In OTA-dominated hospitality industry, hoteliers are trying new tactics to bypass OTAs and increase direct bookings online to generate more bottom-line revenue. Although online travel agencies help increase exposure, direct online booking boosts brand loyalty and turns guests into loyal customers.
There’s a hunch in hotel market that OTAs are giving up little grounds to hotels as a chance to drive direct bookings, but my observations and data I studied portray a different portrait. OTAs are not getting smaller anytime soon and there are bleak chances of any shift. Hoteliers have to figure out new methods to tackle OTA channels and also compete for direct bookings in the ongoing hotel war. I have surveyed different data sets to understand how to make hotel campaigns work and boost direct bookings. An effective strategy to drive direct bookings can help a hotel get guests directly through its website.
I have figured out some practical ways to tip the scales:
Hotel Booking Engine For Direct Bookings
It’s a simple accommodation booking system to increase direct booking on your hotel’s official website. By adding the booking engine to your website, you allow guests to book accommodation through smart devices, like smartphone as well as tablet. Not just room booking, but a hotel booking engine can be used to offer various other purposes too. Some of them are:
- Advance room bookings
- Multiple room bookings
- Extra hospitality services, incentives and packages for limited time period
- Call for action
- Personalized bookings where guests can choose only those services they require
- Easy booking and room cancellation process
- Automate emails to guests once the booking is done
Attractive Offers On Direct Bookings
What attracts guests towards OTAs and third-party online booking websites is easy access to a number of hotels at one time. They get a platform where they can easily compare room types, services and prices of many hotels. Hoteliers who show the best rates on their websites have high chances to win guests than those who do not pay attention to accommodation prices during the time of direct booking.
Room rates or service prices on a hotel’s official website shouldn’t be higher than costs shown on OTAs or other booking platforms. To make guests aware of special offers on direct bookings, you can add price comparison pop-ups on the website. There are some OTAs that allow hotels to show rates featured on their official websites.
Make The Most Of Social Media
According to a recent survey, more than half of the hoteliers in the study admitted that they experienced surge in direct hotel bookings after marking presence on various online platforms. Successful hotels and brands also highlight the power of social media while sharing their success stories. It is because people believe in a brand when they see their friends posting about it on social media. A study says that more than 80% travelers are influenced by their friends’ posts on a hotel. There are several ways to use social media to engage people on your hotel’s social media page.
- Post images and videos of the hotel with gripping stories behind them
- Hotel’s blogs should be in storyline format
- Discounts, special packages, quiz and contests on your hotel’s social media page should be highlighted through attractive visuals
- There should be constant and effective connection between the hotel and guests
- Every query should be resolved and reply should be given to every comment
Turn OTA Hotel Bookings To Direct Bookings
OTAs charge commission on hotel bookings, but their power cannot be underestimated. Guests can be lured for direct bookings by offering extra when they choose to book accommodation via official website. You can start loyalty programs, update guests with new offers and packages via emails, special offers to loyal guests and more targeted discounts.
OTAs are going to be a part of hotel industry for years to come and they should not be neglected. But you can make right moves to increase direct hotel bookings and decrease the dependency on OTAs. Make your efforts as valuable as you can.
by AVI ARYA | Leave a comment