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In an era where online dominance defines business triumphs, amplifying direct bookings through your hotel website is the compass guiding you to prosperity.
Today, it is more important than ever for hotels to increase direct bookings. Why? Because direct bookings give hotels more control over their pricing, marketing, and their guest data. But not only that, they also earn more revenue from each booking.
Medium reported that up to 73% of independent hotel online bookings come from OTAs. This shows that there is a big space for improvement.
Did you know that Google data predicts that direct bookings can potentially yield up to a remarkable 20% more revenue compared to OTA bookings? Overall, it isn't just about financial gain, it's about harnessing resources to craft unparalleled guest experiences.
The Importance of Direct Bookings
There are many benefits for hotels to increase direct bookings. Here are some of the most important benefits:
More control over pricing and marketing: With direct bookings, you have more control over the price they charge and the way you market their property. This allows you to set competitive rates and target your marketing efforts to the right audience.
Increased revenue: Direct bookings generate more revenue for your hotels than OTA bookings. This is because you do not have to pay commissions to OTAs for direct bookings.
Improved customer relationships: Direct bookings can help you build stronger relationships with your guests. Why? Because you can communicate directly to them, giving them better customer service and a more personalised experience. This can lead to repeat business and positive reviews.
Better data collection: When guests book directly with your hotel, you can collect real data about them that is not limited to their email address. You can know about their preferred channel of communication, reason of the booking, and more. This data can be used to improve the guest experience and target marketing efforts more effectively.
How to Take Your Hotel Website to Another Level and Increase Direct Bookings?
Tip number 1: Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
In a world where smartphones are our trusty companions, a non-responsive website is a ship without a rudder. Crafting a seamless mobile experience isn't a choice—it's a prerequisite for success.
As travellers swipe and tap through their devices, ensure your website adapts flawlessly to their screens, facilitating effortless navigation and bookings on the move. Make sure your website not only looks good in mobile devices but also works appropriately.
Tip number 2: Use high-quality images and videos
Envision your website as a virtual portal into your hotel's world. Curate an enticing visual journey with mages and videos showcasing your hotel's distinctive features, be it the suites, breathtaking views, or captivating amenities. Remember, captivating visuals aren't just aesthetics; it is key to igniting your potential guests' imaginations.
In addition, leverage other formats that OTAs websites don’t support. For example, provide a room tour with videos, infographics about the map of the hotel or the amenities you offer, and more.
The goal is that your website should offer unique value to your visitors so they feel more encourage about making a booking there.
Tip number 3: Update your content constantly
One big mistake for hotels is to create a website and never update it. When guests are navigating through your website, they shouldn’t see promotions that are expired or a calendar with activities from three months before. Make sure your website is always up to date with the latest news, activities and offers.
Remember: it is not a one-time thing, building your online presence and optimising for direct bookings is a consistent effort.
Tip number 4: Offer post-booking rewards
Not everything is about offering discounts. You can also mention your guests that after making a booking in the hotel website they will receive a digital guide about the most famous attractions in the area or a guide to the local scenery. The goal is to show they receive something extra by booking directly with you.
Tip number 5: Make the booking process easy and convenient
Ensure your website's booking process is smooth sailing, with few clicks and no hidden hurdles. Display transparent pricing, simplify the checkout process, and eradicate hidden fees to ensure guests can seamlessly navigate from exploration to confirmation.
Tip number 6: Personalise the guest experience
Ever entered a place that feels like a home away from home? That's the magic of personalisation. Gather guest information through your website to create customised experiences.
From suggesting tailored activities and dining options depending on which rooms they choose or on the dates they select, this level of care establishes an emotional bond, persuading guests towards loyal relationships with your hotel.
Tip number 7: Reengage with guests that didn’t book
If a guest spent time around your website and almost made a booking but ended up with an “abandoned cart”, you can have the opportunity to reengage with them and invite them to finalise the booking process, even better if you offer one of the incentives mentioned before.
Tip number 8: Optimise your website for search engines
Think of your website as a map leading travellers to treasure—the treasure being your exceptional hotel. To be discovered amidst the sea of choices, it must be search engine optimised. This is not just about the keywords you use in your text but also about the SEO titles and description of your pages.
A great idea is to research what are the most important keywords for your guests, for example: “family resort in Greece” or “romantic hotel Italy”. Once you identify them, make them part of your descriptions, as a caption to your images, and more.
Implementing a comprehensive search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy
A robust SEO strategy is essential for hotels to improve their online visibility and attract organic traffic. By optimising website content, improving site speed, and building high-quality backlinks, hotels can rank higher on search engine results pages and drive more bookings.
Optimising website content: Hotels need to optimise their website content for search engines. This includes using relevant keywords and phrases throughout the website.
Building backlinks: Backlinks are links from other websites to your website. They are an important factor in search algorithms. Hotels can build backlinks by guest blogging, participating in forums, and submitting their website to directories.
Monitoring search engine rankings: Hotels should monitor their search engine rankings to see how their website is performing. This information can be used to identify areas for improvement.
Personalising website content: You can personalise website content based on the visitor's location, interests, and past behaviour. This can help to provide a more relevant and engaging experience for guests.
Direct bookings hold a pivotal role in enhancing the destiny of your establishment. They empower you with unmatched control over pricing, marketing, and revenue streams, setting you on a trajectory to triumph in a competitive landscape.
Remember that every effort invested in boosting direct bookings through your website is an investment in the future of your hotel from control over pricing to the creation of unforgettable memories.
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