Some of the key factors that matter to leisure travellers:
- Location: Just like business travellers, location is one of the main factors in the booking decision for leisure travellers. They’re especially looking for things they can do in and around the area, restaurants to try, and cultural activities to enjoy – so your property’s area attractions, including shopping, dining and entertainment, matter a lot.
- Price: For the vast majority of leisure travelers, price is the most important factor when choosing a destination! Your property’s rates and special offers are important to leisure travelers. Knowing that you offer the best rates on your website is critical for leisure guests, and dissuade them from shopping around and booking via other 3rd parties.
- Dining Options: One of the things leisure travelers look forward to when on a break is not having to cook! These travelers are going to want to know about your property’s dining options, including restaurants, coffee shops, snack bars and room service. Don’t offer onsite dining? Provide guests with recommendations about local restaurants
- Breakfast: Notably, having complimentary breakfast, or included within the room rate, is also highly appreciated by leisure travelers. Many of them, especially students or young families, can be more cost-conscious than those traveling for business.
- Recreational Facilities & Spa Services: Not surprisingly, leisure travelers want to relax and have fun – so a property’s recreational facilities (pools, golfing, spas) are very important to them.
- Unique experiences: Recreational travelers want to create memories during their trip and that includes finding a property that can provide them with a unique experience. For example,: private dinner cooked by a Michelin-rated chef, falconry display in the hotel grounds, royal afternoon tea, diving with whale sharks, off-road jeep adventure.
- WiFi: We live in a digital age where we expect to be able to get online all the time, and the ability to access wi-fi (preferably for free) is a top priority for leisure travellers. Guests no longer use WiFi just for checking emails, they want to catch-up on their favourite TV show, check social media or post a video of their fabulous hotel room to their Instagram account.
- Reviews: A significant number of consumers begin any purchase journey by checking traveller reviews - whether that’s for the destination, a hotel or a specific attraction. Research shows that reviews can provide strong value for hospitality businesses. Present travelers with reviews on your site, along with a sign of involvement and care from the management, signaled by replies to the review. In this way, they will be more likely to BOOK DIRECT. (click here to review this article from TripAdvisor on how reviews can help your business)
In this playbook we’ll look at 10 key features and functionality of the Avvio booking engine that hotels should focus on, and effectively utilise when it comes to driving bookings and increasing revenues from the leisure traveller.
1. Room descriptions and facilities
Many travellers want to find out everything they can about your hotel before they book. They would want as much information as possible about the stay they will experience, including the hotel bedroom and it’s facilities. Describe the room and it’s facilities in a user-friendly way - remember that the audience isn’t a hotelier! As well as the room facilities, considering describing the layout, space and comfort levels. We would encourage you to include the room’s USP’s - such as a Sea View, Private Balcony, Recent Refurbishment, Nespresso Machine, 4K Smart TV with Netflix, Executive Lounge access etc. You can highlight these both within the room description and highlight them to the booker on your website via custom room incentives.
Example of custom room incentives:
Example of custom room facilities:
2. Room images and videos
With so many accommodation options for consumers to choose from, standing out from the crowd can be increasingly challenging. Having the right high quality images will catch the booker’s attention, and even increase the engagement you receive as a result. According to a 2017 Trivago webinar, profiles with high quality photos receive 63% more clicks than profiles with low quality or no photos. Additionally, a recent TripAdvisor study emphasised the importance of quality and quantity: hotels with 20 or more high quality images tend to receive 150% more traveller engagement.
You can add up to 4 high quality images per room type. Additionally, you can also add room videos, and we would encourage you to add these especially for your highest category of rooms such as Executive, Suites, Penthouses and Apartments.
Example of a room image:
3. Rate descriptions
One of the main goals of a rate plan and its description should be detailed information about which services your guests can expect to receive during their stay. Ideally, this is reflected in the rate name.
The rate plan should have a clear and appealing title, as well as an informative description - no abbreviations or industry-specific jargon! Ensure the rate plan describes any key features, requirements, booking restrictions and payment conditions.
