Whilst a high proportion of bookings do come via OTA’s, the costs are always an issue for hoteliers. The high fees charged by OTA’s are hurting the hotel industry and reducing the amount of money hotels have to invest in their property and the service offered to guests. In addition to this, guests who have booked through an OTA will be less likely to have made an informed choice to stay at your hotel so are often not your target market guest. This can lead to complaints from guests and poor reviews, none of which helps build the staff morale.
It’s no secret that all hoteliers would like to increase their direct bookings, but how can this be done? There are several ways:
Stay in touch with past guests
You can call it a ‘Guest loyalty programme’ or ‘preferred guest programme’, the name doesn’t really matter. But anyone who stays at your hotel should be added to your email database and offered deals, discounts or offers as a thank you for their past business.
Easy to find and use website
The first thing you need to ensure is that your website is easily found when anyone searches by either your name, or a relative keyword, for example-Boutique hotel Manchester. It doesn’t matter how great your website looks if it doesn’t appear in the search results.
Once on your website it needs to be easy to navigate around and should really show off your hotel, so plenty of photos, videos and information. Each page should capture the users interest immediately and have a call to action to entice people to make a booking now!
Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, social media is all about connecting with your target audience and building your brand. Encourage guests to review your hotel on social media, like you and receive notifications about the hotel on Facebook, and follow you on Twitter. You can link your Trip Advisor reviews to social media too.
Hotels should remind people of the benefits of booking direct which can include things like:
Offer added value when they book direct
According to reports most customers would prefer to book directly with a hotel as long as the rates are comparable. Even though you can’t publically offer a lower room rate than the one your OTA is offering you can add something extra to seal the deal if they book direct. This could be a free breakfast, room upgrade, late check out or free Wi-Fi. Even though the room rate is the same the value will be perceived as much higher by the guest and will encourage them to book direct in the future.
However, the real key to driving up direct bookings is by delivering a more personalised message to your targeted audience. The more information a hotel has on a guest the better equipped they will be to deliver more tailored marketing.
As people are now more digitally savvy when it comes to travel and tourism the success of a hotel getting more direct bookings will ultimately come down to how good their marketing really is which is why we are so excited about software which enables hotels to Identify, analyse, understand, engage and convert customers like never before. The information it gives will allow you to create personalised marketing campaigns for a specific audience type which will result in more engagement and conversion. See more here.
If you would like to see a demo please call us on 0843 289 0236 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org and we will call you back.