How to craft the perfect boutique hotel deal

Piers Brown By Piers Brown
Uploaded 18 November 2012

These top tips will help you put together an offer to entice incremental stays during quiet periods and help you fill rooms.

1.Winter in Scotland?
Focus on your quietest months, when it makes the most fiscal sense to offer a more aggressive price point. Once you've hooked people through the door with a really attractive room rate, you can then encourage them to spend on extras in-house. Also look for appealing attractions in the local area. If your Scottish property is barren in the winter months, find a local whisky tasting to add to a package and give people a reason to stay in December.

2.Manage availability
If you're creating an offer, look for a travel window of up to six months. This will ensure good availability, especially if your hotel has few rooms. 

3.Low-cost extras
You don't need to throw in everything but the kitchen sink when creating a package, but it is nice to have an offer where people feel there are plenty of perks. Opt for items that have a low cost to you, such as complimentary upgrades, as these have a significant perceived added value to the customer and will also enhance the savings message of any package, without breaking the bank.

4.Crafty extras
When adding in extras, consider what will lead to more spend. Give someone a complimentary glass of fizz on arrival or before dinner, and the chances of them buying the rest of the bottle will shoot up!

5.10% can make all the difference...
To further encourage incremental spend, look at the strengths of your property and encourage people to make the most of the facilities. Offering  discounts on food, golf or spa will significantly boost the number of people taking advantage of these extras, so cutting 10% off spa treatments could get your treatment rooms full when people may not otherwise have indulged. This opens up the opportunity for you to sell guests a bundle of pampering products to take home, too.

6.Big up your awards
It is astounding how many boutique hotels are harbouring awards that they do not mention on their websites. A little bit of self-promotion goes a long way, so be sure you advertise any awards or accolades on the front page of your site.

7.Encourage press reviews
While many boutique hotels don't relish journalists and food critics popping in, a good press review is a great way to get your hotel name out there, and online reviews also have good Google traction when people are browsing for places to stay. If you've got a top-notch chef and chic bedrooms to show off, encourage people to come and review them!

8.Encourage peer reviews
While it is not the most popular tool with many hoteliers, TripAdvisor can be a great source of generating business. Don't underestimate asking your own guests to leave a review - often just the suggestion that they post their thoughts on TripAdvisor or the like is enough to get guests to log on - especially if they had a good experience. Likewise, set up a page on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest to promote your property. That way, when you're creating a hot deal, you can instantly tell people about it - and encourage them to share the news.

Amy Lindsay heads up the hotel production team at Travelzoo, a global publisher of travel, entertainment and local deals with over 25 million subscribers worldwide. For more info contact Amy at [email protected].

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