Australian-bound package travellers book earlier, stay longer, cancel less and spend more than their non-package counterparts, says the latest Expedia data.
Here’s how to lure more of them to your accommodation, according to the group’s market management director, Alejandro Moxey.
- Know your top origins, and their specific travel habits
Packages offer many benefits to both hotels and travellers, and to get the most value from packages, hotels should know their top origins markets.
You can then look at the specific bookings habits that each origin brings: do they tend to book five-star or three-star? Prefer beach or city properties? Are they sightseers, shoppers or both?
For example, nearly 40 percent of international package demand to Australia was for a five-star property compared to just over 25 percent of international standalone demand.
- Offer origin-specific deals & promotions
When thinking through advertising and marketing dollars, properties should leverage origin-specific deals.
If you know, for instance, that a high percentage of one origin market’s visitors come through the package path, offer a higher discount to draw even more guests from that market.
If you are offering a “stay five, save 20 percent” for international packages, you may want to do a “stay five, save 25 percent” to tap deeper into that package-heavy market.
Another tip: don’t miss out on the shorter packages and instead provide discounts for multiple length of stay tiers.
A lot of international package promotions focus on seven-plus nights, but they lose out on the four-to-five-night stay, which is often more common.
A tiered discount strategy, with discount increasing with nights booked, can ensure you capture every length of the package
- Know your international packages peak times
Be aware of top booking periods from your top origins, which can vary by country and region.
For Sydney, international visitation spikes over December and January, whereas in the hot tropical region of Cairns, April and May are more popular.
Peak times for specific markets can help narrow your strategic focus. For example, in Perth Chinese visitation spiked in February, which aligns with the nation’s Chinese New Year holiday.
Another tip: Knowing that packages have longer booking windows, properties can also keep costs down by targeting only on the package path for travellers booking 40-plus days out.
- Money matters: keep an eye on exchange rates
Properties should be aware of currency conversion rate changes related to top origin markets.
If the Australian dollar strengthens versus the currency of your target origin, the same discount that worked in the past may no longer have the same value to the customer. Conversely, average daily rate growth can be felt more.
- Differentiate your property
With the typical package paid for in advance, the traveller likely has more funds available to spend on-property, whether at the restaurant, bar, spa, or on activities.
There are numerous ways that hotels can stand out from their competitors and attract more looks and books.
Knowing that package travellers are more likely to upgrade and spend more on property, hotels should target guests with special discounts and offers, value-add promotions, and complimentary amenities leading up to their arrival.
- Leverage insights and experts
Putting big data to work for your property is the smartest thing you can do, because data doesn’t lie. It gives you invaluable insights into origins, seasonal trends, compression periods, buying habits, and your competitive set.