Throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia hoteliers have struggled to find the right way to maintain their existing bookings in the face of mandated hotel shutdowns. Collectively billions have been spent to drive bookings and those bookings have all but disappeared… or have the? In this episode, we look at ways to get your bookings back.
48% of Americans Canceled Summer Travel Due to Coronavirus Concerns.
The COVID recovery is already underway with several locations around the US beginning to open up and our data is showing room searches are beginning a significant upward trend. Even if your location is not yet open for business, now is absolutely the time to engage your customers and start booking rooms for the future.
Today we’re covering five ways you can reconnect with your cancelled bookings and convert them back into guests based on the article at fueltravel.com/blog/surefire-strategies-to-recover-your-hotels-lost-reservations/.
Before we begin you will want to make sure you have the tools to overcome what is likely your potential guests’ #1 objection: Fear & Uncertainty. We cover this in detail in Episode #139 but the highlights are:
- Have a worry-free 100% refund or cancellation policy
- Create added value for booking now
- Ensure your offers have flexible booking windows
- Highlight your resort’s cleaning policies
- Nail messaging that will resonate with your potential guests.
Once this is done, we can dive into the top five ways to convert your cancelled reservations back into guests… starting at the bottom.
#5: Target Your Drive Markets
It is very likely that your guests immediately after reopening will be drive-market guests due to a reluctance to fly and desire to possibly stay within the state. This means ensuring that you are maximizing your exposure to those within a few hours of your location. – https://www.fueltravel.com/blog/guide-to-targeting-drive-markets/
#4: Proactively Call With Your Cancelled Reservations
Picking up the phone and reaching out to your guests may be one of the most effective means of converting a canceled reservation back to a booking. Hopefully, you are taking advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program and have the staff available to begin reaching out to all your canceled reservations and seeing what you can do to bring them back. This is a very manual process, but like all things that can be hard to do it is absolutely worth the effort.
#3: Find & Reengage Your Guest Throughout The Web
One great advantage you have with engaging your canceled guests is that they once booked and you have their data. This means you have access to information that will allow you to find them again and reach out with an amazing, personalized, message across the web. Within most platforms such as Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, Facebook, and others you are able to create a custom audience based on an upload (email, name, etc).
#2: Engage Your Guests With A Personalized Email
We have found that email is the single most effective tool for engaging (and re-engaging) your guest history. It is practically the only asset you have that allows you to proactively reach back out to your guests. To begin, you will be using your CRM system to send your cancelled guests a powerful message, personalized just for your guests based on their folio information. Before we begin what this message should include it should be noted that we are recommending two segments, listed below:
#1: Don’t Lose Your Guests To Cancellations In The 1st Place
Did you know that the best way to have a low cancellation rate is by not having a lot of guests cancel their stay? That’s obvious but does need to be stated. If you can help your guest modify their stay, they won’t cancel in the first place.
You are going to have to come up with creative tools for your team to use to retain your guests, just at a later time. Follow some of these suggestions to keep your guests, and hopefully ignore the other four tips above!
- Give your staff latitude to keep the guest when they try to cancel. Moving a reservation to a premium time, upgrading a room, this and more should all be on the table.
- Consider offering guests a voucher for their future stay at some premium to their booking. An example would be a canceled $100 stay, becomes a $125 voucher toward a future stay.
- Make sure your guests know about your easy, worry-free cancellation policy. If their stay is still a few months in the future they should know they can cancel at any point up to their date of stay with no penalty
- Have a cheat sheet for your agents that address as many of a guest’s potential concerns, and add to it often.
- In the event that you allow for online cancellations, make sure you have the right tools in place to nudge the guest toward a modification (incentive to reschedule, etc).
If your guest absolutely has to cancel, make the process so enjoyable that they are sure to book again.
In The Newsaroos:
Submit your questions and topic ideas on Twitter to @fueltravel or firstname.lastname@example.org.