International travel is now fully-fledged. Anyone can travel anywhere, anytime they like.
International leisure guests are usually more valuable to your hotel because they tend to stay longer and spend more, given they have saved up for several weeks of annual leave.
With the growth of global travel showing no signs of slowing down, securing international bookings is an absolute must for hotels that want to become profitable. There are some fundamental strategies you need to employ and some factors that may be holding you back.
As always, the key to success is in the details.
Five simple tactics to attract more international guests to your hotel:
#1 Increase your language and currency capabilities
If you don’t have multi-language and multi-currency optimised, it’s very likely you’ll experience a high number of abandoned bookings.
Guests may love the look of your website or property images, but if they’re unable to read about your features in their own language, or view rates into their own currency, they’ll quickly become frustrated and look for a hotel that can accommodate these needs.
Translating your web pages is not the only priority. To give international guests the full experience you may want to offer translated brochures or audio tours to give guests an idea of what to do and see during their trip.
Employing multi-lingual staff will also be a huge benefit. Communicating with them prior to their arrival in their own language will make them feel more comfortable.
There are generally popular languages such as Spanish that you will want to cover but to help you decide which languages to translate you should use Google analytics. You can see which countries you’re getting the most views on your website from and start focusing on those key areas.
Knowing where the bulk of your international audience is from is important for all aspects of your hotel marketing.
#2 Stay active on social media
As with Google, Facebook can tell you where your followers are from. With this information you can start posting content to engage the target audience to want to attract, or use targeted ads.
You can be as generic or as specific as you want with your advertising, depending on what your goal is. For example, targeting females under 30 vs females in general.
You could even start making occasional posts in their native language to create a stronger affinity with them. Being active in general, with varied and interesting content, is the best thing you can do.
With over 1.5 billion Facebook users, who check their profiles on average 14 times a day, you have no limits on who you can attract to your hotel.
#3 Keep up-to-date with OTAs and maximise SEO
Obviously international travellers will research their trips via channels they’re familiar with. Making your presence felt on the local OTAs and third party sites of the travellers you want to target is vital. Again, you can analyse your traffic to see which regions you’re most popular with and redouble your efforts in that area.
The same goes for search engine optimisation. If organic traffic is flooding in from China, you should make it a priority to connect to Ctrip and start capturing the huge amount of potential bookings waiting for you.
#4 Partner with international websites and showcase your destination
Travel blogs and websites can reach far and wide, so it’s worth getting in contact with any that you think may prove useful.
By offering a free stay to bloggers, you can convince them to write a review of your location and property gaining you exposure in their own country and beyond.
Creating links with local publications can be a strong driver of international traffic too.
#5 Maintain your website and manage your reviews
Few things are more important than the overall aesthetic and functionality of your hotel website. If it looks old and is slow, guests will view this as a representation of your property and service.
This is especially important when international visitors are often coming from a location that expects an optimal experience online; such as China, which has very fast internet speeds.
Of equal importance are your online reviews. International travellers generally trust their peers so if your rating isn’t high, your bookings will suffer.
Do your best to manage online reviews by being responsive, calm, and patient.