By Ardalan Zandian on July 15, 2015 at 12:23 PM
International travel is picking up like never before. According to a press release from the World Tourism Organization, international tourists reached 1,138 million in 2014, which was a 4.7% increase over the previous year and responsible for $1.5 trillion in revenue. With an increasing number of international travelers setting their destination to the U.S., it's imperative for independent hotels to cash in. Use the following information to help attract international travelers to your independent hotel.
Understand Who Your Guests Are
In order to attract international travelers, the first step is to get to know your guests. According to TripAdvisor's TripBarometer 2015 (Global) - Global Travel Economy, international travel is set to increase by 15% this year. Travelers from the following countries are likely to increase their trips abroad:
Turkey (increase 58%)
India (increase 45%)
New Zealand (increase 39%)
South Africa (increase 38%)
Brazil (increase 37%)
The Chinese Millennial
In 2013, 1.8 million Chinese travelers visited the U.S. and spent a record $21 billion. In 2015, this number is projected to increase to a staggering 4.9 million Chinese visitors, and a large portion of them will be millennials. It's important for your independent hotel to understand how to attract the Chinese millennial.
Understand What Your Guests Want
Among the most important factors to international travelers are price, convenient locations, and travel reviews. However, 77% of travelers also suggest amenities are vital in their booking decision, such as:
Free Wi-Fi (74%)
Free breakfast (60%)
Other in-room amenities (58%)
Free shuttle service (35%)
Want staff who speak their language (35%)
Cash-in on Wi-Fi
Since the lion's share of travelers wants free Wi-Fi, independent hotels can offer two different tiers: a free one and a pay-as-you-go super fast connection. As more and more travelers stream video and music, offering a faster connection creates a way to please guests and increase revenue.
Reach International Travelers Online
Since international travelers rely on Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), it's important for your independent hotel to use these amazing international marketing opportunities to attract these travelers. Consider:
- Ctrip is the most popular OTA in China and the best way to attract more Chinese guests.
- The most popular OTA among UK leisure travelers is TripAdvisor.co.uk.
The majority of European business travelers use Hoteliers.com
Use the OTA "Billboard Effect"
Instead of avoiding OTAs because of commission fees, independent hotels should use OTAs because of the "billboard effect". The billboard effect refers to a guest discovering your independent hotel through an OTA but actually booking directly through you. As a result of the "billboard effect," you keep all of the profit.
Understand What Your Guests Like to Do
In comparison to other vacation expenses, international travelers love sightseeing the most as a special treat. As a matter of fact, international travelers spend more money on sightseeing than souvenirs, shopping, and nightlife combined. The most common activities international or global travelers splurge on are:
53% splurge on sightseeing activities
41% spend more money on a special dining experience
41% splurge on accommodation
35% spend more money on activities
24% spend more on shopping
It's a great opportunity for you to enhance their stay by providing valuable advice, or even to boost your revenues by offering partner deals:
Cater to Their Spending Habits
Independent hotels can cater more to international travelers by partnering with local tour operations and excursion facilities. By doing so, independent hotels can offer international guests special packages and rates exclusive to your hotel. If a guest doesn't choose a package at the time of booking, you can always upsell them through email before they arrive, in-person during the check-in, or have a desk set up specifically for offering packages.
To learn more about how to attract international travelers, contact Frontdesk Anywhere today.