How to Eliminate Hotel & Resort Fees While Boosting Occupancy, ADR & RevPAR
One of the biggest mistakes that many hotels continue to make is charging hotel and resort fees. There have been many consumer articles and TV travel segments warning guests about hotel fees, all of which make hotels sound like evil monsters, out to steal every last dollar from travelers’ well-worn wallet(s). Even though these fees are a legal business practice, consumers don’t see it that way; they see it as a “trick” to get guests to booking, which could be supported by the fact that, most properties that do charge fees, go out of their way to hide the fact that the fee exists.
While hotel and resort fees do help properties to cover the ever-increasing cost of doing business (without decreasing bookings), they don’t work in a hotel's favor in the long-run; they make customers angry, ruin a property’s reputation and decrease occupancy – and profits – over time.
So, how can the hotel industry eliminate fees without eliminating the valuable added revenue that they bring in? Simple: Upgrade the CRS.
Today, innovative CRS have built-in features that can have a huge impact on a property’s occupancy, ADR and RevPAR. This article from Vertical Booking USA discusses different features hotels can and should take advantage of when using their CRS to attract future guests.
FEATURE: OTA Rate Comparison Pop-Up
A CRS can enable OTA Rate Comparison Pop-Ups to potential guests who are checking the availability and pricing of hotel rooms on the brand.com website; the pop-ups show real-time rates from the top OTAs and metasearch engines, making a potential guest comfortable that he/she is getting the best rate on their upcoming trip – and making them more likely to book directly.
FEATURE: Persuasive Messaging & Tagging
The Persuasive Messaging & Tagging feature shows a potential guest that others are looking at and/or booking rooms, at that exact moment (social proof) and that the property is so popular that they are almost completely booked (scarcity). The combination of these two psychological triggers are powerful ones, and ones that your CRS can help your property leverage to boost direct bookings.
FEATURE: Secret, Locked Deals
This feature helps hotels to use the psychological trigger of reciprocity, in which the property gives the potential guest something special (access to lower rates) in exchange for their email address (and permission to add them to your email marketing list). Secret rates make potential guests feel like VIPs, which makes them more likely to book AND it gives the hotel the opportunity to market to consumers regularly. This is also a good way to increase repeat visits which are the most profitable for hotels.
FEATURE: Abandoned Cart Recovery Strategy
Like in the retail industry, this feature encourages guests who are about to abandon the reservation to complete the booking, using a fully customized pop-up message. Simple but also, highly effective!
FEATURE: Competitor's Rate Checker
The Competitor’s Rate Checker feature makes it easy for your property’s revenue management team to monitor the rates of your competitors, in real-time, from the main online distribution portals; this enables rate changes on the fly and an increase in occupancy.
FEATURE: Metasearch Management Tool
Having a Metasearch Management Tool integrated into the CRS allows the property’s revenue management team to manage, monitor and connect with the top metasearch engines, all from one simple platform. Rates and availability are pulled from the booking engine and sent to the metasearch platform, with all clicks directed to the booking engine on the property’s website.
FEATURE: Alternative Offers
Upselling is a huge revenue booster and a CRS should integrate functions that automate upselling for every customer who moves from looking to booking, via the brand.com booking engine. Instead of just offering a fancier room (as ALL hotels do, and which most customers rarely consider because it’s so unnecessarily expensive), the Alternative Offers feature in a CRS can automatically suggest special promotions for guests who choose to stay for additional nights and/or can offer bundle packages during the room selection phase of the booking cycle (among many other upselling options, designed according to the property’s business goals and amenities).
FEATURE: Flexible Date Calendar
Today, many travelers have the flexibility to choose their travel dates to decrease their overall spend – instead of making decisions based on a set date of travel (as travelers traditionally booked flights). Sophisticated CRS solutions can show potential guests room rates on a calendar, making it easy for them to find and book the least expensive stay possible – no extra clicks required!
To become more profitable, the entire hospitality industry need to move away from taking advantage of customers and realize that keeping them happy, keeps hotel bank accounts happy. And the best way to do that is by improving technology use.