The travel industry is seemingly very hard to put into a recession. In fact it’s extremely difficult to even slow down growth, which is great news for hotels and other hospitality businesses.
Following a record year in 2017, the UK is set to produce an even better result this year.
Here are the figures along with some tips on what you can do at your hotel to capture as many bookings as possible.
By the numbers: Travellers to the UK will break records in 2018
In 2018, predictions see travellers to the UK surpassing 40 million for the first time, beating out 2017’s figure of 39.9 million by 4.4%.
Spending is expected to reach £27 billion over the next 12 months, another record. And interestingly, these extra travellers will be greeted by 19,000 new rooms.
The steady increase is being attributed to larger numbers of European, American, and Chinese travellers as well as pop-culture phenomenons like Game of Thrones, which is attracting people to Northern Ireland where some of the series is filmed.
In 2017, other European travellers made up the biggest group going to the UK with 19.6 million, and North America also saw a 14% increase on 2016.
Visits from the rest of the world, like Australia and China, were also up 15% on 2016.
The UK was also ranked third for tourism globally in the 2017 Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index (NBI).
How can hotels capitalise on high traveller volumes?
Such a high number of travellers is fantastic news for hoteliers. More travellers means more opportunity for revenue and profit. When business is good you can afford to have your rates slightly higher and use clever promotions and marketing strategies to attract guests to your property.
Here’s a reminder of three ‘P’ tactics you should always use at your hotel:
Promotions are great because you can use them in so many different ways. Usually a promotion is used to give travellers extra value and therefore a larger incentive to book at your hotel. This doesn’t necessarily mean your hotel has to lose money in the promotion either. Promotions will most often be specific to your hotel, but some examples include:
- Link with other businesses
For international travellers, finding ways to make their trip easier and more efficient will be a high priority. This why a hotel offering discounts or coupons to local restaurants or attractions with a room booking will catch the eye.
- Offer ‘freebies’
Small touches like free breakfast, a free massage, or free drink won’t hurt your hotel, but might be just the nice surprise a guest needs to make a booking with you instead of someone else.
- Last-minute upgrades
If you have some of your higher rate rooms free why not offer travellers an upgrade at a reduced price? They will likely jump at the chance to stay in more comfort and you can make some extra money for that night, when the more expensive room might otherwise have stood empty.
Personalising your hotel’s guest services can give travellers the warm, friendly, feeling they need to make a booking with you over a competitor. This might include:
- Communicating with guests by first name
- Collecting guest preferences and remembering requests
- Anticipating their needs during their stay
Marketing on social media platforms is vital in this day and age, but all travellers have favourites which they use the most often. However by far the most useful for hotels are:
Facebook is hugely popular for travellers when researching their trip as well as sharing their experiences with family and friends. This means you need to ensure they can find your deals, make a booking direct from your page, and you should always share interesting and relevant content. With the new algorithms coming into play, it’s more important than ever to be engaging.
Instagram is made for travellers. Everyone wants to show off how amazing their holiday is and Instagram makes this easy. Your hotel can do the same, by producing high quality images of your property, as well as running promotions and competitions so users can get involved with your brand.