Direct Booking: why should travellers prefer you over OTAs
The OTAs, with the status and reputation they have acquired over the years, help a lot in displaying and showing off hotels, resulting in more bookings. The commission though is high especially for small businesses. That’s why more and more hoteliers try to have direct bookings. However, to bring results, this requires a lot of work and effort. Creating your own booking engine and constructing a webpage that will lead the visitors to direct bookings quickly and easily are just the beginning. Below you will find two basic strategies which – if you follow them – are defining factors in making customers book directly with you rather than with an online booking channel.
86% of internet users believe that Travel Agents and Online Booking channels (Booking.com, Expedia.com, etc) offer better prices than the ones offered at the official webpage of your hotel.
Let them know that this is not true! Underline it on your webpage or send out emails making clear that the price for a direct booking with the hotel will be better. This does not mean less profit for you because you will have made a saving from the commission. You can even incorporate a comparison tool at a highly visible spot on your webpage (e.g. the RateStrip widget) so visitors know the best price available on the internet in real time.
Sometimes offering a better price is not possible due to agreements with the channels. In this case, to convince visitors to make a direct booking, you can offer them an extra benefit for their booking. Some of the most popular benefits travellers look for are the following:
By now this is the most important amenity customers look for in a hotel. So make sure you stress it. If you want to stand out you can offer free in-room Wi-Fi for those who make a direct booking while the rest are restricted to communal areas.
Travellers will prefer a hotel that provides free breakfast. So you can offer it to those who make a direct booking through the official webpage of your hotel. And if your hotel has a restaurant you could offer them a free meal or a discount on the menu – to them exclusively.
It is a service travellers prefer. Offer this privilege to the ones making a direct booking through the booking engine of your hotel.
It seems visitors are convinced easier to make a direct booking if they know they can have a better room for free. Offer them a room with better view or a private balcony and they are sure to prefer to make their booking directly with you.
Does your hotel have a spa or other services you can offer your customers? For example, give to those booking directly through the official webpage of your hotel a chance for a free massage. You can even offer them free touring in your area or give them a free lesson in an activity in your region. Not only they will choose to make their booking directly with you but you will make their stay unforgettable.
No matter what you decide to do, make sure your potential customers see it! Place the extra benefits for direct bookings in a highly visible spot on your webpage and the online booking engine. The RateStrip widget of AboutHotelier.com lets you display these benefits so the visitors know immediately what they gain by booking directly. It is up to you to increase your direct bookings!
11 October 2017
2 February 2017