What is distressed inventory?
Distressed inventory is used in hotels to refer to rooms that are not expected to be sold at full price. For these rooms, hotels often significantly reduce prices to encourage customers to book last minute and avoid their rooms going unoccupied. (Source)
How to sell distressed inventory
It’s important to prioritize exposure on your website and in email marketing for your distressed inventory. The more eyes you can get on those rooms, the more chances you have of selling them. Here are a few marketing tactics to help you do just that.
1) Product recommendations
Good product recommendation engines will allow you to set up AI-driven personalization while still maintaining full merchandising control. With a tool such as this, you can display recommendations based on each customer’s preferences and prioritize distressed inventory that falls into those categories. For example, if a customer has previously browsed ocean-view rooms, you can recommend any distressed inventory that matches that criteria.
Place these recommendations prominently on your homepage, as well as in your email marketing.
Another type of recommendation you can insert distressed inventory into is ‘related’ or ‘similar’ rooms. This is where you display any similar accommodation to the room the customer is currently browsing, prioritizing any distressed inventory that fits this criteria.
2) Price drop emails
Price drop emails are a type of triggered message that lets everyone who has shown interest in a room know that it just got cheaper.
A price drop email works in a similar way to other triggered emails. For customers who have opted into your email marketing, their browse data is captured and stored. When you drop a price in your booking system, the alert is automatically triggered.
Price drop emails are a great way to get your distressed inventory in front of people who have previously shown interest in them when they were full price, all while saving you time since the emails are automated.
For maximum converting power, you should include details of the browsed room (including images) to make the offer more compelling.
Segmentation helps you identify targeted groups of consumers and deliver relevant content to each segment, in turn boosting conversions and loyalty.
When it comes to distressed inventory, you can create a segment of your last minute (or impulse) bookers – those customers who have a history of booking last minute trips with you.
Once you’ve created your segment, you can target these travel bookers with recommendations for your distressed inventory, dressed up as unmissable last minute deals.
The key to shifting your distressed inventory is prioritizing exposure for these rooms throughout your marketing. Make sure these rooms are included in product recommendations on your website and in your email marketing, send targeted price drop emails to let people who have previously browsed those rooms know they have reduced in price, and create a targeted campaign for your impulse bookers to entice them with last minute deals.
Get more travel marketing inspiration in our Ultimate Travel CRO Lookbook. It’s packed with real-life examples from 14 travel businesses who personalize the booking journey to boost conversions.