How Hoteliers Can Tap Into Long-haul Markets [+ Our SPA Programme]

How Hoteliers Can Tap Into Long-haul Markets [+ Our SPA Programme]

Aug.4, 2023

Long-haul travel has always played a pivotal role in the hospitality sector, contributing significantly to international market growth

However, the landscape shifted dramatically during the pandemic, leading to an increase of domestic travel due to varying country restrictions.

Consequently, long-haul travel has been temporarily overshadowed in recent years, but now it’s time to revitalise this relevant segment for the industry. 

In this article, we present practical tips to entice more long-haul travellers to your property and boost your revenue stream. Additionally, we delve into an optimal way for establishing a strong international presence. Eager to learn more about this lucrative segment? Keep reading!

Why The Long-haul Segment Is So Important for Hoteliers

International travellers are key to the success of the hospitality industry, but catering to their needs in recent years has been complex. The post-pandemic era significantly impacted various areas, with long-haul travel being notably affected. 

But why are these markets of particular relevance to the hospitality sector? 

  • International trips are complex to plan: They require time and a good budget. That’s why clients usually book further in advance and allocate more resources to their time in destination. This directly increases hoteliers profitability: in fact, long-haul guests tend to have bigger budgets than domestic travellers.

  • Long-haul travellers stay for longer: This has a direct impact on reducing front desk costs and operational expenses such as laundry and housekeeping. In addition, having guests staying for more time amplifies opportunities for cross-selling ancillary services, including room upgrades and transportation options. 

  • Long-haul clients cancel less: And that’s a great benefit from this segment. Plus, it’s crucial to be aware of cancellation policy expectations in overseas destinations. 

As stated in a report by Oxford Economics, the long-haul share is expected to exceed the pre-pandemic peak from 2027 onwards. In fact, this report highlights the relevance of long-haul visitors, which will have a stronger growth than what’s expected for short- and medium-haul trips. 

But each region is different and has its own challenges. For instance, in Europe and according to Luis Araujo, President of the European Travel Comission (ETC), it’s necessary to boost long-haul travel because there’s an increasing economic instability. Since long-haul visitors tend to spend more money, it is important to focus on reactivating this market and setting Europe as a global travel destination again. 

Consequently, dedicated efforts are imperative to facilitate the return of these travellers. 

5 Ways To Enhance Hotel Reach to Long-Haul Travellers 

Now that we’ve emphasised the strategic importance of the long-haul segment – and how the market is evolving after the pandemic –, let’s delve into actionable tactics to effectively attract long-haul travellers. 

  • Craft tailored experiences: It’s essential to go extra mile to make international guests feel at ease. With travellers arriving from a very distant country, it’s essential that they don’t have a ‘cultural shock’. 

    Tailored experiences addressing their unique preferences and needs are appreciated. Consider including services such as airport transfers, international TV channels, customised dining options, multilingual - and multicultural - staff, and curated city tours which highlight local cultural attractions. 

    Related to this point, we’ve covered in recent articles the increasing relevance of sporting events tourism and film tourism, where we deliver practical and valuable tips to cater these travel trends. Capitalising on such trends could help you to boost the number of international travellers who come from around the world to visit a film location, specific competition, or any other topical driver for travel.

  • Participate in international trade shows and exhibitions: Not only it’s important to make your property visible to the final consumer, but also it’s crucial to build relationships with key stakeholders like travel agents, tour operators, and other industry professionals. 

    Identify relevant trade shows and exhibitions focused on travel and tourism in the long-haul markets you aim to target. These events are unmissable opportunities for you to expand your network, learn from the industry’s latest trends and disruptive technologies, among many others. 

    In this regard, we at Hotelbeds have hosted our own industry-leading event since 2009: the MarketHub brings together top industry players from over 46 markets worldwide, and also features insights and panels from key industry influencers and leaders. Learn more about our flagship events by visiting our dedicated MarketHub website

  • Cultivate partnerships with airlines and travel agencies: Collaboration with industry leaders is paramount to forge partnerships with major airlines and travel agencies operating in your targeted long-haul destinations. 

