Hotels around the world have started making bigger moves to win back lost grounds from online travel agencies (OTA). But is enough being done to own the customers entirely and emerge as winners?
OTAs play an important part in driving bookings by attracting lookers with appealing features – convenience, intuitive interface, multimedia components. Hoteliers will have to do much more than this to keep the customers they have and acquire more in the process.
While it is easier said than done, what can hoteliers do apart from adopting that which the OTAs are already doing?
Below are some tips to help you up your game and entice guests to book directly with you.
Offer Best Prices Direct
Hotels fail to capture direct bookings simply because OTA sites give the feel of offering the best rates. And it is a fact that room rate remains as the top driver in the booking decision, independent of other offers and deals. It is a good idea here, to work towards adjusting your inventory and pricing, to portray direct bookings to be the best option always offering the best rates in the market.
STAAH’s ConvertDirect Booking engine helps enhance the guest experience with a simple & powerful design, built to convert lookers to bookers.
Show the Difference
Be transparent in your communication and prove your offer to be the best, by displaying comparative rates on your website.
STAAH WatchMyRate widget displays live rates from five different channels, which can be seen by all visitors, helping them make a decision instantly by choosing the best deal.
Pictures tell the story
Visual content is a critical factor in keeping your user stay on your hotel website. Having low-quality images or generic stock images will only create apprehensions in the looker’s mind. Use your website to boast of a “book direct” advantage by offering potential guests to “look” at individual rooms, either as a photo gallery or as a 360-degree PhotoScape tour. This will not only let guests experience the candour but will also leave no space in the mind for any conflict.
Easy Booking and on Fingertips
Not having a user-friendly interface is another important reason hotels lag in the direct booking game. Evaluate to take corrective action if your booking process is slow, dated, unnecessarily complex or filled with bugs. Likewise, for the mobile journey. Make sure it’s streamlined and that the number of clicks necessary to complete a booking is as low as possible. Do not forget to optimize your content for the mobile view.
Load the Page Fast
Internet users are impatient and hate to wait. Statistics prove that a website visitor leaves the page within 3 seconds if there is a delay in the loading time of the page. Thus, your probability of losing a potential guest if very high just because your page didn’t load. So, keep your page optimized and make sure you test your website’s speed regularly.
Travelers like information to be available at fingertips these days. And if they are unfamiliar with the property in consideration, then their decision depends a lot on reviews available or the lack of it.
An increasingly popular trend is having separate review pages for every room type or room category. This helps lookers to upgrade their choice and consider booking of a room type that either they haven’t tried before or suits their needs better.
STAAH’s ReviewMinder, also available on the mobile app, helps hoteliers manage their reviews, good or bad, with platform alertness that helps keep the reputation intact, if not only help make it better. This system gives real-time alerts across multiple sites, in one single easy to use dashboard. The mobile app helps you remain connected even when on-the-go and respond directly to customers.
Brand Presence on Google
With OTA’s battling for the top search results, it is possible that your website does not make it to the first page. Building a brand presence on search engines, especially on Google, becomes crucial for visibility. Try the paid search campaign with Google Hotel Ads! Since you would only bid on your brand name, it will be the most cost-efficient option. Google’s algorithm automatically recognizes your hotel website as the most relevant advert from the keywords thus helping you be among the top search list.
The above is just a start to win in the direct booking game. You should lure your guests back by building loyalty programs and offering reward points. There’s no better time than now to strengthen your relationships and own them completely. Try Google Analytics for optimizing your platform
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