Smart Steps to Gain More Direct Booking
One of the concerns of most small and independent hotel today is the decline of direct booking numbers to their business. Today’s accommodations are more likely depending their business on OTAs to sell their rooms. We know it is uncomfortable to be highly dependent on OTAs, but to choose to be listed in any OTA surely is also an irrational move. This situation is also even faced by major hotel brands such as Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt. They now have started their campaigns to attract direct booking to their properties.
To minimize the high dependency towards OTAs, small and independent hotels need to drive more direct booking. There are several steps that you can apply to improve direct booking performance of your hotel. The main focuses of this article are to help you to reach and attract more guests, minimize booking abandonment, and provide better user experience for your guests. Hopefully, by following these steps, you can be less dependence with OTAs and increase your hotel’s revenue.
1. Improve and optimize your website
We are sure that most small and independent accommodations out there has recognized the importance of website. Unfortunately, some accommodations often missed main function of their website to gain direct booking because it has poor design and user experience. In addition, some accommodation even loss their potential guest due to complicated booking process on their booking engine.
What you need to do is that you need to check whether or not your website has provided good user experience and design. If your website is not able to attract enough direct booking, maybe it is time to redesign your website. Moreover you should keep your website have good user experience flow to allow your website getting user attention and interest to book your accommodations. Furthermore, it is important to optimize your website to be mobile friendly. It also to make your website enable to be accessed across various device.
2. Optimize booking engine
If you have responsive and optimized website, then you should already have optimized booking engine. Both website and booking engine should be responsive to be used in various mobile device such as tablets and smartphones. It is also essential for booking engine to have easy and simple booking process.
Sometimes a potential guest who has interest to book your accommodations turned down the booking process because they are confused, getting lost, or simply stressed out to fill all form during booking. You might imagine how much revenue that you have lost due to failed booking process. Therefore, it is important to have clear and easy to understand booking process.
3. Optimize online presence
After you have optimized your website and integrated it with optimized booking engine, you can take next step to market your accommodations. Most travelers do research on the internet, so it is important for your brand to be easily found. Besides basic SEO practice to help your accommodations have better search engine result, you also could maximize your brand’s online presence on various channel such as: social media and review site.
Social media is essential channel to reach traveers. According to CeBIT almost 74% of consumers purchase decision is influenced by social media, especially in inspiration phase. With its influence, you can promote your accommodations on social media by actively post content and build engagement with them.
In addition, review site, like TripAdvisor also contributed on guest decision making. Its influence has been considered by 88% of customers as strong as personal recommendation. With such big influence, you should not ignore the role of online review. The best scenario for your accommodations to having better online presence is by having enough positive review. To achieve that, you should be able to manage your online review by giving good response and encourage your guest to give review.
4. Offer special deal
If most your guest preferred to book through OTAs rather than book directly from your website, maybe you could offer better deal on your website. These deals could include discounted rate or exclusive service or packages for them who book directly. Discounted rate might give less revenue, but you should notice that you would not need to pay commission for OTA. You could just do simple math to set how much minimum price you could offer.
Furthermore, you also could offer added value for guest who book directly from your website. It can simple as small gift for them or by giving them special services that add value for them. These special services could include free breakfast or free transfer from airport, for every 2 nights reservation. These special offers can be used to make sure your potential guest could get best deal directly from your site. It also important to make your best deal displayed clearly on your website, as well as on your social media campaign to make more customer know and interested with it.
Those are our suggestions which you could apply to drive more direct booking for your accommodations. It might not give you direct instance result. However, those steps are worth to try. You also can read about approaches to boost guest experience and strategies to set your room pricing, to develop better strategies for your hotel.