7 Ways to Attract International Travelers to Your Hotel

As of 2023, international travel around the world was at 87 percent of what it was in 2019. Despite rising living costs, the desire to see the world is as strong as ever, and travelers are once again venturing far and wide. Your property can capture that demand with the right offerings and marketing strategy. Here’s how. 

Know Your Audience

Not all international travelers are the same or have the same needs. Know which segment you’re targeting and where they come from. The guest profile data in your property management system is crucial here. 

This knowledge of your audience goes beyond where to find them on a map. Are they business or leisure travelers? Are they solo or vacationing with their families? Knowing your international segment’s typical motivations, priorities, and needs helps you serve them better.

Go one step further and educate yourself and your staff on your guests’ home culture. This both prevents missteps and enables your guests to feel more at home on your property even as they venture out and explore the local area for the first time. 

Use International and Regional Channels

The OTAs and social media channels best used to attract guests vary from country to country. International giants like Expedia or Booking.com are a good choice, but they aren’t the only OTA options out there; there are those with a smaller regional focus too. Research which OTAs are most popular in the places you’re trying to attract guests. 

Consider adding GDS channels to your distribution mix as international travelers often use live travel agents to help plan leisure trips and corporate bookings, especially since the pandemic. GDS channels include platforms like Sabre and Amadeus that travel agents use to make bookings for their clients.

Social media use changes as well depending on location. For instance, travelers from China commonly use WeChat. Different guest segments are on different social media platforms, and there is an additional geographic layer to this with international travelers. 

Adapt Your Website

Translate your website into languages relevant to your primary guest demographics. Automated translation plugins have come a long way and are much better than nothing, but consider professional translations for accuracy and cultural sensitivity.

International visitors also appreciate viewing prices in their own currency. Make sure your booking engine offers this feature. It also pays to accept diverse payment methods that are popular around the world.

Be mindful of colors, symbols, and imagery that may be perceived differently across cultures. A neutral yet appealing design is best for a global audience. When it comes to SEO, strive to create international backlinks to help travelers find you. Reach out to foreign travel directories, or write a guest post for an international travel blog.

Depending on what country the viewer is in, load time may change as well. You can use a content delivery network (CDN) so that the viewer obtains your content from a local server, and the site remains fast. 

Create Packages

International travelers aren’t coming to your property just to nap. They’re looking for authentic local experiences. Put together special packages that make it easy for them to experience the culture and location. Pro tip: Partner with other local businesses to offer guests something unique and create cross-marketing opportunities. 

Consider your audience’s booking behavior as well. International travelers tend to stay longer and book earlier, so early-bird and length-of-stay deals are attractive to them. 

Display the Language

Bilingual staff can be a key asset to your property if you can afford them. Even if you can’t, you can still use signage in multiple languages to let guests know what’s what and where’s where at your property. This is especially important for any emergency signage and/or evacuation instructions.

Consider translating your menu as well (see below). You don’t want guests guessing, especially if they’re allergic to certain ingredients. 

Emphasize Your Menu

A huge part of international travel is getting to sample the local delicacies, so make sure local delicacies are on your menu! Eighty three percent of travelers want to learn about regional dishes on their trips, and 81 percent believe food enables an understanding of the wider culture. 

People are looking to reduce their environmental impact, so make your food and beverage options as sustainable as possible. Purchasing ingredients from authentic, local suppliers helps with this goal. 

Lastly, make your menu as accessible as you can for those with dietary restrictions and educate yourself on cross contamination so that more people can safely enjoy it!

Think About Logistics

Where are your guests coming from, and how do they reach you? Include advice in your marketing material, even your digital guide, to make their journey as smooth as possible. What aspects of your location can trip people up if they don’t know about them in advance? 

Consider your bureaucracy. For instance, in 2025, Europe will begin ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) application requirements that travelers will have to contend with. Perhaps your digital guide could include tips on how to navigate such entry requirements…

By marketing on the channels international travelers are using and adjusting services to make their stay as comfortable as possible, you can entice travelers from far and wide to your property. As with any other demographic, it’s all about knowing what international guests want and providing it—in a language they can understand.