4 Strategies to Increase Direct Bookings at Your Hotel

Booking hotels was a pretty straightforward affair a few decades ago. It simply meant picking up the phone, dialing the hotel number, and speaking to the receptionist. 

However, the booking process has undergone a massive transformation in recent years—all thanks to the advent of the internet. A recent survey by Statista Consumer Insights Global revealed that hotels are among the most common travel products booked online in the U.S.

Travelers today have a multitude of options at their fingertips, from online travel agencies (OTAs) to hotel websites and apps.

While OTAs offer increased visibility, they charge high commission rates. Direct booking, on the other hand, increases profitability as well as guest satisfaction. Bookings through OTAs fell from 39% in 2022 to 34% last year, while direct bookings rose from 20% to 29% during the same period. These figures underscore the importance of cultivating a robust direct booking channel.

Here, we’ll share some strategies to help you increase direct bookings in your hotel.

#1 Create an Attractive Website

Kalibri Labs forecasts that hotel occupancy rates will rise to 66% in 2024—a one percent improvement over 2023 actuals.

If you don’t have a website, you could lose out on many potential customers. Thus, you should consider creating one. Your website is the first point of contact between your business and potential customers, so keep it simple but eye-catching and easy to navigate.

You can hire a professional web designer to build your website, but we advise you to use AI-powered website builders like Hocoos.

Building a website with AI will neither take much time nor cost you much money. They, in fact, generate SEO-optimized websites within minutes. The websites are even filled with content, eye-catching images, and captivating design elements. Despite being AI-generated, you can customize your website to your liking.

Once your website is generated, make sure to include all the information your travelers might seek. That includes your contact details, booking information, and cancellation policies. Display your rates and packages, too.

Optimize it for mobile, too. We say so because 80% of same-day hotel bookings were made from mobiles in 2022. Doing all this will increase your hotel’s chances of direct booking while decreasing dependence on online travel agencies OTAs.

#2 Take Advantage of the Billboard Effect

Your goal is sure to boost direct bookings, but that doesn’t mean you should totally dismiss OTAs. Think of these platforms as giant search engines that can help you reach a vast audience that might not be possible otherwise. The key, however, is to convert them into direct bookings. That’s where the billboard effect comes in.

The billboard effect occurs when hotels notice a rise in direct bookings on their websites after listing them on OTAs. Whenever potential customers come across a hotel’s listing on any agency, they visit the hotel’s website to book it directly.

Sixty-five percent of consumers who booked directly with the hotel first visited an online travel agency. Thus, take advantage of the billboard effect and list your hotel in OTAs. However, make sure to choose the right OTA for your hotel listing. Booking.com, Expedia, and Airbnb are some famous platforms on which you must list your hotel.

Listings won’t help much with direct bookings if you don’t rank high. Writing engaging descriptions highlighting the features of your hotel can help you rank better in OTAs. Upload high-quality images and provide accurate information about the pricing and availability. These will also help you optimize your listing and rank at the top.

#3 Integrate Automatic Language and Currency Selection

Even though the English language is the lingua franca, many people don’t purchase from English-only websites. These people prefer content in their native language.

Enabling automatic geolocation on your hotel’s website will eliminate barriers to booking. Once your website detects the user’s location, it will adapt to their language and currency. Seeing familiar currency and content in their native language will significantly enhance the user experience. Thus, they will stay longer on the site and consider booking your hotel for their travels.

#4 Implement a Loyalty Program to Incentivize Guests to Book Direct

Loyalty programs are a surefire way to boost direct bookings. Consider implementing a robust loyalty program so that existing customers book your hotel directly from your website.

Your hotel’s loyalty program need not be fancy. It can be as simple as offering a 10% discount for booking again through the website. You can also offer “member-only” rates. However, occasionally offer them exclusive deals, discounts, or perks, such as complimentary room upgrades. These rewards not only enhance the overall guest experience but also create a strong incentive for repeat bookings.

In conclusion, increasing direct bookings at your hotel is not a Herculean task, though it may seem like one. The right strategies can help you boost direct bookings and reduce reliance on third-party booking platforms, tipping the scales in your favor. Thus, consider implementing them.

Keep in mind that direct bookings won’t increase overnight; instead, it will require some elbow grease. But the effort will be worth it when you start driving more direct bookings in your hotel.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *