To regain & remain competitive, our industry needs to find ways to create value for consumers in the booking process. As consumer booking preferences change and profitability erodes with the increased volume through distribution channels, finding ways to create value & increase the perceived value of your property will have a positive impact on your bottom line.
The clear value proposition should be simple and straightforward. Any known customer who books direct should always get a better deal. This is not a best rate guarantee; it could be a better rate.
Guests should know that no matter the season or day, if they book direct they will receive a better deal, value-added offer or enhanced service. As long as the customer is recognised, this does not break parity agreements. A “better rate” needs to be looked at carefully as what is your percentage of direct bookings now? as these will down trade and if no additional customers book direct you have further dilution. Value added services such as upgrades or reduced premiums for upgrades for example could be attractive. In the customers mind it is perceived value but the hotel is still making money.
Hotel loyalty programs are attractive but often marketed towards repeat corporate customers who would book anyway. They can be very restrictive and give guests no hope of ever earning a free night or status. Offer something of value & encourage non frequent segments/customers to return and incentivise your Corporate/Regular demand to come back on leisure if this is a need period in your hotel.
With that said the biggest impact on your revenue with the evolving nature of booking channels & customer behaviour is Revenue Management & being strategic in deals and protecting margins going forward.