    Foster collaborative marketing efforts and strategic alliances, which could include joint promotions, bundled packages, and exclusive discounts that can help attract travellers who are already planning to visit the destination. 

  • Carry out digital marketing campaigns & collaborations with personalities: Beyond the more ‘traditional’ options aforementioned, we can’t forget the digital realm and its huge influence.

    Consider investing in social media ads and Search Engine Marketing (SEM), like Google Ads or Bing Ads. In this way, you’ll exponentially increase the chances of being visible to your target audiences in long-haul destinations, as you will be fully in control to set up campaigns that reach the markets you want. Also, tailor your marketing messages and promotions to cater specifically to the preferences and cultural nuances of these markets. 

    Additionally, do not underestimate the potential of influential travel industry personalities with a strong presence in your desired long-haul destinations. Map those important influencers and travel bloggers, and reach out to them to foster strategic collaborations as ‘brand ambassadors’. 

  • Join Hotelbeds’ exclusive programme for seamless long-haul market access: As TravelTech leaders, we offer an array of services to significantly grow your business.

    Specifically, we want to delve deeper into our Strategic Partner Agreement (SPA), an ideal opportunity for hotels willing to open to new markets. Keep reading!

What Can You Take From The SPA programme?

Our exclusive Strategic Partner Agreement caters to a select 5% of properties, enabling us to work closely with you to increase your bookings. 

In practice, our SPA programme offers unique benefits which will elevate your sales revenue while targeting long-haul markets. Here’s a glimpse of the main advantages for your property!

Reach high-value clients from long-haul markets

To begin with, we deliver your properties to high-value clients that come from long-haul markets. These customers spend more, stay for longer, cancel less and book further ahead. You’ll have access to over 71,000 travel distributors from 150+ source markets.

Additionally, you won’t compete with OTAs like nor Expedia to attract local travellers. With the help of our exclusive programme, you’ll get higher-value customers. 

Some of our strategic partners include British Airways, American Airlines, LoveHolidays, easyJet, TUI, The Lotus Group, Europlus Group, HaysTravel and Viajes El Corte Inglés.

We highlight the quality of our network, as our high-value clients book early – 35% of bookings are made more than two months in advance. And 75% of our High Value Clients are from long-haul and intra-region source markets. 

Besides, thanks to our data analysis tools, we know that our clients book for an average 5 night length of stay, and cancellation rates sit at just 27%, compared to OTAs' 65.5%

Gain preferential exposure across our channels and Sales calls

Benefit from preferential exposure across our channels and priority positioning in Sales calls.

Your properties will participate in marketing and promotional campaigns. Provided that certain conditions are met, you'll be featured on our exclusive, custom-built Star Collection microsite as well, which will give you access to items such as hotel promotion, prioritised ranking, training on emerging markets and loyalty points multipliers. 

You’ll also have the opportunity to opt into our Star Brochures resource, distributed among 64,000+ travel agents and their 100,000 travel bookers. 

And don’t forget that the SPA Programme will double your positioning on Hotelbeds’ algorithm, ultimately increasing your visibility. 

Embrace Comprehensive Data Analysis Support

Dealing with data is crucial nowadays, yet it can also be a bit intimidating sometimes. But we’re here to assist on this as well. 

Specifically, you’ll gain access to historical competitors and destination data analysis tools, which will allow you to identify opportunities, best practices and tips to increase your bookings. 

Besides, if you want to analyse pricing data for your market, we’ve got you covered! Our pricing tool ensures you maintain the most competitive rates across various channels. 

And last but not least, you’ll take advantage of our 360º Revenue Management tool that will help you increase revenues and drive demand. 

This is only a small part of what our SPA programme has in store. Wish to unlock all of our exclusive benefits and amplify your presence in long-haul markets? Reach out to your Hotelbeds Account Manager for further information. 

Haven’t joined Hotelbeds yet? Join us today and get access to our platform with over 71,000 travel distributors worldwide.