We all know direct bookings are the cheapest source of bookings and here are some tips to encourage guests to book direct.
- Increase your exposure: work with OTAs to ensure your hotel has maximum exposure.
- Easy to navigate website: Your website must be clear, easy to navigate, with strong imagery & unique content. Don’t omit important data, customers also want to know about your hotels sustainability policies, cleaning and safety protocols, GDPR, Privacy policies, etc.
- Easy to book booking engine: Review your booking process, reduce the number of steps & the volume of data entry required to complete a booking. Have a clear booking path. Reinforcing the reasons to book direct throughout the booking journey
- Reward your guests for booking direct: Offer a fixed discount or percentage reduction on BAR rates, free welcome drink, complementary priority guest upgrades, free cancellations, etc. Make sure the messaging is clear and repetitive throughout the booking process
- Have less restrictive terms and conditions on your own website compared to OTAs: such as less restrictive MLOS, cancellation policy of 24 hours on Hotel Website and 48 hour cancellation policy on OTAs, etc.
- Offer bespoke packages on your hotel website. On OTAs we recommend offering limited rate plans such as RO & B&B, whereas on your hotel website as well as your standard Dinner B&B packages, you can offer more exclusive packages such as Romantic packages, festive offers, etc.
- Reduce the volume of packages: less is more! Too many package options confuse guests and quite often they can abandon the booking process.
- Room types: Ensure all room types are loaded & visible on all platforms. Room types with limited inventory can be restricted on OTAs but less restrictive on your hotel website to ensure customers book direct
- Room type pricing: It is important descriptions are clear & concise so customers can see the value as to why each room type is priced differently.
- Rate plans: Review all rate plans and packages and ensure packages are unique and offer different experiences. Our customers are savvy, a complimentary bottle of wine or free upgrade doesn’t make a package unique.
- Loyalty club: Reward guests that book direct. Ensure this incentive is visible & promoted.
- Pricing tools/widgets on your hotels website are a good way of customers being assured during their booking journey that the price on the hotels own website is the best price available.
- Pricing tools are a great way of hotels checking that metasearch and OTAs are not under cutting the hotel website pricing.
- Strong social media content: Regular posts, good imagery, inspirational posts, competitions, blogs etc. are all necessary to encourage guests to book direct
- Google Ads: Work closely with your digital marketing team to ensure your properties visibility
- Guest Reviews: ensure you reply to reviews on OTA’s, google my business, review platforms, hotel website, etc. Guests like to see a hotel that cares and responds to good and bad reviews
- CRM; ensure all your pre and post stay emails are engaging and valid for each customer. A good CRM can segmentate your customers so emails are sent to the correct target audience. Family promotions to families market segment etc.
Any finally Guest Satisfaction must be managed and monitored. A happy guest is a returning one and also a referring guest.