Research shows that, for travellers, 2019 is all about making every minute count. ‘Micro trips’, ‘weekend getaways’, ‘mini breaks’ – whatever term you use – a huge 53% of travellers say they’re planning to take more weekend trips this year.
These trips are also more likely to be spur-of-the-moment, last-minute decisions. Travel-related searches for ‘tonight’ and ‘today’ grew by over 150% on mobile devices between 2015 and 2017, and that doesn’t look set to change in 2019. Bookers are seizing the opportunity to travel as much as they can, whenever they can.
This means an increase in last-minute short-stay demand – something you, as an accommodation owner can tap into over the next 12 months. In this post, we’ll suggest four ways you can use technology to reach today’s connected traveller with data from our 2019 trends infographic.
1. Use price optimisation technology
It can be difficult to know what price to sell your rooms at, and when. Price optimisation tools can take away some of the guesswork by providing you with comprehensive market data – so you’ll always have the right rates at the right time.
Using a price optimisation tool, you’ll be able to keep an eye on demand for your destination, see aggregated pricing for your competitive set and create alerts so you can react when demand goes up or down. By taking these steps, you can feel secure in the knowledge that your rates look great to potential last-minute bookers.
2. Create special weekend offers
One surefire way to catch weekend travellers’ attention is to set up a deal or promotion. This could be a discounted rate, but it doesn’t have to be, as things like free breakfast or airport transfers also provide a great incentive to book.
For something a bit more experiential, you could collaborate with local suppliers – like restaurants, attractions or travel companies – to agree on mutually beneficial weekend offers. With research showing that 60% of travellers now value experiences over material things, these thoughtful extras can only be good for business.
3. Use your website to inspire guests and encourage direct bookings
Use your social media pages, website or accommodation blog to show your guests exactly what makes your property the perfect place for a weekend getaway. If you host drinks in the lobby on Saturday nights, post a quick video to Facebook or Instagram with a few appropriate hashtags. Cook up a lovely brunch every Sunday morning? Make sure you post that, too.
Ideally, you want guests viewing this content to be able to book there and then, while you have their attention. Adding a booking engine to your website or social media page means guests can reserve a stay in just a couple of clicks, instead of having to navigate to another site and potentially get distracted.
4. Track guest reviews – and use them to your advantage
Studies show that a huge 96% of travellers consider other guests’ reviews important when researching and booking accommodation. By using guest review technology, you can keep track of what your guests are saying and highlight the best bits on your website or social media pages.
To encourage last-minute bookers, make note of positive reviews from guests who stayed for the weekend and share one of these to your social media profiles each Thursday or Friday morning. You could also write a blog article about an ideal weekend in your destination and include quotes from guest reviews – also known as ‘social proof’ – to add extra credibility.
Want to learn about the other 2019 trends?
Now we know how your guests are likely to be travelling, but what do they expect when they arrive – and how can you make sure you give them a great guest experience? Check out our complete 2019s travel trends infographic for more ways to reach the connected traveller.