With the leisure traveller in mind, ensure that you utilise Custom Rate Incentives. These messages are a way of highlighting the USP’s and benefits for that specific rate e.g. breakfast included, welcome drink on arrival, rate discount, spa credit, free wifi, inclusive tour etc.
Example of a clear rate description:
4. Length of Stay Discounting (LOS)
Leisure travellers are often looking to stay for longer than business travellers, and a great way to promote and secure a high value booking is to offer a discounted rate based on a minimum number of nights stay. Length of Stay (LOS) Discount is a feature that allows you to apply tiered “Stay and Save” Discounts to any of your rates. This saves you having to create multiple rates in order to apply a discount.
Example of LOS discounts within the booking engine:
5. Closed User Groups (CUG)
OTAs and third parties can play a vital role in driving revenue for leisure bookings – helping travellers discover their accommodation options in a “one stop shop” style website. They quickly help filter through the huge volume of accommodation options that a city destination can offer. The ranking position on these websites can be very important to Hotels but it comes at a very high cost. Often if a Hotel chooses to have a lower price on their direct website, this can negatively impact their ranking.
Our Closed User Group functionality is a great way to drive more direct bookings and revenue to your hotel. It offers an incentive to the booker if they provide their email address to you. It is a way of offering a unique rate or benefits that isn’t available via other 3rd parties (e.g. OTA’s) - it also encourages the benefits of customer loyalty to consumers.
Another key advantage of CUG is that it generates a clean, GDPR database for the Hotel which can be used in email marketing campaigns.
Examples of a Close User Group in the booking engine:
6. Early Check In (ECI) / Late Check Out (LCO)
As we know, leisure travellers can arrive & leave their destination at various times of the day or night, which can lead to increased demand for early check in’s and late check out’s from weary guests.
The ECI and LCO assists you to monetise this further and increase the total booking value. Additionally, it gives you the flexibility to offer it on days / dates where it suits. For example you could allocate 10 late check outs to a Sunday, as you know that you rarely have 100% occupancy on a Sunday night. This allows you to generate more revenue from rooms that may not have been sold otherwise.
--> Helpdesk - Setting up Early Check In / Late Check Out
7. Dynamic Packaging
Dynamic Packaging provides the ability to personalise a guests stay by offering opportunities to upsell/pre-sell various added extras at the time of booking such as meals, spa treatments, champagne & flowers, room view and much more. Dynamic packaging elements can prove very lucrative additional revenue for the hotel, and conversion should be reviewed on a regular basis.
Example of upsells as part of dynamic packaging
Do you offer Vouchers or Gift Cards? Avvio has a Voucher Module - you can sell Fixed/ Flexible Monetary Vouchers, Dining/ Spa/ Overnight stays etc on your website. Payment is either direct to the hotels own Realex Account or via the Avvio PayPal System.
9. Pre-stay email
Once a guest has made a booking, what are you doing to communicate to them prior to arrival at your hotel? A pre-stay email is a great way to promote upgrades, book dinner or a spa treatment. It’s also a great way to provide important information such as hotel location, driving directions and parking.
10. Anti - abandonment messaging
There are many reasons for booking abandonment, but there are also some great strategies that hotels can implement to deter browser drop-off. To aid these techniques, Avvio provides a built-in anti-abandonment tool. This feature has been designed to deter and reduce abandonment in the guest journey.
The anti-abandonment message is triggered for a new user when we identify abandonment intent. Once triggered, our anti abandonment tool will display a message to encourage the booking engine shopper to stay on the site and convert.
This is a great way to enforce the message to leisure guests that by booking directly they will receive the best rate, and there is no need to shop elsewhere.
Leisure guests are an important source of business for many hotels. By following the above guidelines, and linking them alongside your revenue and marketing strategies, you should be in a great position to stand out from the crowd and ensure that leisure travellers chose your hotel over and above your competitors!