What To Do When Your Hotel Rooms Aren’t Selling
(Hint – Have a look at your digital store – It might be in need of a renovation.)
Enter your favorite shop and look around.
Why do you think it has become your favorite?
Very probably, because besides offering good stuff, it’s all set up for a great shopping experience.
The signature products are presented in a way that grab your attention, the store surroundings
let you feel comfortable and at ease, and making a purchase is a pleasant process.
Now, enter a hotel website to book a room. Most hotels treat their core product as a sideshow.
A nice image of a room, a list of features next to it and that’s the end of that presentation.
Not the optimal way to get business and successfully close a sale, is it?
Why don’t you tempt prospective guests with a shopping experience they’ll
really enjoy and in the process, sell more rooms?
Making your hotel store look appealing and inviting is relatively simple if you pay attention
to three key points:
Reduce room categories to sell more rooms
Too much choice can lead to fewer sales. In his 2004 book, “The Paradox of choice”, American
psychologist Barry Schwartz shows that offering limited choices helps reduce shoppers’ anxiety.
Imagine you need a new printer. You go online, google “inkjet printer” and up come 1,894 hits
under Amazon.com. Perfect – lots of choices and all you have to do is make the decision. But
exactly how many printers do you need to view to find the one that’s “right” and how do you
know this one is really the optimal choice? Anxiety starts creeping in and you become indecisive.
It’s no different in, let’s say, a supermarket. Ever looked at 24 different brands of jam on
display and tried to make a choice? That’s what Sheena Iyengar, author of “ The Art of Choice,”
and TED presenter asked her test group to do in an experiment. Turns out that of the people
who were exposed to such a large selection of jams, only 3% made a purchase. When, for a
different group, the selection was reduced to 6 jams, 30% (!) of the customers made a purchase.
Use Yield Management carefully. Once things get too complex, your guests
won’t spend the time and energy to figure it out.
Revenue management enables hotels to predict demand, optimize inventory and maximize revenue.
It’s a great tool that helps hotels sell smarter. That is, as long as it doesn’t get too confusing
and complicated for potential guests…
Visit some hotel websites and you’ll find up to 15 different room categories, 4 different seasons,
small print with taxes that are still to be added and special discounts that are applicable,
if (…fill in the blank…) Terms, conditions and further instructions are all over the place a
nd after one long look, your potential guest just wants to leave.
A great hotel shopping experience looks different. It highlights your “best” room, provides choices
below and above that category, and showcases rates and availability in a way that is simple and
straightforward. Guests aren’t forced to think things through, rather, with two or three clicks,
are presented with all the information they need.
Believe me, the more complex it gets, the quicker your prospective guest will abandon the
booking process, and once they’re gone, this direct booking has very probably been lost forever.
You’ve highlighted your great looking hotel features, but how will
your guests benefit from this?
Do you buy shoes because of their patented foot bed or great arch support? No, you purchase
shoes that are comfortable, make you look nice and deliver a great walking experience.
The same goes for hotel rooms. Your guests are not looking for real estate or interior design,
but for a great hotel experience. Don’t get me wrong. Your rooms have fabulous features and
you should proudly show them off. But if you met a guest in your hotel lobby and he asked you
about a recommendation, how would you respond?
You’d probably have a nice chat, ask him a few questions about his requirements and needs, and
depending on the answers you’d be able to suggest the ideal room in your product line –
the room that provides the best benefits to that guest.
If you did a good job, your guest would happily walk away to book the room.