Increasing direct bookings for your property takes a concerted, long-term, multi-faceted hotel marketing effort. This article will summarize key steps hotel marketers can take.
Before we get started on marketing strategies, let’s tackle the “why” before the “how.” The reasons for increasing direct bookings are straight-forward:
- Increased profit – When guests book directly you keep more income by avoiding OTA percentages.
- More control – You have a direct relationship with the guest so you control the entire guest experience from booking to checkout.
Steps for Direct Booking Success
- Make Your Website “Booking” Friendly
You’ve created a hotel website that’s attractive and fast-loading. We recommend you take it a step further and make sure your site includes a built-in ADA-compliant booking engine. We recommend having an embedded booking engine as the main call-to-action as well as a large “Book Now” button.
Many properties are overly dependent on OTAs (online travel agencies like Booking.com and Expedia) to bring in bookings. Sure, they bring guests to your property, but when you use OTAs, you give up money and control of the guest experience.
Consider this: even someone who begins their process by going through an OTA will visit your property’s site before they book. Including a prominently displayed booking function on your site invites direct bookings from these visitors.
- Institute a Consistent Direct Marketing Program
Increasing your hotel’s direct bookings is a long-term project. A creative and consistent direct marketing program can keep your property top-of-mind and strengthen its image.
A good list is a crucial part of a successful direct marketing campaign. Build your list by collecting information on your guests and website visitors. Use contact information along with dates, length-of-stay, activities, and other variables to create a database.
Once you have a database you can analyze your prospects along with variables like a business versus personal travelers, seasonality, families with children, etc. What you learn about your visitors will help you segment the list, tailor your offers, and create an ongoing direct marketing program.
- Make an Irresistible Offer
An effective offer is an incentive that closes the deal. It needs to be of value to the prospect but not too costly to you.
Lower rates, through rebates, coupons, loyalty discounts, or other mechanisms, can attract bookings. If you don’t want to compete in this arena, think of other attractive offers. Since every property is unique, there are countless unique ideas for offers.
Offers can be featured in direct marketing, social media posts, and on your website in conjunction with your booking engine.
- Invest in Digital M
Your prospective guests are online and much of that online activity is through mobile devices. In fact, we have seen over 50% of website traffic for our hotel clients come from mobile! Successful hotel marketing includes a stellar website that’s optimized for smaller screens. Beyond that, you need an aggressive search engine optimization strategy, a search engine advertising program, a comprehensive social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, and an online reputation marketing strategy, all tied together in an integrated program.
Seems like a daunting list? Don’t know where to start? Contact me and schedule a consultation.