche. Why and how your property is in a better position to serve those foreign guests? What edge you have over others? In simple words, give your potential guest some solid reasons to book with you. And yes, use your website to offer them a virtual tour of your hotel. If they (guests) get to see how the room and other amenities will look like, it might prompt them to book with you.
Reach out to them via marketing
Moreover, you must run geo specific campaigns to attract more traffic to your website. For example, you are running a hotel in Los Angeles and your target audience are from European countries like Germany and France. Here are some of tricks you might find useful –
PPC ads and social media ads
Run PPC ads and social media ads in Germany and France using the right keywords (terms that travellers from Germany and France use while searching for a hotel in Los Angeles). This helps you to project your hotel’s brand right in front of your target audience. Also, this would prompt the viewer to get on to your website landing page that has been specially optimized (language specific) for those regions. It really increases the scope of a higher conversion rate.
Implement the same strategy when it comes to running your social media ads. Don’t forget to have engaging content while trying to connect with your potential guest on social media platforms. Here too, don’t ignore the importance of language. Let them read and know more about your hotel brand in their own language. This helps, for sure.
Leverage the power of online hotel booking engine
Now, once they are on your website, entice them with special offers and lure them to get onto your booking engine. Chances are high that they will book with you directly. And, most importantly, you must have staff speaking their language to make them feel comfortable at your property. Right from the pre-booking chat, to pick-up and drop at the airport, ensure that your staff speaks to your foreign guests in their languages.
Ensure your hotel’s presence on popular OTAs
Identifying popular Online Travel Agencies that your target audience is most likely to use is one of the best hotel strategies to attract foreign guests. List out your property with right packages, it will help you grow your hotel’s online visibility in your targeted geographies. However, make sure to have a smart cloud-based Hotel PMS that is seamlessly connected to your channel manager software. This connectivity would help you to update all your OTAs with rate and inventory, real-time. Thus, you can avoid issues related to overbooking and double booking.
Additionally, don’t forget to get connected with GDSs. This would help you get bookings from offline travel agents those are popular in your targeted countries.
Promote your local attractions
It could be anything that has a ‘special’ tag attached to it. It could be a wine festival, film festival, or even a fair in nearby locality that draws maximum foreign tourists. Find out the type of foreigners are coming to those events and from where they come in. Tie up with those events as ‘hospitality partner’. You can run PPC ads in your targeted geos to let your potential guests know that you are the exclusive hospitality partner of such events. Tempt them to book with you by giving certain percentage of discounts on confirmed booking, or you could even give them free passes if they stay with you.
Promote guest reviews
This is crucial for you. Guest reviews can influence a potential buyer’s booking decision. Get your international hotel guests write good reviews on your property and services. Be thoughtful and careful while responding to guest reviews – both good and bad. Make sure that you promote good reviews on as many platforms as possible.
Let us know if you have done something out of the box and that has got you more international hotel guests. We would love to hear your experience on this.