Boost Direct Bookings
1. Convert OTA Bookings into Direct Bookings
When guests book your hotel through some OTA they learn about your business. And when they decide to stay with you, it’s important that you grab their email ids.
A great way to encourage your customers for direct booking is by sending them special booking offers via email. This is in turn will bring more direct bookings to your business.
2. Targeted Discounts
When you choose to maintain rate parity and give your customers inventory rates that is no lesser than what is available on some OTAs. This is when OTAs remove incentives for guests to book directly with you.
But there is a workaround for this. Most Rate parity agreements don’t apply to guests who are part of the marketing database.
It could be your email subscribers, social media followers or customer loyalty program members. You could send them enticing and attractive offers.
Here, frequency does matter and bring in the much needed direct booking.
3. The Billboard effect
Just in case if you’re wondering what the heck Billboard effect is all about, well it’s the phenomena in which your guests discover your website via some OTAs and visit it eventually. Many even end up booking via your website.
Listing your inventory on OTAs increase direct reservations by 26%. That said, it’s not a user friendly experience listing the inventories on OTAs unless you’ve some best channel manager at your disposal.
Use a good channel manager to push your vacant inventory to various OTAs at once. This can save you time and money.
4. Mobile Bookings
A responsive website is not just for great look & feel of your business in various screen sizes but also for driving more sales. And this happens when the users find equally comfortable navigation through your website in mobile as well.
We have seen businesses with websites and booking engines not optimized for mobile losing fortune. A responsive website enhances mobile bookings.
5. User driven look & feel
It’s time to make your website a conversion machine – converting your guests into your customers. Conversion machine, really?
Yeah, you heard it right. But again that depends on how smooth the design makes the user flow. The catch lies in providing a design that is self guiding and takes the user from hitting the “Book Now” button all the way to the “Thank You” page after payment.
Make sure that the users are not overwhelmed with a lot many information during the whole booking process.
6. Content Marketing
They have said it right that “Content is the King.” But not just any content. The content should be compelling and informative. The users should feel the thirst for more information after going through your master content.
If you remember, we talked about grabbing the email ids of your guests to do targeted promotion. Content marketing could be a step forward. A great content could leave lasting impression on your guests’ mind and they will be enticed to leave their email ids happily.
Content marketing is one of the core process of SEO and helps drive more traffic to your website. Not just that, it helps build your brand value as well.
You can create content that people in your niche would love. You could write articles on travel and destinations if you happen to be a tour and travels company, for example.
Content could be another reason that people get engaged with your brand on different social media channels. You could use some interesting pictures pertaining to your brand. When your promotion is able to correlate and resonate with your audience, that’s when the true engagement kicks in.
7. Help your audience become your subscribers
Now that you’re up and running with your content, ready to blossom, it’s time that you hone onto this opportunity.
Create a content gate (it’s something that asks users to submit their email ids before they could actually go through your content) and encourage the users to share their email ids.
8. Leverage on the online reviews and comments
You already have left a lasting impression with your services. People are talking about how great your services are. There are probably some conversations going on about your services on various OTAs, online forums, social media groups and many other platforms where hotels are breathed and lived every single second. Now what?
It’s now when you need to intervene and thank all who are feeling great about your brand. Not just that, it’s equally important to respond to the negative reviews and ask your customers how you could serve them better. Try to be as transparent as possible and build trust among less happy customers.
You can also set Google Alerts to notify you when someone mentions your hotels online. This way you can keep track of what’s being talked about your brand online.
Which proposals are you already implementing to boost direct bookings? Share in the comments.