What is direct booking?
The bookings made at your hotel without involving a third party or a website are called direct bookings. Direct bookings are made through an email, phone call, social media or the hotel’s website.
These bookings are commission-free, and every hotelier wishes to acquire more of them because they are more profitable. According to Triptease
, around two-thirds of guests prefer to book direct with hotels. So, if direct bookings aren’t a priority, you should make it right away because direct bookings bring tremendous value to your hotel.
Why are direct bookings so valuable to a hotel?
Direct bookings have the biggest advantage of delivering the highest margins. The other reasons why direct bookings are important for hotels include:
- Develop Personal Relationships
With hotel customer experience being the cornerstone of the hotel business, the direct booking channel allows hoteliers to have control over the guest experience by having a direct relationship with guests and not via a third party booking agent/website. This means your hotel has all the guest information and their profiles from the beginning. You own this relationship throughout the booking experience.
- Build Excitement
Travellers enjoy planning a trip than the trip itself. Direct bookings give you the opportunity to build on their excitement by engaging them with your pre-stay messaging. This can be a good start to a great relationship.
- Earn Guest loyalty
Retaining an existing customer is much cheaper than finding a new one. When you receive direct bookings, you gather guest details, which you can use to send post-stay messages, reminding them how great it was to host their stay at your hotel. It also gives you an opportunity to invite them back to your hotel by running promotional offers and loyalty programs.
- Recieve Guest feedback
Guests who prefer to book directly are more likely to be from your target market and aligned with the values of your property. This means consistent and positive reviews for your hotel.
- Gather Data
Data collected through direct bookings starts with the guest researching your hotel’s offerings. The more data you have on your guest through the direct reservation, the better experience you can offer them each time they stay at your hotel.
- Less Commission
With direct bookings, you don’t have to pay a commission fee to your OTA. This helps you get more revenue on each booking.
How to increase direct bookings?
To increase your direct bookings and maximise your revenue, you must focus on these strategies:
- Understand your target audience
Knowing whom to target is the first step towards increasing your direct hotel bookings. For example, if you expect the majority of your guests to be millennials, your company’s direct bookings marketing campaign should target this group of people. Also, as you start shaping your offerings to suit your target audience, make sure you research into their demographics as well.
- Build a mobile-friendly hotel website
A mobile-friendly website accessible on all devices offers you a higher opportunity to acquire direct hotel bookings.
Any visitor on your website most often than not, lands on your homepage. So offer as much information as possible on your website homepage. Attract guests to book at your hotel by highlighting your unique selling services and scenic surroundings, if any, on your homepage.
- Integrate a hotel booking engine to your website
A responsive hotel website isn’t enough. If you want people to book with you, integrate a booking engine with your website. A booking engine allows your visitors to book directly with you from the website itself.
- Keep attractive CTAs on your website
If a visitor lands on your website, explores your services, gallery, rooms, and other pages, but leaves the website without booking with you. What do you think you missed? You failed to lead the visitor to your booking engine. What can help you lead them to your booking engine? An attractive call to action (CTA).
CTAs are powerful tools to get you more bookings. A simple yet appealing “BOOK NOW” button can drive your visitors to take action.
- List your hotel on metasearch engines
According to Trivago , nearly 50% of all online bookers use metasearch to discover their perfect hotel.
The search engine collects price and availability information of various hotels from other websites and shows it in one place. Therefore, it is important that you list your hotel on metasearch engines to make your hotel more visible in the online marketplace, get more online bookings and increase your brand value.
Additionally, you can run ad campaigns on the metasearch engines like Trivago, TripAdvisor, and Google to drive direct bookings.
- Manage your online hotel reviews
Reviews play an important role in the guests’ booking decisions. Nearly 80% of bookers make their final reservation after considering the hotel’s reviews. Therefore, it’s important that you promote positive guest reviews on your website and on your social media platforms. Moreover, regardless of positive or negative reviews, make sure you respond to them timely.
- Allow customers to book directly from social media
Social media marketing is an excellent way to dominate the search results and drive social media traffic to your hotel website.
You can set up your profile on social media and use content to lure customers to your hotel website. Consider integrating your booking engine with your social media account pages and allow your followers to book your hotel directly from their social media accounts.
- Run guest loyalty programs
Running loyalty programs is a great way to make your repeat customers feel special. When you offer exclusive deals and discounts to your repeat customers, you make them choose you over your competitors and book with you through your website.
Take a step forward and implement these strategies to save money on OTA commissions. With the help of Aiosell’s hotel revenue management software
, create a one-click website, integrate your hotel booking engine and enjoy profitable direct reservations. Book a free trial now!