A few years ago it seemed that the hotel industry market is shifting towards Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), not only this hotel but also looking for direct bookings.
But things are changing for good in favor of hotels. Many hotels like Hilton have started campaigns to attract more customers to their websites.
Through their advertisements, they are conveying the benefits to customers. So that hoteliers can get by direct bookings instead of OTAs.
The thing we must consider is why does a customer move to these travel websites?
Well, if we provide them with easy access to information and a simple booking process then why won’t they prefer booking directly from a hotel website?
The OTAs have been providing that simple thing. What customers want most is the hassle-free process to gain them.
Methods To Gain More Direct Bookings
Here is what you or any hotelier can do to gain more direct bookings and get the maximum share of the online booking market :
A well optimized Hotel website
First and foremost you need to have an optimized website. A poor design and user interface will definitely affect your bookings.
If a customer faces a complicated booking process then he will immediately turn to the OTAs and in this way, you will lose a booking.
The solution to this problem is to check whether your website is well-optimized. Also, whether it has a user-friendly interface to help customers to navigate smoothly through your website.
Use Online Travel Agencies
It is a good idea to use the OTAs as they do provide you with some bookings. Since they invest a lot in advertising themselves you can take advantage of it.
You can display the rates of your rooms on OTAs on your website so that customers can compare the room rates.
Most of the time the OTAs show the same rates as the hotel’s actual pricing or maybe less. In this way, there will be transparency and will help boost customers’ trust in your hotel.
Discounts and Special Offers
You can provide customers with discounted rates for direct bookings through your website. Similarly, you can give offer special deals like free breakfast, free and fast wi-fi, etc to attract more customers.
As a result, customers will be happy to book directly from your website rather than booking from Online Travel Agencies (OTAs). It is much better to offer discounts than to pay high commissions to OTAs.
You need to have a mobile-friendly website as customers can access your website through various devices like mobile, smartphones, tablets, etc. In this way, you’ll be increasing your coverage area and will be able to reach more customers.
Reliable Booking Engine
You need to research well and find a well-developed Hotel Booking system. Because it will help you optimize your website by providing an easy booking system for customers.
The key points to keep in mind before selecting a Hotel Reservation System are that
-Whether it has a Responsive system.
-Does it have a simple booking process so customers don’t get confused or frustrated?
Maintain Online Presence
Building and launching a hotel website is just a start. You need to market your brand as well to let people know that you exist.
Use Social Media
Using social media platforms to promote your hotel services is a must. You can actively post about the services you provide, why your hotel is a good place to stay, about the recent events organized in your hotel, etc.
You can convert online audiences to customers by engaging with them online. Having interactions with people on social media gives them a more personal touch.
As per the research by Forbes, 80% of customer decisions are influenced by social media.
Maintain The SEO
Following good SEO tips from Google and other sources, you can optimize your website so that it appears on the first-page search engines.
Practicing good SEO is a bit tough in the beginning but with little more attention to it, you can maximize your online reach for the customers searching for rooms online.
Write Blogs For Promotion
There is no doubt blogging does improve your website’s SEO. It helps in getting your hotel’s name at the top results of Google search results.
You can write blog posts related to your hotel. Blog about the successful events that have occurred and/or are about to in the future.
This will show that your hotel is putting in efforts to make the stay of your customers more enjoyable and memorable.
Writing about the prime attractions of your hotel, the nearby beautiful places they can visit like famous beaches, or any other renowned tourist attractions, etc.
It will help customers to visualize the enhanced experience they can get at your hotel.
Good reviews lead to an increase in accommodations. As per Searchengineland.com, a whopping 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendations.
In fact, MetaSearch Engines like TripAdvisor can drastically influence the booking decisions of customers. Good reviews about your hotel will encourage customers to book rooms in your hotel.
So it’s very important to maintain good reviews not only on social media but also on metasearch engines too.
Sharing your customers’ experiences by putting pictures of them on your website is also a very good strategy for promotion.
This approach has helped to increase revenue for many hotels. Why? Because this creates a positive reputation for your hotel. It also encourages customers to explore your hotel and feel the same awesome guest experience as your previous customers.
To sum up I’d say that keeping these points in mind and implementing them can result in more direct bookings. These are some of the strategies, but you can develop more ways to grow your hotel business.
In the end, it all depends on the efforts and hard work you put into delivering the best possible experience for your customers. If they really enjoy your services they can turn into loyal returning customers.
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That’s all from “Ways to Gain More Direct Bookings for Hotel Websites”.
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