As of today, almost 80,000 people have been infected with the deadly coronavirus. While the majority of cases have been in mainland China, the fear is palpable all over the world, especially for hoteliers.
Hoteliers fear for their health, since they open their doors to travelers from around the globe, and for the state of their businesses, since many travelers will be rethinking travel plans amid the crisis.
There is good reason for hoteliers to worry about cancellations. Organizers of Mobile World Congress, an annual mobile event, canceled the conference just weeks before 100,000 attendees were planning to travel to Barcelona. Hotels that were overbooked a few weeks ago are now sitting empty.
Hoteliers in countries that get a lot of Chinese tourists, like Switzerland, are also starting to worry. EHL notes that more than 120 million Chinese tourists travel abroad annually. While most stay in Asia (Japan, Thailand or Australia), around ten percent travel to Europe. For example, Chinese arrivals in Switzerland comprise five percent of all arrivals in the country. That’s a sizable amount of revenue to make up.
While it’s virtually impossible to prepare for a health crisis that cuts off travelers from the most populous country in the world, hoteliers can work to make up lost revenue. It starts with the guest database.
Too often, businesses think that to drive more business, they need to bring in new customers. However, studies show that acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer. And, increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%. Finally, the success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%.
What are two simple campaigns you can launch to make up for lost revenue?
OTA Win-Back Campaign
Create a segment composed of all of the guests that have stayed at your hotel in the last 30 days who booked with an OTA alias email address, such as Booking.com or Expedia. Send them a win-back campaign with a discount on their next stay if they join your mailing list. Remember, OTA alias emails expire in 30 days and you can’t market to a guest you don’t know. When you consider how much you pay OTAs for each room night, capturing emails and offering a discount to guests who book directly is a smart move.
A well-timed upgrade campaign can substantially increase revenue for hoteliers. Most Revinate Marketing Pro customers automate these campaigns so every guest is given the ability to add breakfast, upgrade their room, add spa treatments, etc. Pre-arrival emails get a 61% average open rate so they’re great vehicles for compelling offers.
If you’re not able to easily set up automated campaigns, such as the two we describe above, it’s time to look for a new guest marketing solution.
Want to learn more? Get in touch today!