No matter where travelers heard about your hotel, which search engine led them to your brand, which OTA raised awareness or which friend recommended your services,
there is a great chance that before making a decision they will visit your website. In fact, even if the traveler is planning to book through an OTA or GDS, the chances for a visit on your website are always high. Nevertheless, it is not the visit alone that matters. The chances are high but the value you get if the traveler actually choose your website as the booking medium is even higher than that.
Strictly speaking, sale-wise, your most important goal should be to encourage your potential guest to proceed to a booking but not from any web page; from your own website. The pros coming out from a direct booking, favoring your business, are endless. Therefore, hoteliers should pay considerable attention to optimizing their website if they want to increase direct bookings which means increased revenue as you will need to share none percentage of your profit with third parties. Therefore, today, we are going to discuss some practices that could favor your page over other web pages when it comes to a reservation.
You are very proud of your business and you want to boastfully present it to the public so that they find out for themselves how amazing your services are. I got you. All you need is to raise awareness through a couple of online marketing techniques. Start by optimizing your website for search engines. Make sure you follow the algorithms’ rules, you fill in all the info needed when it comes to tags, alt texts and so on. Focus on quality content and a well-structured website. Then, if you want to get one-step further and become a bit more aggressive, you should move on with paid ads. You can start running ppc or social media campaigns in order to be noticed from the exact type of travelers you opt for. No matter which method you prefer, the free or the paid one, you will be benefit anyway. In the case of direct bookings you get rid of the commission so if would not harm you that much to pay for a display ad.
You got the traffic you were looking for. What happens next? Now, you need to captivate the visitor. You have to offer the most exciting user-experience and make sure that you “accommodate” him/her on your website as perfectly as you would at your premises. First off, you need the most attractive, astonishing, modern and user-friendly website. Navigation should be easy, the design has to be responsive (to adapt to any type of device) and your forms should be as to the point as possible. The hotel info has to be as accurate, current, descriptive and explanatory as possible – if you miss that, the visitor will visit other pages to learn more about your hotel. You have to provide the details needed to make the visitor decide as fast as possible, as today’s traveler is always on a rush so do not waste his/her time. Overall, before you start implementing your plans, make sure that you optimize your website.
You have probably already signed with major OTAs and you have to be loyal to the deal and do not ignore rate parity. Fair enough, I do not want you to compromise your reputation in the name of profit. However, I have another idea on doing that without compromising anything. On the contrary, you are going to enhance your reputation. How is that? I am pretty sure, you are already aware of the fact that consumers (including travelers) love surprises and gifts, don’t you? That is exactly what you are going to do. Instead of lowering your prices or any other tactic that would put your overall strategy at risk, you can add free gifts to your existing packages or you could create new packages with free upgrades or, in any case, anything that will look like a gift and will encourage the visitor to book from your website. Other ways to reward your potential guests for choosing your sales channel is to promise a surprise on arrival, a thank you note with an extra discount for next time and so on. Finally yet importantly, if you want not just to score but to strike, you have to make sure that you have your own booking engine, integrated into your hotel website, without commission. If you do not, you are going nowhere.
To end this discussion, I would like to remind you that planning, implementing, evaluating the right sales strategy needs a lot of time, research and experience, so if you are having trouble managing everything on your own – given that your daily tasks are endless – feel free to consult our team for advice!