Growing competition in the hospitality business has led many establishments to take a proactive role in attracting customers. To increase profits and remain a sustainable business, hotels are thus moving back to the old form of marketing that encourages customers to book directly with them.
Admittedly, advertising on an OTA (Online Travel Agency) has its benefits. More people will likely come across your hotel, which helps with branding.
However, there is also the chance that your property gets lost in hundreds of listings. Not to forget the loss in revenue due to paying high commissions to the aggregator websites.
Thankfully, there are several simple ways to increase direct bookings for your hotel. Some, like building a hotel website, involve working with a hotel marketing agency.
At the same time, others require basic implementation at the ground level. Either way, having guests book rooms through your website is a sure-shot way to increase sales and customer loyalty.
Reward Direct Bookings
Everyone loves freebies! Thus, one of the best ways to increase direct bookings for your hotel is to offer all the perks you possibly can.
At the same time, it is essential to mention that these benefits are available only if customers book directly with you.
Some of the more common direct booking promotions you can include are;
- Complimentary breakfast during the stay
- Free use of on-site facilities like pool, sauna, and fitness center
- A 30-minute spa treatment, included in the room price
- A straightforward discount over and above any other
- Extra loyalty points, especially when booking directly
Build An Informative Website
When trying to attract customers to book a hotel room directly, your website becomes the main point of contact. It is thus imperative to create a website that loads fast, is easy to navigate, and presents the guest with all the information they need.
Additionally, ensure that the hotel website is mobile-friendly, as most travelers nowadays use their smartphones to make bookings.
Furthermore, a detailed, well-presented, and professionally managed website is your trump card over any OTA ((Online Travel Agency). While the latter provides basic information about thousands of properties, you can use the website to give the client in-depth information about your property.
Eventually, your hotel website should also tackle customer care through chat boxes or by providing necessary contact information.
Keep It Simple
If you notice, most OTAs allow customers to make a booking within the first few clicks. Your aim should be the same whether a guest visits your social media page or website.
Therefore, make sure you have a tab on every page, be it the title page or a room description, that will take the visitor directly to the bookings module.
Reducing the conversion time and the number of clicks keeps things more straightforward. Moreover, the customer is less likely to get frustrated and look elsewhere.
Invest In Digital Marketing
Among the best ways to increase direct hotel bookings is to approach your customer base directly. That’s where working with a professional hotel marketing agency proves highly beneficial.
Digital marketing involves a multi-faceted approach. For a successful campaign, you must invest in every aspect of promotion possible.
Below, we’ve mentioned some of the online marketing fundamentals you should plan on including in your campaign;
Social Media – In today’s world, it is paramount for any business to have a social media presence. Thus, it would be best to have handles on all channels like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. More importantly, regular social media management with visual and informative content updates is equally pertinent.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) – A new hotel might find it challenging to gain visibility online instantly. Thus, it’s okay to start with a Pay-Per-Click model of advertising. While it requires investment, PPC places you on top of online searches, leading clients to your website for direct bookings.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – SEO techniques include keyword usage, authoritative backlinks, image optimization, and informative content. Together, they assist in pushing your hotel website organically to the top of search engines like Google increasing brand awareness.
Affiliates – Affiliates are bloggers and influencers who promote your hotel in exchange for a fixed percentage of every sale. Building an affiliate program is time-consuming and requires a little effort, but leads to increased direct bookings.
E-mail Marketing – Once a customer base is in place, you can use e-mail marketing to entice clients with direct booking offers through regular newsletters.
Provide Personalized Guest Experience
A personalized guest experience is essential to increase direct booking for your hotel. It is also vital in encouraging guests to return to your establishment.
Making the guest feel welcomed and unique helps break the awkwardness of professional boundaries. It further creates a personal bond between the hotel, your staff, and your client.
Personalized guest experiences don’t always have to be elaborate or cost money. They can range from something simple as keeping your guest’s preferred water brand in the room to reserving a table at their favorite restaurant.
Consequently, once guests connect with the hotel, they will likely skip using aggregator websites and call your reservation desk directly for their next booking.
Click here to learn more about creating that perfect hotel website and using digital marketing techniques to increase direct bookings for your hotel.