A number of key trends will have an increased impact on your ability to drive direct hotel bookings.
This includes the travellers’ shift to mobile, direct bookings facilitated through meta search, and the ever-growing importance of user-generated content and guest reviews.
There are ways to increase your direct bookings without compromising your relationship with OTAs. Try to strike a delicate balance between your OTA strategy and direct booking strategy. This is advisable because many potential guests come to your website after they discover your brand on an OTA platform.
Here are some of the tricks that can help you attract more guests to your property, directly.
Make sure your website is optimised and mobile-friendly
When we talk about how to increase direct booking, your hotel brand website plays a crucial role. 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 year on year, which stands at around ten percent, currently.
Create a seamless and simple 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 optimised for your website.
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.
Turn your social media into another direct booking channel
In today’s world of ‘social media frenzy’, leading platforms like Facebook play 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 on Facebook, 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 your hotel may be having!
Increase your brand’s online reputation with reviews
Almost 98 percent of travellers read hotel reviews and 80 percent 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.
Don’t miss a review by using a review management system which alerts you of new online reviews across multiple sites in one easy dashboard and respond directly to customers. It constantly monitors reviews across multiple sites, including Google, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Hotels.com, and Ctrip.
Reward loyalty and direct bookings
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.