OTAs may be a major booking source, but the share of direct bookings is on the rise. How many direct bookings is your hotel generating?
Even though OTAs are important for the channel mix and the billboard effect, the goal should always be to increase direct bookings, as own channels are the most profitable.
But how to increase these direct bookings? Read this blog for some practical tips to drive up direct bookings.
A seamless website experience.
A hotel’s own website is another crucial component of any direct booking strategy. It must be designed and built to attract guests (the shop window), keep them and make booking direct quick and easy. Let’s look at a few areas on your website that need to be reviewed and polished up regularly to make it a booking magnet.
- Good storytelling through content (copy, images and video) that highlights the uniqueness of your property and where it is located.
- Highlight your offers. Don’t tuck away the additional amenities or services guests booking direct get in some deep corner of the website.
- Call to action buttons, especially the link to your booking engine, should be placed prominently above the fold on your website.
- A mobile-friendly website is a must. Your website must adjust to smaller screen sizes and be designed to the specific needs of users on mobile devices.
- Fast loading – the surest way to lose a user on your website is if it is slow to load. One in four users leave if your website takes longer than four seconds to load.
- Track user journeys on the website. The more you know about users and their actions on your website, the more empowered you are to customise your website to ensure you can increase conversions from it.
Make direct bookings more attractive.
A rate parity clause may prevent you from dropping your direct rates, but you can adjust your pricing model so you meet your rate parity requirements, whilst making direct rates more attractive. Talk to our team about pricing models and how to use your channel manager and booking engine to drive up direct bookings. Add-ons, packages and incentives are key to a direct bookings-focused pricing model.
Engage your guests.
Loyalty programmes are increasingly playing a larger role in encouraging guests to return via a direct channel. For people who have experienced your brand and service, selling is slightly easier.
Your database is a gold mine. Leverage it the best you can through email marketing. Create your own flash sale instead of participating at flash sales of known providers. Offering discounts to limited audiences via email is a great way to stimulate direct bookings whilst avoiding rate parity repercussions.
Social proof and guest reviews.
In this highly social and highly connected world, social media presence is critical. Make sure social media campaigns are part of your marketing strategy. Equally, perhaps a little more important is online guest reviews. What other guests say about your property and services is an important booking consideration. According to TripAdvisor, more than 92% users see online reviews before making a booking. This makes it important to pull up your online reviews (or social proof) to your website and manage them well through timely responses.
Get your employees onboard.
As people who are most “in touch” with guests, your employees play an important role in selling your proposition. Incentivise your staff to encourage direct bookings – talk it up – and upsell at every opportunity.
Improve your searchability on the internet.
Invest in WWW search. Register on meta-search engines, particularly Google with its hotel search proposition. Besides having a Google My Business Account, make sure you are connected to Google Hotels to improve your search presence. STAAH’s Get Google feature allows you to get a seamless connection to Google Hotels with instant updates to rates and availability.
Read an in-depth guide to what STAAH Get Google feature does and how it can help you drive direct bookings? Read here
Need more ideas to improve your direct bookings? Or keen know how your distribution technology stacks up to meet the needs of direct bookers? Connect with the STAAH team to get started with a FREE technology audit.
The 2022 guide to increasing your hotel’s direct bookings share was last modified: July 28th, 2022 by