The post-pandemic era holds “good time” for the travel and hospitality industry. Trends suggest that the online travel market will touch 833 billion dollars in 2025 – nearly a 93% growth from 432 billion dollars in 2020. As a platform, online hotel booking will also see a rise as reports indicate that around 700 million people will book their hotel rooms by 2023. In this blog, we will explain how to attract more guests leaning on online platforms to book their rooms, keeping these fostering developments in mind.
Here are a few critical areas that need your utmost attention when you plan to get more out of online hotel booking.
Online Travel Agencies
Talking about online hotel bookings, we can’t ignore the importance of this very critical platform – Online Travel Agents (OTAs) and Metasearch engines. On OTAs, you get a chance to increase your brand’s online visibility to attract more guests while competing with your rivals. OTAs are great for generating more indirect bookings for enhanced revenues even when you pay a commission charge per booking. Many potential bookers visit your hotel’s website to find out rates and other information after discovering you on OTA platforms. This way, to some extent, it also helps you generate some direct bookings. Here are a few “must-do” things to keep in your mind while working with OTAs for better results
- Tie up with multiple geography-wise popular OTAs
- Participate in OTA promotional activities
- Use attractive, high-resolution images of your properties
- Use crisp and up-to-date content to describe your brand and USPs
- Closely work with the market manager
- Consider paid ads to increase your rankings on OTAs
You would need to invest in a channel manager software integrated with your existing hotel property management software. This is essential for you to update rooms and availability on all your OTAs in real-time while not wasting time updating rates and availability by logging in to each OTAs extranet. This is a great way to avoid rates and availability discrepancies on connected OTAs and overbooking and double booking.
For today’s price-conscious hotel guests, metasearch engines are price comparison sites. According to a 2018 EyeforTravel survey, around 72.5% of respondents had confirmed using metasearch engines regularly to book accommodation.
Metasearch engines are excellent tools for generating direct bookings for your hotel. When your target audience looks for a hotel on a metasearch engine, they either go to the OTA or land on your website to know your rates and availability. Now, when they book with you via an OTA, you get indirect booking. But if they finish the reservation on your website, that becomes your direct booking. When you plan to feature your property on a metasearch engine like Google Hotel Ads, use high-quality images of your rooms, and place them strategically next to the room category and price.
Here, too, like in the case of OTAs, you will require a smart hotel channel manager software to ensure seamless distribution of rates and availability across all your channels. Remember this – metasearch engines are no longer price comparison sites for guests, especially if they know what they are looking for. It would help if you had a well-strategized distribution plan and worked with your revenue managers to create the much-needed brand awareness for your property. This will help you attract potential guests earlier in the funnel who are unsure of what they are looking for.
Your hotel website can be of the greatest priority when it comes to generating more direct bookings. It doesn’t matter if a guest lands on your website either from an OTA or from a metasearch site; if you provide them with a seamless booking facility, they will book with you on your website. Thus, helping you save on your commission fee.
To make your website an effective platform for online hotel booking, you need an online/web/internet booking engine. Make sure to adopt a booking engine that offers features as mentioned below –
- Integrates seamlessly with your website and existing Hotel PMS
- Offers ease of use to your guests
- Auto-updates of guest reservation and their data
- Support multiple currency types
- Sends automated booking cancellation/modification/confirmation mails to your guests
- Allows users to book rooms using their smartphones
Additionally, to attract more online bookings via your brand website, you can even create, promote, and sell last-minute special/personalized packages/add-ons based on seasons and demand. You can even allow your TAs and Corporate guests to log in and access their special rates. Plus, you can even accept bookings for large groups at one go while allowing guests to add multiple rooms of same/different categories with same/different rate plans. Moreover, you can also have this booking engine embedded into your social media pages to generate more bookings.
Integrating an online booking engine into your website allows you to receive bookings round the clock without having staff manage/monitor them manually.
With a higher penetration level of connected devices, online hotel booking is set to change the hotel reservation landscape in the coming days. As a hotelier, you must identify the trend, configure a suitable strategy, and implement the right technology stack to generate more bookings. Another critical aspect is maintaining your brands’ online presence by promoting positive guest reviews to get more bookings from OTAs, metasearch engines, and your hotel website.