A number of key trends including travellers’ shift to mobile bookings, revenge travel & staycation search along with good reputation play a key role to drive direct hotel bookings.
Try to strike a delicate balance between your OTA strategy and the direct booking strategy. Plus there are a lot of ways to increase your direct bookings without compromising your relationship with OTAs. Get creative with how you can add value to the guest, without breaking the terms of rate parity. This is advisable because many potential guests come to your website after they discover your brand on an OTA platform.
Let us take you through some easy tips that can help you attract more guests to your property, directly.
1) Create a seamless direct booking process
The last thing you want is to lose a guest who has already made the decision to book because they’re frustrated with your booking process. Make sure you use a booking engine that is fast, precise and optimized for your website, such as STAAH’s Booking Engine. It is fully customisable to your brand and website, offering users a simple and intuitive reservation process.
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.
With every booking engine, make sure yours has the capability of processing and handling payments quickly as well as allowing you to offer deals or gift vouchers based on your booking rules and different payment options.
2) Make sure your website is optimized and mobile-friendly
To increase direct bookings, your hotel website plays a crucial role. It’s your shop window.
It must have a strong digital identity to attract maximum visitors. Your website needs to be visually attractive, easy-to-navigate and above all, it should be user-friendly. Any hotel website should be mobile-responsive these days, because, bookings coming from mobile devices are increasing rapidly especially post covid.
With STAAH’s Smart Pricing feature properties can target bookings via Mobile devices and retain mobile bookers.
3) Free Google Listing
Google’s “free’ booking links (Google free tools) has been a game-changer to compete with the OTAs and drive direct bookings from your official website.
In case you are not aware about this new feature, Google Booking Links is a free listing in Google Hotel Search that displays a link to your website’s booking engine with an “Official Site” badge. It shows your property’s bookable rates and helps lead to direct reservations. It appears underneath any ‘Google Hotel Ads’ being run and is listed under “All options.”
If you are a STAAH customer, we offer this feature under the name Get Google in your Booking Engine. The Get Google feature, once enabled, allows property owners and managers to sync their rates and availability feed to Google.
Find out more details here
4) Offer Promo Codes & Attractive Add-ons
Promo codes are a powerful marketing tool for hoteliers, helping them in filling their rooms faster. Offering promo codes to direct bookers and add-ons on the last stage of their booking journey can help you maximize revenue and increase direct conversion.
Your promo code deals and packages should be planned in such a way the guest is compelled to book with you instead of an OTA.
5) Attract guests from Social Media
Social media plays a major role in increasing your hotel’s brand awareness and presence across the globe. Guests are not only sharing their hotel stay experience and photos but are also using these platforms to book their accommodation. Make sure your hotel’s social pages are updated often, providing lots of useful information to your potential guests, such as local activities, top restaurants and any deals.
6) Increase your brand’s online reputation with reviews
Almost 98% of travellers read hotel reviews and 80% of them consider them extremely important before making the final reservation. Good reviews can influence a traveller’s booking decision in a big way.
An online presence that shows how you have satisfied your past guests is a powerful way to win over hesitating potential guests. Featuring positive reviews and other guest-generated content, such as photos, will help guests feel comfortable completing the last leg of their booking journey through your direct booking channels.
STAAH’s ReviewMinder is a Review Management System that alerts you of new online reviews across multiple sites in one easy dashboard and responds directly to customers. It constantly monitors reviews across multiple sites, including Google, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Hotels.com, and Ctrip. It is also available via the ReviewMinder app.
7) Reward loyal direct bookers
Highlight the benefits of booking directly to encourage return visitors to book through your website. This could be by offering guests small perks when they book directly or giving them vouchers to use through your website for their next stay or when they refer to their friends or family. Increasing loyalty can work hand in hand with increasing direct bookings.