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Guest Loyalty: 5 ways to use it in 2024 to increase direct bookings

Recover your guest details from OTAs and increase direct bookings

Room Republic

Room Republic is a hotel company that specialises on renewing old properties and implementing new concepts with a strong focus on hospitality, corporate culture, revenue management, social media and dedicated leadership.

This hotel company has a total of six hotels under its umbrella, all located in key cities around Europe. One of their properties is even considered as one of the most successful hotels in Helsingborg, Sweden: The Vault Hotel. For them, hospitality comes before anything, they treat their guests as friends who are coming to visit them.

Their relationship with Bookboost bloomed when they were looking for ways to digitalise their hotel operations and reduce dependency on third parties. After the Bookboost implementation, they were able to recover up to 23% of guest details from OTAs and create their own journeys. In addition, since they started operating, they have managed to increased their direct bookings on 55%, with Bookboost being one of the key factors for this achievements.

The challenge: Digitalise operations and reduce dependence on OTAs

The brand was facing several challenges in its business. One of their main objectives was to become more digitalised and find efficient digital solutions to their processes. They wanted to enhance their knowledge and usage of digital tools for hotels. 

For this purpose, they were looking for a centralised solution that could be useful for a multi-property approach, that could help them to get an overview of the whole group but also to easily keep track of each property. 

Another challenge for the team at Room Republic was related to the dependency on third parties. During the pandemic, in the middle of the lock-down, everything froze and Online Travel Agencies reduced their marketing funding. That’s when the brand realised that they had to do something different and focus their marketing on their own channels and decided to explore new solutions.

Their goal was to optimise the conversion rate through their own channels and reduce their dependency on OTAs. “We realised that by being dependent on OTAs, we were also being vulnerable and we came to the conclusion that we needed to implement our own customer journeys and increase conversions through our own channels, because we can control them”, mentioned Oliver Bermhagen, Marketing Manager at Room Republic.

That’s when their search for a new strategic partnership started and they decided to work with Bookboost. 

The Vault Hotel

The solution: Bookboost CRM for OTA Data Enrichment and personalised communication through digitalised guest journey

Room Republic decided to implement Bookboost CRM and the OTA Data Enrichment to grow their own database and be able to directly communicate with guests instead of relying on the communication through OTAs. How did they do it?

First, they enriched their guest profiles with OTA data

Now, after a guest makes a booking through an OTA, they have the opportunity to communicate with them, collect their data and make them part of their own database, all while being GDPR compliant and having the guests’ consent. This was a game-changer for Room Republic, since what identifies the brand is treating guests in a more personal way and make them happy, and through Bookboost they can now build stronger relationships with their guests and have more control over the entire customer journey. 

Now we have a way of connecting with our friends. Through the OTAs we can’t control the customer journey but now through Bookboost CRM we can build a relationship and control the guest journey in our own channels. We couldn’t find any other solution that was built like this”, said Oliver. 

Second, they switched from different platforms to one unified solution to digitalise and personalise their guest journey

Before, the brand were using separate systems for their communications which led to having different limitations. Whilst one system was for the newsletter, another was needed for their database and a different one for design. 

Now, they are using one single platform for everything, allowing them to keep track of the metrics, designs, save templates, and more without having to switch between systems.

The team at RoomRepublic can easily control the customer journey, the frequency of the messages, and plan what are the touchpoints guests will receive and deploy them on each property with little effort. Now with their own database, the brand can identify insights from their guest data and use those when building their guest journeys, along with different segmentation options.

Third, they automated their workflows to help their staff to be more efficient

By building their communication campaigns in the Bookboost CRM, they are able to save time and effort through the message builder, drag and drop, and personalised templates that can be saved across properties. 

“It saves us a lot of time. It’s easy to use, easy to schedule and you can make templates. So you can automate different workflows that in other way you would spend more time on”, added Oliver.

In addition, they found the Bookboost interface easy and straightforward, which allowed them to onboard and educate new team members in a quick way. This ease of use and accessibility saved them time and enabled them to prioritise other tasks. “Even if you are not a technology expert, is very easy and straightforward to use”, mentioned Oliver. 

The result: Conversion of OTA bookers and consistent communication troughout the guest journey

Since the partnership with Bookboost started, the team at RoomRepublic has experience different results that have affected not only their revenue but also their operations. 

Building their own data base and growing guest loyalty

One of the primary problems for hotels with a high OTA dependence is that it is very difficult to grow guest loyalty because they don't have access to the customer's data. However, by working with Bookboost CRM and the OTA Data Enrichment, Room Republic has been able to address this issue and create their own database, targeting guests with their own guest journeys.

“The value of data is one of the main benefits of Bookboost and it’s a leverage for us. This is a way to own your own guest journeys”, said Oliver.

Since implementing Bookboost, the brand has reached up to 23% conversion rate of OTA bookers, meaning they were able to get their guest details and add them to their own guest profiles. In any other way, this would be data lost, since the booking was made through an OTA but now it is part of their own assets and they can grow their customer retention. 

On the other hand, Room Republic have also been able to increase their direct booking rate through the use of different tactics, being Bookboost one of them. “Since we started, our direct bookings have grown around 55% and we know Bookboost is one of the factors that have helped to achieve this result”, added Oliver. 

Easy and consistent communication

Through the platform, they have also experienced higher email communication frequency, utilising Bookboost newsletter functionality to send targeted and relevant content. By leveraging the platform's features, RoomRepublic has been able to enhance its customer journey and have deeper relationships with their guests. 

In terms of overall performance, Room Republic consistently ranks high in customer satisfaction on platforms like TripAdvisor. They have also outperformed the benchmark for occupancy rates and revenue per room, demonstrating their success in attracting and retaining guests through their unique approach to guest relations and the strategic use of digital tools.

In Oliver's final words for this story: “We have to embrace new technology and understand the customer journey and the new customer behaviour especially since it has changed a lot since the pandemic. That's something that we have looked into a lot. We are always looking into trying new things and building stronger relationships with our guests and value that more than volume”.

Main takeaways from Room Republic

- Focus on knowing your guests well to be able to create unique experiences

The more information you have about your guests, the more you can tailor the experience for them and create memorable moments. Even if you receive bookings from OTAs, always try to build your own guest database, as you can personalise guest interactions, which would help nurture loyalty and create more memorable stays.

- Try to simplify your technology setup

Remember: the simpler, the better. Bringing all your tech together, as Oliver did, makes things easier and more efficient. It removes restrictions and lets you manage, analyse, and customise better.

- Look into automating workflows for more efficiency

Automation will help you to have tasks run practically by themselves, helping your team to feel more relaxed. With automated workflows, your team can spend less time on routine tasks and more time crafting extraordinary guest experiences.

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