Find out how to increase direct sales by communicating directly with customers! Everything we recommend has been tested and verified, and it can significantly affect your annual income.
The focus of this article are the digital channels used to communicate with customers directly.
Although digital channels are not cheap, we have to point out that it has never been cheaper to directly communicate with customers than it is today. With so many options, the most important thing is actually to plan, strategize, and prioritize channels, starting with the channels that can potentially bring you the most return.
Planning, calendar, and goals
Our number 1 tip is to start planning as early as a year in advance. Yes, even if that sounds unbelievable, in tourism you should start planning a year in advance.
We know that all kinds of changes are possible in the market, and we are not saying that you need to plan everything down to the smallest detail, but rather that you should set up and plan all communications for the upcoming year.
Answer the following questions:
Who are our customers?
Answer the question what offers and activities you will have to attract customers. You will not use the same type of communication for couples, parents with children, and travellers with pets, will you? Every customer has their own needs they would like to be met.
When do we open?
This directly affects the decision when you will start with certain marketing activities.
Those two fundamental questions will help you plan everything in advance and create all creative and communication messages intended for your customers.
Create an Editorial annual calendar including all important dates, and plan campaigns by setting your goals:
Your goals must be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timebound. Example of a SMART goal: an increase in direct Easter sales from Germany by 20% (or even better, from HRK 250,000 to HRK 300,000).
Once you have done that for the entire year, you have everything you need to start creating and implementing it. You have your year-round communication planned.
There will, of course, be changes and unplanned situations, but this way you are surely better prepared than if you work day by day.
Great, now that you have a plan, let’s get into the numbers!
The biggest advantage of digital channels is the fact that they are measurable. The only thing you need is 3 numbers:
- Number of Sessions
- Conversion Rate
- Average Order Value.
If you don’t have insight into these three numbers, set up monitoring and analytics immediately and start measuring them.
Number of Sessions x Conversion Rate x Average Sales Price = Total Income
If last year you had:
10,000 Sessions x 1% (Conversion Rate) x HRK 2,500 (Average Sales Price) = 250,000 (Total Income).
An increase in any of these three numbers by 20% should generate 20% more income.
- We can pay for sessions, or earn organically with SEO activities, etc.
- We can raise the conversion rate through the conversion rate optimization process or announce discounts as we know that they can raise the conversion rate.
- You can raise the average sales price by increasing prices, as well as with better arrangements and packages. You would be surprised how much factors other than the price affect sales.
You have to decide what you would like to invest in to achieve the goal of a 20% increase in sales.
- Will you invest in and pay for traffic through paid media?
- Would you like to generate more traffic through your own channels?
You can invest time and money in new articles and SEO optimization. Remember, it takes a minimum of 6 months for SEO to have any results. This is one of the reasons why we are all for annual planning. If you do not plan, forget about SEO, as that is not an option for you.
Use fresh and interesting content to answer the travellers’ questions, and keep your website updated with local events.
Maybe you’ll decide to invest in conversion rate optimization?
Also, you can have higher prices and more expensive packages. However, as prices increase, we often see a decrease in conversion rates.
You won’t know until you try!
After all that, set your budget and define the 3 communication foundations of your campaign:
- Define the main message/topic
- Define USPs (Unique Selling Points)
- Define the offer, products, and services.
Finally, the last step is defining communication channels.
We at Blueprint divide them into PAID, OWNED, and EARNED:
- Google Search
- Google Display, YouTube, etc.
- Facebook Paid
- Your own website
- Landing pages
- Your own social media accounts and their organic traffic
- Affiliate networks
- Influencers working on sales commission
- OTA channels such as Booking.com, TripAdvisor, etc.
Each of the above media and channels affects sessions and the conversion rate and can be seen not only as a separate profit centre but also as the sum of all communication efforts. This should simply be tested, and the most profitable combination should be found in a given part of the year.
Sales and marketing activities
There are so many ways to market and sell your properties that, if you do it right, bookings should never be an issue.
In tourism, marketing depends on how you make travellers aware of your accommodation unit, and your sales tactics will be the way you will get them to book a stay at your establishment.
Your marketing should mainly focus on:
- Brand expansion
- Adopting a unique message
- Establishing contact with your key target markets
- Being active on social media
- Using an email marketing strategy
- SEO optimization.
Things that are an absolute must nowadays and can help increase sales are:
- Visual advertisements
- A well-crafted communication message
- User-generated content (driven by great experiences)
- Rich offers with added value.
Selling your accommodation capacities should be based on creating anticipation among travellers. They must believe that not staying with you would be a missed opportunity!
When it comes to creativity, there are no right or wrong ideas until you see the results. Becoming creative means you have to experiment and try new things. Think about how you can go beyond the norm and spark a desire in your potential guest.
You have a lot of freedom in sales, and that can be exciting. You can tell every potential guest how great your establishment is and how much fun they will have while enjoying your hospitality.
Promotions are great because, in the digital environment, you can be very flexible and target what you would like to offer and will that way often catch the attention of travellers looking online.
Focus on what guests can expect, such as seasonal, themed, or event-based promotions.
Most destinations experience a low season when tourism is not as active as in other parts of the year. However, with the right offers, your establishment doesn’t necessarily have to endure a period of empty rooms and corridors. Try including discounts with attractive promotions and remind travellers how beautiful your destination is and how many great things they can see when it’s less crowded.
You can offer honeymoon or anniversary promotions if you are in a romantic setting, adventure deals if you are not in a big city, or ultimate relaxation experiences if you are a coastal hotel. Appealing to different lifestyles is always a good idea.
Take advantage of events in your area and include them in your promotions. Go with the flow! People will go looking for these events, which is an ideal opportunity for you to increase your website traffic.
You can offer discounted tickets with bookings, customize the experience depending on specific events, create special prices, and much more.
The possibilities are endless, and we definitely haven’t mentioned all of them. You just need to get going and start planning because, with a good plan, implementation becomes much more efficient!