How to increase your hotel’s direct bookings
In the hotel industry we often hear about “direct booking”, but what does it really entail? A direct booking is a booking made directly through the hotel, either via its website or its booking engine without going through a third party such as an OTA (Online Travel Agency). This way, the hotel avoids paying a commission to a third party giving it the ability to offer more attractive prices while collecting a lot of information about its customers.
Before wanting to increase your direct bookings, you should first of all put yourself in your potential customers’ shoes and ask: what would convince me to book this hotel rather than another one?
Optimize your website
First, start by optimizing your website.
Your website being the online storefront of your hotel, it must be appealing to attract potential customers and make them want to stay with you.
By taking care of the visuals, the room descriptions and the information about your packages and promotions, you optimize your SEO and while being more likely to appear in the top results of search engines such as Google. You should also make sure that navigating your website is easy and intuitive and most importantly can be done quickly if you want to convert visitors into potential customers.
Moreover, it could be helpful to install a live or automated chatbot on your website in order for visitors with questions to be able to get immediate answers.
Choose an efficient booking engine
Integrating a booking engine on your website will allow your customers to book directly, without having to call or send an email. This is a way to shorten the booking process while giving you an additional chance to convert your visitors into customers.
Therefore, your booking engine should be secure and accessible on all mobile devices. Make sure to showcase your brand image with your logo and your colors, to choose high quality pictures and to take care of your offers’ descriptions so that they are visible, readable and easily understandable.
Invest in remarketing
Your website’s visitors often start making a reservation via your booking engine but do not validate it due to either a suboptimal navigation, incomplete/unclear information or unattractive/uncompetitive prices.
With remarketing, you can target these unconverted visitors by sending them promotional newsletters if they have registered their email address or by setting up remarketing campaigns via your social media.
Watch your online reputation
Your hotel’s online reputation is a key factor in your potential customers’ final decision. Online reviews, ratings and comments about your hotel can indeed positively or negatively influence their choice. You may want to highlight positive customer testimonials on your website and social media to let potential clients know more about your previous customers’ experience. This is turn will encourage them to book in your hotel while consolidating your online reputation.
Increasing direct bookings is paramount to ensure your hotel’s profitability. There are several ways to increase your hotel’s online bookings, including optimizing your website and choosing an efficient booking engine. Investing in remarketing actions and taking care of your online reputation will also encourage customers to stay with you.