Turning Prospects into Guests



Turning as many prospects (potential guests) into paying guests is obviously going to decide if your hotel is going to be a success or a failure. Filling your bedrooms night after night, week after week is what it’s all about. But we both know that’s easier said than done.

However there are some simple steps you can take to ensure that you convert more of your prospects into paying guests.

What is Your Unique Selling Point

You have to understand when somebody is looking for a hotel they are going to be offered a lot of choices. In actual fact they will be presented with so many hotel choices they won’t possibly be able to look at and investigate every hotel the internet offers them.

So how to do you attract potential guests to your hotel and not your competitors? The answer to this central question lies in making your hotel stand out from the herd of hotels that Google shoots out at people.


This hotel certainly stands out

Or maybe your hotel is the only hotel in the area that allows guests bring their pets with them. There are a lot of pet lovers out there and they will really want to know if your hotel allows them to bring their beloved four legged babies.


This little guy is enjoying his night away

You have to constantly advertise and publicize what makes your hotel different from all the rest. The days when you could simply throw open the doors of your hotel and watch the guests roll in are over. Selling hotel bedrooms are like selling any other service or product; you have to fight hard for every guest. Always remember that uniqueness will differentiate your hotel from your competitors and thus draw more guests towards your business.

Promotions and Packages

Neil Salerno in his article, 5 Simple Ways to Improve Hotel Sales in a Lousy Economy, argues that adding value is key to turning prospective guests into paying guests. Salerno advocates creating and promoting special packages as a way of adding value to your hospitality business. Salerno also points out that establishing special packages will allow you to mask the through rate of your bedrooms.

If your hotel doesn’t have packages at the present time you should sit down with your key team members and put your heads together to come up with different packages for the different types of guests which stay at your hotel. Quite a number of hotels find it both useful and profitable to design packages exclusively for hen and stag parties.

Follow Ups

Amazingly many hotels fail time and time again to follow up on inquiries made by prospective guests and possible group bookings.

There are so many hotels that are losing out on bookings and revenue, because they don’t put in the time and effort to follow up on promising inquiries.

Collecting contact information will allow you and your staff to touch base with potential guests after their initial contact with your hotel. It also gives you the chance to up sell to your guests and group bookings, and gives your sales and marketing departments the opportunity to send promotional material to possible guests.

If your hotel operates an over relaxed attitude towards following up on inquiries from prospect guests, then its time you shake up the culture in your hotel. It should be every hotel’s policy to always follow up on potential inquiries from possible guests.

Don’t Rush to Drop Room Rates

Many hotel managers who find they are having trouble turning prospects into guests will immediately drop room rates.

Reducing room rates may seem like a reasonable course of action when you’re struggling to get paying guests. However, this is not always the case and in many cases it is the wrong move to make and will do more harm than good.

Instead, hotel managers should come to regard dropping room rates as the nuclear option and should only drop room rates after all other marketing options have been exhausted.


Dropping the room rate is the nuclear option


Salerno in his article (sited above) writes, “Reducing rates is the lazy-man’s form of marketing. It’s generally the first thought when sales are low; after-all, it takes very little thought and certainly very little research and/or effort. If reducing the room rate worked hotels with the lowest rates would be full all the time.”

If you are struggling to generate a higher occupancy rate for your hotel, you should consider up-selling more to your existing guests. Many hotels find it both beneficial and very profitable to up-sell to guests. For example, if your hotel caters for a lot of couples you could create a special romantic package and charge couples a premium for the package. Always remember that people hate to be sold but love to buy, so make sure that any packages you create have value for guests.


It is of Paramount importance for the growth and survival of your hotel business that you are able to convert prospects into guests. To put it simply the success of your hotel relies on your ability to turn as many prospects as possible into paying guests. If you are worried that you are not converting enough prospects, then why not implement the steps outlined in this chapter?