Prepare your independent hotel for the holiday travel season

The 2015 holiday travel season has arrived.  Over the coming weeks, solo travelers, couples and families will begin crisscrossing the globe to spend time with loved ones and enjoy some much needed rest and relaxation.  While some travelers have already confirmed their flights, scheduled ground transportation and booked hotel rooms, there are plenty who will be scrambling up until the last minute to find travel deals and finalize their itineraries.  Independent hotels looking to fill empty rooms can attract these guests by crafting a marketing and sales strategy that speaks directly to their needs, as well as enhancing their operations to ensure they enjoy a stress-free holiday season.  Here’s how:

Offer website and mobile direct booking-only rates and special packages

Website and mobile direct booking channels present independent hotels with opportunities to be creative and aggressive with their marketing and sales strategy.  Creating special website and mobile-only rates and packages is a great way to grab the attention of travelers hunting for last-minute deals.  Travelers routinely use on online travel agencies (OTAs) and social media to discover hotels, but then click to their websites to view their direct-to-consumer rates.  Knowing this, independent hoteliers should use creative messaging and competitive rates to convince travelers to book now rather than continue searching.  By regularly updating messaging and rate packages on social media and websites, hoteliers can create a sense of urgency among travelers that leads them to book sooner than later so they don’t miss out a great deal.

Use social media to provide helpful travel tips

Traveling during the holidays is stressful.  There are more people than usual on roads and in airports, bad weather can cause delays and cancelations and something unexpected always seems to pop up.  Independent hotels can help their guests prepare for their visit by posting helpful information on their social media channels.  Information such as local weather, road conditions and construction detours, as well as safety information like phone numbers for roadside assistance, will be extremely valuable for travelers visiting from out of town.

Prepare team members to deliver exceptional guest service

Once travelers arrive on-property, they are ready to unwind and enjoy their holiday vacation, so it’s the responsibility of hotel leadership to prepare team members to deliver the exceptional level of guest service they expect.  Independent hoteliers should make time to examine daily operations and train team members on how to handle the stress of the busy holiday season.  By reviewing team member responsibilities, from front desk processes to housekeeping standards, and the best methods for handling guest issues, like declined credit cards, independent hoteliers can ensure their team members also enjoy the holiday travel season.

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