How to increase direct bookings?
Have you ever been in a situation when you’re unable to get direct booking even though you have had a good looking website with a booking engine?
And if you have a website you would have been working towards something at least, which could give a boost to your direct bookings. But it crucial to remember OTAs, and believe it or not it is hard to stand out against OTA, hence a lot of effort is required. And as the matter of fact the OTAs charge you a hefty fee to the hotels, and you would surely want to cut down on that cost.
Below are 10 ways that you can follow to give a boost to direct bookings at your hotel.
Make a mobile friendly website and add a chatbot
In 2017 travel booking from mobile devices increased by 40% worldwide. The OTAs are the star when it comes to booking on phone or tablets etc. in order to compete with OTAs directly it I extremely important for the booker to be able to find website on a good shape in his or her hand held devices.
To make the most out of owned platform is an opportunity that isn’t to be missed. The site visitors or the bookers will appreciate if they get to compare the rate on the same platform, without having to go over the web to do so. Help them make the right decision without letting them leave your website.
Introduce a chatbot or live chat feature on the website, it will help you connect better with the booker. You will also be able to persuade them to book direct. According to stats 38% of online buyers interacted with business through the feature of live chat.
Ensure a call to action on website
It nice to be helpful by telling the web visitors what they need to do on the site. A simple yet prominent call to action (CTA) can to wonder.
An online booking engine can help the visitor know where to book from. The booking should also be made prominent on every relevant page such as the home page or the page with room details.
The importance of visual information cannot be under estimated, show your hotel and what you have to offer in the most appealing and creative way. Make it inviting!
Become prominent on meta-search
Meta-searches as you may know helps compare different channels that sell a room. Your presence there will make you become prominent. Secondly if you have better deal to offer then the travel buyer will certain crack a deal with you.
And run ads on meta-search such as Google for Hotel, Trivago and TripAdvisor. Ads will make visible on searches.
Every website need to be search engine optimised to become found on the search results of search engine on relevant key words
You can find simple few steps that you follow to optimise your website for SEO
Speed up the website
A website’s load time can either hold the visitor or distract them and send to the competitor, so you must ensure it is quick.
Tools such as Google page speed test will score your site and assess the speed. It will tell you the speed of your website on both mobile and desktop. So work towards it by involving your website developer.
Let visitors compare hotel and OTA rates
Visitor during the phase of research look for hotels on the hotel website or on OTAs to compare the prices. The drill is to prevent them from going to OTAs, for several reasons.
With the price widgets you can get the rates (of room from your hotels) by multiple OTAs, it will surely help them make a better decision.
And a small secret to increase the direct booking is cross sell always! Show the visitors the extra value that you as a hotelier can offer.
Show Reviews on website
96% consider reviews important when researching a hotel (siteminder)
Firstly make it a routine to take reviews on the check out. Usually when a guest gives review in front of the hotel staff its positive, so make it a practice. Then add an external plugin and add those reviews on your website.
Also highlight any achievements from TripAdvisor on your site or social media, and add a link to your TripAdvisor on your website.
Let Guest book from social media
Social media has great contribution in the increase of direct booking.
As we know that social media is becoming an important part of our daily lives. Even for tours and travels the visitors do a research on social media. Hence, it is a good idea to be found on social media platform while giving right direction to convert. By convert I mean generating a direct booking.
Do digital marketing
Use email marketing. The journey of customer experience begins soon after s/he make a booking with you, start with a thank you email and try to engage them before check in this is a perfect opportunity to cross sell. As soon as they check in send a welcome email and after check out ensure to make remember your hotel. Continue to send them emails, share promotions with and give them a reason to return. This you will not be able to do if you receive a booking through OTAs as many OTAs do not share the customer data with hotels. So why take control over the data and capitalise on it.
An integral part of digital marketing is digital ads, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Google, TripAdvisor or meta search engines allow you to place. So market your hotel and aim to generate direct bookings from your website. It is a cost effective tool for marketing, also 100% measurable so would exactly know KPIs and ROIs
Use widgets and encourage guests to book directly
Engaging your visitors at every stage (whenever they land, browse, and are about to leave your website) can maximize the chances to convert looker into a booker.
You can influence visitors to engage with you by displaying the holiday packages, offers, new services, discounts and more, to push them to reach your booking engine page.
With the help of ready plug and play widgets, you can notify your looker that can help you convert them and become a long-term guest.