Ehotelier guide: Hospitality industry secrets of increasing direct reservations

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Ehotelier guide: Hospitality industry secrets of increasing direct reservationsPhoto Source: Pixabay

With the commission booking rates of booking sites going up, and already averaging nearly 20 per cent, no wonder the hoteliers are desperate to avoid the middleman, according to the following article by ehotelier.com:

Increasing the number of direct reservations can save thousands of euros each month. The hard part is obviously getting them. The steps described in this article have been shared by successful hoteliers who saw their direct bookings ratio skyrocket.

Online is not enough

Online presence is essential for any business. What’s often overlooked is the shopping experience. Make sure your website is well-designed, up to today’s standards, and offers online bookings. It has to look good and clear to attract the guests. The most important thing when it comes to the website is the content. Potential guests are visiting the accommodation’s webpage to find more information than they can see on OTAs. Hoteliers need to meet their guests’ expectations if they strive to increase the number of direct reservations. This means really detailed descriptions of the hotel, the rooms, and the offer itself. To improve the conversion, it’s sometimes worth to limit the choice. The situation in which there are too many rooms to choose from can be really confusing and drive the consumers away. Try simplifying your offer and highlighting the best part of it – like the most prestigious rooms.

Just being online and having a good website isn’t enough these days. More and more consumers look to make reservations through their smartphones. This can be the case, especially when booking last minute, just before or already after the arrival to their city of destination. That’s why your website has to be responsive and its user experience should be on point, no matter what kind of device the potential guests might be using.

Be social

Your past guests can do wonders for your business. They are the true advocates of your services. They can also be the way to drive the direct reservation numbers. Encourage your guests to recommend your accommodation to their friends and spread the word. Hand out business cards. It’s a good idea to include a discount code on the business card. You can also try sending discount codes to the guests who have just finished their stay at your hotel. This way you can build loyalty-based relations with your customers, converting into commission-free bookings. To further increase the number of your returning visitors, try re-marketing. For example, you can target those Internet users who have already visited your website with display ads.

Additionally – never underestimate the power of social media. Go to Facebook and start your page now, if you don’t have one yet. It’s free. If you do have one, make sure to keep it fresh and interesting as it’s an extremely powerful tool for attracting direct reservations.

“The key thing is to be present, to ensure good content, and to be active – just get interactions with users,” says Marcin Wesołowski, who managed to double the number of direct bookings of his apartments in Cracow, using the techniques described in this article. “Let people check into your place, share their experience, thank them for sharing their story and in case of any issues, always address them and make sure the problem was resolved. If everything was fine, ask your guest to write a review. You can be sure that their friends, as well as friends of friends, will notice it. And remember that your place is special and, as all other places, it has its own story. Keep telling your great story and promote it.”

Offer something extra

In some countries, rate parity agreements are still a thing. Don’t let them stop you from offering extra perks to the consumers. Offer a free Wi-Fi, SPA entrance or restaurant discount. Even if you’re not obliged by rate parity agreements, OTAs can decrease your ranking if they find out that your direct rates are lower. A good way around that is a discount code or a private page on your website with a special offer. You can share the link or the code among your previous guests, social media followers or other platforms, like TripAdvisor. If your offer is better than the OTAs’, that’s a reason big enough for the guests to book directly. Go ahead and offer something extra!

Don’t be afraid of the OTAs

Even though most of the online travel agencies charge horrendous commission rates, they are low-key useful for getting direct reservations. Unless you run a large, international hotel chain, your chances of outbidding the OTAs in search engines are slim. Use the exposure the OTAs give, to build your own brand awareness.

Not all the OTAs are to be scared of. Check Bidroom.com. The Dutch company operates on a business model based on user memberships. It means that it doesn’t charge any fees for bookings, and exposes you to the community of frequent travelers. Lately, Bidroom introduced a direct link to the hotel website on the hotel offer page. According to Michael Ros, the CEO of Bidroom, they don’t mind the users booking directly since the company doesn’t make money on bookings. While the direct link is a heavily paid feature at some platforms, Bidroom.com offers it to hotels for free.

Tool around

Software like Triptease, HotelChamp are meant for increasing direct bookings. The first one offers rate monitoring across all platforms to go along with reports and alerts whenever you’re being undercut. Triptease also offers solutions useful for the guests, which will help you improve your conversion. They include live chat box and price checker, comparing the direct offer with the OTAs’ offers. Alternatively try HotelChamp, which also helps with website optimization.

Being listed at TripAdvisor isn’t cheap, but it’s worth it. Think of it as a tool for getting direct bookings. Not only does it help build brand awareness but also serves as a platform where you can display all the best parts of your offer, interact with the consumers, and more importantly, give them a special, discounted and direct offer.

Read more here.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Photo Source:pixabay.com

Source: ehotelier.com

 

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