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How to increase your room bookings during the month of love.
Friday, 14th February 2014
Source : SiteMinder

It's that time of year again and love is on everyone's mind; thoughts of chocolates, red roses and happily ever after' swirls around in our brains, as we look forward to the day of romance which is only a few days away.

But as anyone who has ever tried to plan a romantic Valentine's Day date for their significant other knows, the opportunities for true romance are few and far between.

But it doesn't have to be that way as Travel is the ultimate indulgence and is often an important milestone in a fledgling relationship, so it is the perfect time for your property to create romantic, unforgettable Valentine's Day experiences that will bring couples flocking to your property.

In case you need some inspiration, here are five creative ideas that you can use to help your property increase bookings this Valentine's Day:

Set The Mood

Romance is almost impossible without 'setting the stage' appropriately. Staging your rooms on Valentine's Day night will go a long way toward making the night as romantic as possible for your guests. Consider offering different room packages: traditional (rose petals, two glasses of champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, breakfast in bed, etc.), frisky (bottle of champagne, rose petals, massage oil, condoms, scented candle, etc.), decadent (him and her spa day, including a couple's massage, a five-course dinner with champagne), etc. Having these extra add-ons will not only set your hotel apart as a romantic destination, but will also help you increase the potential revenue earned over the day. Your imagination is the only limit for the special Valentine's Day packages that could be offered!  

Party, Party!

Everybody loves a party and Valentine's Day is the perfect time to host an over-the-top, luxurious evening. Consider making it a themed event (masquerade balls always have that air of mystery that can be 'oh so sexy' on a day of love), but definitely a more upscale party. The package could include a one-night stay at the hotel, an invite for two to attend the ball (including a lavish dinner and open bar) and some pre-party pampering for both him and her (i.e. free couples massage or manicure for her/hot shave for him). Top off the evening with a performance by a fantastic musician (after all, who can resist the sounds of smooth jazz in such a romantic setting?) and you have the makings of a perfect, romantic evening for two.

Experiential Activities

According to a 2012 Time Magazine article, 82% of people said they'd like an 'experience' rather than a gift for Valentine's Day ­ and your hotel is a perfect place to offer an experiential Valentine's Day package. Think about what makes your property and destination special and try to use those elements to create a unique experience for your guests to enjoy.

If you have an award-winning chef cooking in your restaurant, why not offer couples a private cooking lesson with him/her, making all of the couple's favourite aphrodisiacs? After the lesson is complete, the couple can enjoy the food that they made together either in the dining room (or a private dining area if you have it) or back in their hotel room.

Consider organising salsa dancing lessons on Valentine's Day ­ supply sexy Latin music and complimentary cocktails (mojitos, anyone?) to get your guests moving and grooving. Follow the dance lessons with a spicy tapas-style dinner with lots of delectable finger foods so that your guests can feed each other throughout the meal. 

Or if your property is on a beautiful body of water (and if the weather is mild enough in your destination), you could offer a romantic bonfire for two on the shore, complete with warm blankets, roasted marshmallows and hot toddies (warm whiskey cocktails with your mixer of choice ­ often spiced tea, apple juice or red wine). It would make for a deliciously heart-warming evening for your guests!

Parents Romantic Night for Two

If you have children, you know that it can be practically impossible to take time for romantic evenings out, so offering a package designed specifically for parents will be a huge selling feature for potential guests. As part of the package, you could offer free babysitting for any families who choose to stay the night at the hotel. While the children are having fun and being well taken care of, Mom and Dad can enjoy a romantic evening for two. The package could also include a discounted price for dinner in the hotelšs restaurant and/or a discounted ticket to a nearby play or evening attraction.

Don't forget about those who arenšt coupled up this Valentinešs Day. We also suggest organizing a fun activity for guests who have not yet found their special someone, but who want to have a fun night out anyways.

Singles Night

Did you know that 70% of singles said that they wouldnšt mind a blind date on Valentine's Day? This Valentinešs Day, consider hosting a single's dating/speed dating event. These types of events are relatively easy to organize and promote because it will stand out from the crowd of other Valentine's Day events that properties will be planning. In order to convert these attendees to hotel guests, charge an admission fee for the party, which includes a one-night stay at the hotel.

Also, because dating and alcohol go hand-in-hand, this can be a great opportunity to significantly increase your food and beverage earnings for the day. Consider offering one or two complimentary drink tickets with a few passed hors d'oeuvres to get the party started and then have the cash bar open (with additional snack items available for purchase) for the rest of the evening. Because you have provided guests with a place to sleep after the event, they are more likely to drink and eat more, both the day of the event and the next morning. Finally, consider giving them a coupon when they check out in the morning for a discount off of a future stay if they return with someone that they met at your single's event.

No matter whether your guests are single, married or dating, all of the above Valentine's Day activities will make your property stand out to people who are looking for an exciting, unique and romantic way to spend the day. Not only will you be increasing your bookings, you will also be giving guests an experience that they will want to share with all of their friends, family and social networks ­ showcasing your propertyšs creativity to an even greater number of potential guests.

While hotel's can profit from popular holidays and events (such as Valentine's Day, Christmas and Easter), it's especially critical to have an online distribution strategy in place to ensure that your rooms are booked 365 days of the year. SiteMinder's Channel Manager solution combined with TheBookingButton provides serious online booking technology, which is the first step in increasing your revenue opportunities.

Connecting to over 150+ of the worlds leading Online Travel Agents (OTAs), such as Expedia, and TripAdvisor's TripConnect, the Channel Manager will significantly increase your hotelšs visibility online. The solution's two-way, real-time connection automatically updates rate and inventory adjustments as bookings are made ­ meaning that your property will never be overbooked again.

Adding TheBookingButton to your suite of solutions can help you simplify and streamline the online distribution process. Easily integrated to your hotelšs website, TheBookingButton is an Internet Booking Engine that will take reservations directly from your site without charging you hefty commissions. It also enables hotels to develop creative packages, personalized offers and specials that will entice guests to book at your hotel ­ and make it a simpler, user-friendly booking experience.

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