The domestic travel lifeline and how to get onboard

Domestic travel is now open and a lifeline for the foreseeable future. The challenge is attracting this market, especially if not a traditional market for your business.

3 min read

Helpful hints to attract visitors from your province or city

  1. Make sure that your website is visible
    Searching for your hotel from the perspective of a potential guest will offer insight. Start with your suburb or town and “accommodation/hotel/vacation” etc. This will give you great awareness not only how well your hotel is performing online but also what your competitors are up to. If you do not get the results that you desire there is some work to be done but, keep faith, identifying a problem is half the solution.

  2. Is your website user friendly?
    There is a lot to be learned from OTA’s in terms of engaging an online audience. Driving direct sales to your website is difficult when competing with giant online travel companies with big bucks in ad spend. However, when potential bookers do land on your site, how do you keep them there, and get them make a booking? Visit your website and experience it. Make a booking, is the process easy, fast, informative? There are many important aspects to consider – speed, layout, imaging, feedback form other guests, facilities and services, availability, and rates. It is all about the product. Remember it is not the scale of an idea that counts, but the quality.

  3. Optimize for Mobile use
    A good website is perfect for a user browsing on their computer and remains the preferred method for online travel bookings. But the fact is, millions of people prefer mobile web browsing. More consumers are booking travel breaks last-minute using their smartphone. Google trends is showing a massive 150% increase, over the past 2 years, in travel related searches whereby people are including the phrases “tonight” and “today”. Google prioritizes mobile page loading speed as a key metric when determining your website’s search ranking. This is significant since 75% of organic search traffic comes from Google.

  4. Data and analytics
    Understanding the domestic market is vital in attracting them. Using the analytics from your website (which is why driving direct bookings is important) as well as the free analytical tools from OTAs, determine 1) the reason and 2) the demographic of potential domestic travelers.  Seeking data on the domestic market is vital when deciding on packaging options. Using free tools available makes you savvy and cost effective!

  5. Draft unique and creative packages aimed at your target market
    Depending on your location, size, and type of establishment you will be able to attract different categories of domestic travelers. Consider what they are looking for. Cater to those needs and wants and highlight those points on your distribution channels.
    Depending on the demographic, domestic guests might be looking for the following:
    1. Price/value for money – value for money will be especially important for families and a deciding factor on their hotel and destination of choice. Similarly, corporate guests likely have new caps on the price per room per night.
    1. Unique packages and value adds – include local attractions, day excursions and “local is lekker” enticements to make the trip extraordinary.
    1. Facilities – business travelers need to stay connected while families will enjoy the pool and outdoors.
    1. Services – child minding for families, relaxation and wellness for the stressed and weary, unique and private dining options for the romantics. All these extras will be crucial when making the final pick of where to stay.

  6. Reaching out, a personal touch
    With the start of the pandemic and global shutdown, cancellations far outweighed new bookings. Although travel agents and OTA’s have borne the weight of dealing with your guests’, businesses that have customer service and retention top of mind, cannot rely on third parties to connect, and engage with their guests. Customer loyalty must be retained are they to return when the world opens for travel. It is therefore worthwhile to reach out. When offers and calls are done strategically advance bookings may be gained through simply engaging with your guests.

Staying top of mind is hard work yet crucial for hotels. Creative action plans and ideas with adaptability will determine the survivors. Let’s Africa is positioned to assist you every step of the way. Having experience in all areas of hotel management our team will provide valuable input and strategic engagement to set up your business for future success.