How to grow Direct Bookings Online
Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director
Over the last few years there has been a significant growth both in the number of third party options for booking a hotel room online and also in the level of competition to capture more of a hotel’s brand revenue in a cluttered online market.
At the Hospitality Technology Show held in London earlier this year, a panel of experts discussed how hotels can capture more of their direct business online. The highlights of the discussion are included in –http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Article/13157/How-to-capture-direct-bookings-guest-data.
Although there is a level of competition online for a hotel’s brand and key terms, these can vary greatly depending on the type of hotel or the location. All hotels can benefit from paying attention to the basics when it comes to managing their brand online and growing direct revenue.
Ensure that your website is easy to navigate.
Ensure there is relevant and fresh content, to inform and capture interest.
Ensure there are strong visual elements – images, galleries, videos, clear calls-to-action and reasons to book.
Use rewards & incentives to encourage customers to convert directly online when next booking. Implement personalisation of communication with customer databases and good data capture at check-in and include pre and post stay communications.
Ensure that the best rates and offers are always available on your own site. Any discounts or promotional campaigns running on third party channels should at the very least be matched on the hotel site. Clearly highlight the benefits of booking direct on both the website and in the booking engine and also include incentives or rewards for booking direct.
Use social platforms to encourage interaction and generate brand awareness and loyalty. These platforms will also create social and user-led content.
Although third party channels will continue to deliver significant levels of bookings to hotels, the value of effectively managing direct bookings will pay dividends as they often come at a much cheaper rate. Managing direct bookings also ensures that the hotel can manage a direct relationship with each customer with future benefits with repeat business and shared recommendations.
Friday, February 28, 2014