8 top tips to increase direct bookings for your hotel
With the rise in the number of online travel agencies (OTAs) many hoteliers face the dilemma of how to increase the number of direct bookings their hotel receives.
If you find yourself facing this problem here some simple quick tips you can implement to help you achieve this goal.
1. Make sure potential guests can easily find how to book directly on your website.
Your booking engine must be easy to find. If people have to search through your website to make a direct booking, they won’t and you’ll potentially lose a sale. Use the premium space on your web pages to display your booking form or button. This tip isn’t number one by accident; this is the most important action you can take.
2. Make it clear guests will get the cheapest rate or best deal when booking direct.
Your website should make it clear that guests will receive the cheapest rate when booking direct or the best package. Think about using the word ‘guaranteed’ in your content if applicable. If you are unable to offer a cheaper rate than the OTAs then think about offering an incentive to book direct such as a free bottle of wine, box of chocolates, free spa treatment or create a secret welcome gift. Also make sure your staff are trained to say “I can match that price” when people call and say that they have seen a lower price through an OTA.
3. Create a Google or Bing advert based on your hotel name
If you search for your hotel by name and location in search engines such as Google and Bing, you will see that the OTAs’ listings appear above your own organic ‘unpaid’ for search listing. The more OTAs there are the further down the page your direct listing will appear.
When someone searches for your hotel by name, they are likely to already be thinking about staying with you. So why not pay to create an advert based on your hotel name for example ‘Hotel xxx Brighton, Book Direct for Best Rates’? Your ad will most probably show above the OTAs and if someone books via the ad it will cost you in the region of £5 for the click through to your website – saving you up to 25% commission. Imagine if the bill was £800 that would save £200!
4. Increase your online reputation
Potential guests are likely to look at online reviews of your hotel so maintaining your online reputation is crucial. Always aim to deliver a customer experience beyond your guests expectations. One simple way you can achieve this is by giving guests something they weren’t expecting that demonstrates you’ve gone beyond the usual call of duty. When guests check-in, an informal chat will soon establish if they are staying for a special occasion; a handwritten card, cake or bottle of bubbly can soon be delivered to their room. It’s amazing how such a small action can mean a lot to a guest and make it more likely for you to receive a positive online review.
5. Create a re-marketing campaign
You’ve probably already experienced a remarketing campaign. Have you ever searched for something online only to have adverts for the product or service magically appear when you’re using other sites? This is a remarketing campaign and is a great way to capture an instant engagement with someone searching online. Adverts will be displayed to people who have just visited your website and you can control the ads making them relevant to what the person was searching for. An advert with a discount code to book direct offering 5% will be better than any OTA commission.
6. Talk to your existing customers
You can also increase direct bookings by talking to your existing database.
Email marketing is still one of the best channels to communicate to existing clients. Send them regular updates and put together some special packages for subscribers to the emails, maybe based around the seasonal calendar or just an excuse for them to go away for a weekend or midweek break.
You can use your email database to an advantage on social media. For example, you can display adverts on Facebook to anyone on your email database who uses the same email address to manage their Facebook account.
The marketing technique which has the highest open rate is SMS texting, we all look at our phone messages! This is an excellent way to send direct offers and brilliant for last minute availability deals. One company I can recommend is https://smscampaign.co.uk which offers 100 free texts per month, it’s worth a go.
7. Grow your database
If you cater for weddings, get the happy couple to set up a Facebook Event so the guests can upload videos, photos and messages directly from the venue. This will make a nice keepsake for them and creates you the opportunity to capture their data when they use your free wi-fi (data capture). Another fantastic way to increase your database is to have a loyalty scheme where guest can sign up to receive discounts and special offers.
8 . Use social media to increase wedding bookings
If increasing your wedding bookings is something you are interested in doing, did you know that you can target engaged people on Facebook? Currently there are 1.7m people on Facebook with a status of ‘engaged’. We recently added 24 weddings to one hotel’s diary by targeting engaged people using Facebook adverts. The more celebrations held at your venue, the more people will come through your hotel doors representing a marketing opportunity for future direct bookings.
So to increase your direct bookings
- Make it easy to find direct booking button on your website.
- Guarantee to provide the best rate online.
- Offer a free gift if you book direct.
- Create a Google or Bing paid advert for your hotel name.
- Build your online reputation.
- Use social media adverts for remarketing.
- Use email marketing to target your existing customers
- Use SMS marketing to target your existing customers.
- Grow your client database.
- Create targeted Facebook adverts to increase your wedding bookings.
By implementing any of these tips, I am sure that you will increase your direct bookings. If I can assist you in anyway, please do get in touch with me on 01603 516562, email me firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.desiremarketing.co.uk/hospitality/index.html.
PHONE: 01603 516562