There’s no question the hospitality industry has experienced a major impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, we remain optimistic as we move into the recovery phase. Hotel bookings are on the rise, and travel agent bookings are growing–more than doubling since April.
Travelers and travel agents are still looking to book future business even if your hotel is temporarily closed or there are travel restrictions in your market. It’s important to ensure your property is taking advantage of the available demand, and following the necessary steps to maximize your visibility to travel buyers.
Solutions like GDS Media provide hoteliers with increased exposure to over 425,000 travel agents searching for certain locations and amenities. The below highlights best practices on the GDS that give your property a competitive advantage as hoteliers begin to reopen their doors across the globe.
GDS Tips: What you should know
1) Update traveler safety and cleanliness certifications
Update any GDS indicators available and Hotel Description Pages (HOD) to indicate traveler safety and cleanliness certifications your hotel has implemented. This will assure travel agents that health and safety is top priority at your property when booking on behalf of customers.
For example, touchless check-in/check-out, room cleanings and room service, social distancing rules for restaurant, gym, spa & all public areas, and cancellation/rebooking policies.
2) Target ads to domestic agents without travel restrictions
Target your ads to travel agents in your domestic home country, or countries, with no travel restrictions. This helps you utilize impressions for agents with actual intent to book vs. only browsing what hotels are operating,
For example, for a U.S. hotel, target your ad to U.S. agents only – assuming they are most likely to book domestic 48 state travel in the near future.
3) Use two versions of creative in your ads
We recommend leveraging two different versions of creative to display on the GDS. One for your offer/promotion and one highlighting your safety/cleanliness. This helps convey any promotional messaging, while also providing peace of mind that the health and safety of your customers is top priority.
Both creative versions will rotate to agents in the same PromoSpots ad at no additional cost.
4) Start GDS Media for future travel dates only
As your market rebounds and growth trends point up, start your media for future travel dates. This allows you to be proactive with your media plan, even if your hotel is not ready right now.
For example, start running ads in September, but only if the agent is looking for check-in dates starting in November when travel begins to pick back up.
5) Hold rates and utilize added amenities
We recommend holding rates and utilizing added amenities with your offer. This helps avoid rate slashing and emphasizes any additional amenities your property has to offer customers.
For example, enjoy complimentary overnight parking when you book a minimum two-night stay.
To learn more about increasing your property’s visibility, view some of our top best practices outlined here, or take a look at the IHG Case Study to learn how the GDS Media portfolio allowed one customer to boost their bookings by 40%.
If you need additional advice or have questions on how GDS marketing can help your hotel launch into recovery, please contact MediaBDM@sabre.com to help plan your path forward.