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Attract luxury travel agents to promote your upscale hotels!



Attract luxury travel agents to promote your upscale hotels!
Attract luxury travel agents to promote your upscale hotels!
July 10th, 2018

Attract luxury travel agents to promote your upscale hotels!

Even if your hotel has been increasing its number of direct bookings in recent months, you should still advertise your property using traditional marketing channels (i.e. tour operators). The global luxury market is booming and continues to grow, and your upscale hotel should take advantage of the global platform that luxury travel agents provide to generate more revenue.

Collaborating with strong agents gives hoteliers many solutions. For example, they are able to promote their properties on the global market for a reasonable price, as well as to create package holidays and last-minute offers, which can increase reservations during the low season.

There are many types of small boutique operators. Some are more specialized than others, but these agents tend to focus on a more selective yet luxurious and profitable segment of the market. By collaborating with them, your hotel can take advantage of some of their benefits, such as:

  • lower commission (usually between 10 and 12%) in comparison to traditional travel agents (usually up to 25 and 30%);
  • increased ADR (Average Daily Rate), since luxury travelers book the most expensive rooms; and
  • increased takings for the hotel facilities, such as restaurant and spa, since this type of guests tend to consume more while at the accommodation.

Where to find luxury tour operators?

Hoteliers can meet luxury travel agents at exhibitions and trade shows. One of the most popular trade fairs, which gathers the majority of boutique operators, is the International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM). The exhibition holds events in Cannes, Mexico, Shanghai, Dubai and Sao Paulo, among others. ILTM North America, which takes place in Riviera Maya in September, is primarily attended by American travel agents. Therefore, if your hotel is targeting American travelers, this trade fair is ideal for you. ILTM Cannes attracts luxury travel agents from all over the world and will be hosted this year from 3rd to 6th of December. The flagship Asian edition is hosted in Shanghai – this year, from 31st October to 2nd November. These trade events are a sure sign of a robust and healthy luxury hotel industry.

While attending any of these trade shows does not come cheap, the outcome is sure to be worth the expense. Keep in mind, however, that to the booth’s rental and design costs, you will need to add additional costs for your promotional campaigns, tickets, accommodation, etc.

The key to get noticed by luxury travel agents is your continuous presence at these international road shows. While the results of an exhibition might not affect the hotel’s sales directly, hoteliers and general managers amass thousands of business cards, which they can use to contact luxury travel agents to arrange face-to-face meetings. The next step will be to invite those agents you are interested in to visit your hotel.

How to woo luxury travel agents?

When selecting a hotel to promote, upscale boutique operators are looking for the following four key points:

  • Concept: Setting your hotel apart from its competition by offering a unique, innovative concept is a winning factor. Remember that exclusive agents are looking for more than just simple accommodation – they are after activities and experiences to sell to their clients. Therefore, consider partnering up with other small businesses in the area to offer complete packages to these agencies (theatre tickets, spa therapies, restaurant meals, entrance to attractions, etc.).
  • Location: As the popular phrase “location, location, location” goes, where your property is situated is an important selling point. When describing your accommodation, emphasize its location and all it has to offer to tourists visiting the area. Is it located in a vibrant, cosmopolitan city? Perhaps it is situated in a sunny beach resort, or maybe it is set in an idyllic spot in the countryside. Whatever the location, it surely has something unique to offer.
  • Reviews: Your hotel prides itself in the level of service it provides to guests. After all, you train your staff to deliver an outstanding experience that lingers in your guests’ minds and that is why your hotel has excellent reviews on sites like TripAdvisor. Luxury travel agents are looking for properties that consistently go the extra mile to satisfy their customers, and they want to see this reflected in their customer feedback. When pitching your hotel, remember to include what your guests are saying about their stay.
  • Photographic potential: An image is worth a thousand words. Luxury travel agents not only know this, they swear by it, which is why they are eager to collaborate with upscale hotels that complement their rooster of luxury properties. Pay attention to the images you submit and make sure their quality and point of view resemble the ones they already have on their website. They will be looking for images that tell a story and sell a unique, luxurious experience.

Remember that luxury travel agents will place themselves in the minds of potential customers as experts on creating memories that last a lifetime. When pitching your upscale hotel, make sure to emphasize the features that tell a story and highlight what makes your hotel unique. How it differentiates itself from other properties in the hotel industry will be a deciding factor for gaining the acceptance of luxury agents.

 

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