Acquiring bookings, especially direct bookings, is at the heart of the hotel business model. The bookings made at your property without involvement of any third-party website or person, are termed as direct bookings. Since these kinds of bookings are commission-free, and thus more profitable, any hotelier would wish to acquire more of them.
Depending on the season or current events in the area, direct bookings can be inconsistent and the Covid-19 pandemic has made acquiring direct bookings even more unpredictable. Hotels have to deploy a robust marketing plan in order to convert a potential visitor into making a booking.
Here are some of our tips on how to boost hotel online visibility and drive direct bookings:
Incentivise direct bookings
One way to guarantee direct bookings is to leverage current guest loyalty by offering incentives. Incentives enable current customers to continue booking with you and allow you to reach new customers. Re-engage past customers using an email marketing campaign with compelling discounts and offers. If you do not already have one, consider launching a loyalty program. Travelers respond well to these programs, and you will gather a lot of valuable guest date from your guest profiles.
Attract new customers with seasonal or new member discounts. Incorporating promotions will encourage customers to start or continue booking through the hotel site directly while bringing new customers on board through referrals or specials.
Optimising your online presence
The website is the primary point of contact for hotels looking to drive bookings. You should ensure that you have an eye-catching, user-friendly hotel website in order to encourage guests to make a direct booking. Guest should be able to easily make bookings and find what they are looking for on your website.
Tailore your website to showcase your hotel’s best features. Include high quality images of your hotel as well as a clear call to action (CTA). Make sure that guest can easily navigate your website by organising information like room types, prices, amenities, and specials logically and cohesively. Do not forget to also showcase any extra amenities that your hotel has to offer such as spas, restaurants, etc. Make sure to optimize your website’s Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) so that your hotel is easily found by guests researching hotels through a search engine. Naturally your website should also be mobile-friendly and you should consider installing a chatbot into your website so that you can automatically respond to website visitors. The booking process must be clear and to-the-point to encourage customers to book directly on your website.
Creating a social media presence is also a great way to encourage direct bookings. Work on a social media strategy that will be able to show off your hotel’s best aspects. Different social media platforms. Leverage the potential of each of these platforms to attract guests. For example, encourage current guests to use the Facebook “check-in’ feature. On the other hand, make sure that your hotel has aesthetically pleasing elements that guests may want to photograph and post on Instagram. Updating your Instagram feed with current photos of the hotel’s location and activities sparks interest in the area.
By using social media correctly and creatively you can attract the attention of potential guests who may not have considered you before. Social media tags serve as great referrals for future guests. Remember to be consist with your social media content and to respond to comments on social media in a timely manner. Also incentivize guests to leave reviews on social media. Lastly, make it easy for guests reach your bookings page on your website from your social media accounts.
Measure and monitor
Measuring and monitoring marketing initiatives is a key component of a successful business. By keeping track of your booking conversions, and from which marketing channels your guests’ bookings are coming from, you can accurately adapt your strategy. By monitoring your social media accounts, for example, you can also get a sense of guest needs and behaviour and therefore make better marketing and business decisions going forward.
These tips aim to help you to increase your hotel’s visibility online and thus increase direct bookings. Direct bookings are challenging to acquire but with the correct strategy hotels can guarantee bookings going forward.
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