I was checking my emails when my wife pass by me and rumbles something about how obnoxious some hotels are. It’s not so common for her to say that (believe me) so I asked what has happened? She then explained to me that she received a newsletter from one of those Groupon like sites about booking offers with flashy signals saying that it was a great opportunity and amazing deals. You know… the usual! 😉
But the woman I love is no fool and even though her expertise is outside the digital area, she have done her “homework” and searched the deal to find out how great of an offer was it indeed. So, she first look for the same hotel at booking.com and the hotel website as well to compare prices and conditions. So, at booking.com they had a call-to-action offer standing-out a price that was lower than the hotel website price but minus the breakfast. If you pay the breakfast it would be right the same price as the hotel website.
Then, she compared the groupon-kinda-like offer with the hotel website and it was indeed lower than the website, but they added a dinner for which you must pay an additional 10€ not counting with eventual drinks. So, in fact you could be paying much more than if you booked directly at the site.
This is calling people dumb. And many are! But please, don’t call it Marketing! This is not Marketing. Marketing is praising the best of your product/service in a way that relates to people and make them know about you. This is the opposite. Once they figure this out, you’re on a black-book. I will not trust your brand and surely will not trust your future endeavors to re-connect with me.
Short-Thinking Strategy vs Long-Term
This is thinking short-term. This is not having a long-term strategy to connect with customers and give them the best you can to become a trustworthy brand and one that they would love to use time and time again.
Having special deals to bring people over to your hotel can be an interesting strategy for them to know your place and service. However, it must be complemented with complete transparency, building trust from the moment they see the deal to the day they leave your establishment and eventually throughout the days that you still communicate with them through direct marketing. It’s a relationship. Between you and your customer.
Imagine that you’ve started your relationship with a wonderful girl and you’ve given her a great looking necklace. Then, she finds out that it’s a fake. What are your chances to have a following relationship with her after this experience. It’s rather the same with this kind of Marketing Approach.
You need to be completely transparent about what you’re offering.
My suggested approach is to be completely blunt about your intention when you’re doing this kind of promotions via Groupon or others, depending on your targeting and price range:
- Give a REAL discount and claim right there on the offer that you’re doing that as an invitation to know your establishment and service;
- Complement that with a surprise at the room (if you’re an hotel) with a bottle of wine and strawberries or whatever the region’s is most known for. The bottom line is surprising them even more;
- Truly care about them every single day that they’re with you. Ask them what they need, what they want to do and suggest them activities. Make them feel truly welcome and that you care about them;
- Be pro-active on their needs and be present;
- Tell them in full disclosure why you’re doing this and your intentions;
- Ask them suggestions on how you can improve and what would make them come back afterwards;
- Tell them why you have that original price and how you need to stick to that price in the future to give the best service for them and reward your employees conveniently. People are not dumb no matter what you think. They know that a business needs to make money to be sustainable;
- Don’t make this kind of promotion more than once a year, or else, they will think that they can enjoy it again for a smaller price – and tell them that before hand;
- And the very last trick is: Make them feel that even at the standard price it’s still a bargain. That they would take (in experience and service) much more than what they’re paying for.
Do you want to know what’s more incredible about these tips?
Is that you should do this to every single customer that passes your door. If you do this to every single one, you’re on a roll to be successful and have that aspiring word-of-mouth as well as regular customers.
It’s not that hard right? And yeah, this IS Marketing!