How to make your guests’ book direct?
“82% of travel bookings in 2018 were completed via website or mobile app, without human interaction.” Source: Trekksoft.
Online booking is dominating today’s travel and hospitality world. There is no denying in that.
But what makes things complex for you?
While booking, guests today have multiple options to go for not only the Hotel Website. Some of them are Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), Metasearch Engines, Sharing Economy, traditional travel agency, and so on. These third-party systems can feed you with bookings, but the disadvantage is that you need to spend a huge amount on each conversion.
With intensifying competition & less brand visibility, making guests book hotel rooms directly from your hotel website becomes a difficult task.
Where lies the gap?
Bridging the gap requires you to have a thorough understanding of your guests’ travel research patterns and changing expectations.
Today’s guests are very keen and often driven by value. They always prefer things that provide value for their money.
And today, experience is a game-changer in the travel and hospitality industry. Better experience leads to better guest satisfaction.
“Experience is the name of the game in travel today. In fact, 67% of high-income travelers said they would rather spend their money on activities than a nicer hotel room.” Source: Skift.
The point is providing better-staying experience with interesting activities can increase your hotel business and brand loyalty.
It is clearly stated that providing excellent experience and value are the two key components that build guest loyalty and make your guests book directly or visit again to your hotel.
Let’s discuss some simple tips that increase your guest satisfaction and make them book directly from your hotel website.
1. Website is your top priority
Website is the connecting point between you and your guest. Make guest’s booking process frictionless by allowing them to book rooms and pay through your site. Make your website attractive by adding hotel images and guests’ testimonials.
“A one second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.” Source: Neil Patel
Website speed matters a lot in increasing conversions. The faster it loads, the higher your conversions will be.
2. Advertise on Online Travel Agencies(OTAs)
“84% of consumers said they book travel through bundling sites like Expedia.com or Kayak vs. going directly to an airline and/or hotel.” Source: Humley.
OTAs like Expedia, Kayak, Priceline, and some of its kinds give you the brand visibility you need.
And most of the potential guests visit your website if they see you in these travel sites. Chances are there your potential guests might book through your site. Also, it is advisable to not give links to other sites from your website. It might increase the possibilities of guests’ abandon your page and end up somewhere else.
3. Optimize for local, voice and mobile search
“Search plays a big role early on in the travel booking journey. In 2018, 31% of accommodation searches started on search engines, up from 23% in 2017.” Source: McKinsey.
Start with optimizing your hotel site for local search, which will help you show up on the first page when the guests search hotels in a particular location.
“69% of travelers said they have used voice search while planning a trip.” Source: Travelport.
The usage of mobile devices & voice search is increasing steadily. Therefore, optimizing these technologies can help you show up whenever guests look for a hotel room.
4. Create enticing offers
Offers still play a significant role in increasing your hotel conversion rates. It is what makes your hotel stand out from indirect competitors and make guests select. Check out this blog post which helps you attract more guests with offers: https://www.cheerzeconnect.com/blog/how-to-attract-more-guests-to-your-hotel
Amaze your guests with offers that provide value to them. Free room upgrade, Wi-Fi, complimentary transportation services, free room service, free food and drinks, booking cancellation cut-off date, and certificate to dine at famous restaurants are some of the perks that make guests book directly from your hotel website site.
5. Greet guests with their name
Hospitality is all about building human connections. Welcome and greet guests using their name and not with the reservation number. Engage more to know about them and the purpose of their visit. Be friendly and helpful. It takes your guest satisfaction to the next level.
6. A sense of belonging
“90% of travelers worldwide say they expect a personalized experience when they book their travel. “ Source: Medium
Create a sense of belonging in the minds of your guests. Make them feel that they belong to the destination and your hotel. Today’s guests have a relentless desire for exploring local cities and culture. They want to feel like local people. They would like to dine at the local restaurants and never want to miss things that amaze them.
Hotels need to understand this growing travel trend and provide local recommendations to the guests. Segmenting guests might help you to provide more personalized suggestions. Check out this blog post to understand different types of travelers and their expectations: https://www.cheerzeconnect.com/blog/different-types-of-travelers-and-their-expectations-in-hotels
7. Incentivize your guests to book direct
Provide your business cards to your guests. Also, find other ways like social channels or email to connect with them. Ask your guests to book directly. Provide more personalized offers for guests booking directly. This is another finest strategy to increase your hotel direct bookings.
8. Ask them to share their feedback in your business pages.
Happy customers are your brand ambassadors. Their reviews are very powerful which creates a strong impact on your potential guests.
Ask your guests to share their feedback or happy moments on your hotel’s business pages. It increases trust over your property and boosts conversion rates. Plus, include a ‘book now’ option on your social media sites so that you never miss out any bookings.
9. Send offers and gift cards
Send birthday or anniversary wishes to your guests. Plus, you can send gift cards like free dining at your restaurant for local guests or discount on bookings, etc. This is one of the working upsell strategies.
10. Reputation is key!
What are the things you consider while buying a product?
Quality, Price and Trust. The same applies to the hospitality industry. Quality of service, Value on investment and the word of mouth from fellow travelers can build trust and increase your hotel sales.
Reputation is the key to success. It increases your brand credibility and of course your hotel conversion rates. Check out this blog post which provides simple tips in managing your hotel’s online reputation: https://www.cheerzeconnect.com/blog/how-to-manage-your-hotels-online-reputation