Direct business = more profit, it’s that simple.
Although Online Travel Agents (OTA’s) can offer reach, businesses cannot rely on this tool to generate all sales. Alternatively, view OTA’s as a lead source or marketing tool for new business with the sale conversion to be on your website.
1. Convert the customer via your website
Optimising your website for conversion is the first step to boosting direct hotel bookings – AKA SEOs. The next step is to make the content interesting by utilising quality images, promoting benefits – NOT just the product itself, add blogs highlighting experiences and use more icons to describe facilities. Ensure the website is designed and formatted for multiple devices. Lastly, have plenty of call-to-action buttons.
If in doubt, hire an expert and save your valuable time!
2. Integrate a high conversion booking engine
Why should you pay a commission on your direct bookings? Find a booking engine that is subscription only.
High conversion book through rate; most hotel booking engines convert on average 2% of all potential customers where ideally it should sit around 5% or more.
Less clicks to book; It should also have the least click throughs to book and have a seamless process. You basically want to offer the best rate, get their name and credit card and take the booking yet most booking engines make it difficult you have to enter details in several times.
Make sure it has an OTA rate shopper tool
3. Implement a guest communications
Gather customer information so you can re target using your guest touch points:
Thank you for booking email (use your PMS, booking engine or use a mail distribution)
30 days prior; Looking forward to welcoming you email with an upgrade option & upsell tours, transfers and activities to make commission
14 days prior; reminder of their up and coming stay, how to get there, -attach a map, whats happening in the local area, local restaurants
7 days prior; personal call to run through check list – how are they getting there (taxi, drive so you can tell them about parking options, offer an upgrade option again, things to do in the local area ie markets on Sundays if they wanted to arrive early.
4. Create a Social Media plan
- Start by creating a social media calendar with some themes across the top
- Ask at check in or check out if the guest can like your facebook page, make a comment, follow your page and share an offer with their family and friends.
- Ask for a testimonial
- Use good reviews in your social media posts
- Use awards or certificates in your posts
- Invite a social media “influencer” or popular individual who has a huge following
- Create video content
If you’re interested in an audit of your sales and marketing processes, or assistance in getting your processes up-to-date, contact the Hospitality Associates Team for more information.