Increase Direct Bookings Through Your Hotel Website
According to the Institute of Tourism, only eleven percent of all incoming hotel bookings are made via the own hotel website. Real-time bookings in hotels over the own hotel website is six percent ahead of hotel bookings via the reservation form. Eleven percent are relatively low compared to the almost 25 percent of hotel bookings via online travel agencies or the 21 percent over the telephone. If we now consider that over 80 percent of travelers start their search for holiday destinations on the Internet, the eleven percent appear to be extremely low.
In today’s blog post, we therefore deal with your hotel website. We show you possibilities and opportunities that you as a hotelier can use to increase the number of direct bookings over your hotel website. So, what can you do? Basically, everything depends on the visibility of your hotel on the World Wide Web. Seeing and being seen can not be limited to trade fairs or events, but also has to be extended to the Internet. To increase the number of direct bookings via your hotel website, we have compiled nine tips for you which you can easily implement and will help you in the long term.
Tip no. 1: Website Optimization For Hotels – Good Content Wins Half The Battle
To optimize the website for hotels, your first priority is your own hotel website. You know your hotel inside out and as a good hotelier you are familiar with the peculiarities of your hotel and its surroundings. Your website user is not. Offer your potential guests all important information and show them why your hotel is unique. Differentiate yourself from the competition and show why it is worthwhile for your guests to make a direct hotel booking through your hotel website.
Standard phrases like “Our hotel has 45 comfortably furnished rooms” do not blow away anybody anymore. Be creative and let your imagination run wild when describing your legendary magical rooms. Give your hotel a personality and design your hotel website with a logical structure. We admit, this is not possible over night, but with a little patience and original ideas it is no rocket science. Show your potential guests what they can look forward to on their next holiday.
Tip no. 2: Present Special Offers – Point Them Out On Your Hotel’s Start Page
The presence of the hotel offers on your start page of your hotel website is enormously important, so your potential guests can notice them instantly. You have special hotel offers or arrangements? Then present them and use their potential to increase the hotel direct bookings via your hotel website. Show your guests what you and your hotel have to offer. It is important not to hide your special offers on a subpage’s subpage. Put your hotel deals on your starting page so visitors of your hotel website can find them immediately. When you go shopping, you see current special offers right away as well. The retailer does not hide them in the back of the shelf, does he?
Tip no. 3: Integrate Call-to-Action Buttons
Let’s go back to the permanent retail trade. Of course, an employee has direct contact to the customers and is able to intervene. On your hotel website this is possible with chat bots, but we do not want to make things more complicated than they already are. Call-to-action buttons replace the employee in retail, who draws the customer’s attention to special offers. Use the call-to-action button to make your visitors book a hotel stay directly via your hotel website.
Tip no. 4: Make Hotel Bookings As Easy As Possible For Your Website Visitors
Simple hotel bookings motivate your guest and enhance the increase of direct bookings via your hotel website. We assume that you already have implemented all the tips we suggested so far and that you will highlight your special offers perfectly. Now nothing can keep your guests from booking, right? Well, yes, something can. Cumbersome booking processes and enquiries quickly ensure that your visitor will turn to the usual: online travel agencies like booking.com or HRS.
On websites like these, visitors can see when which room is available at which price straight away. You don’t have to make an enquiry first, but book the hotel immediately and directly. Show your guests whether your hotel has free capacity on their desired date and give them the option of direct booking via your hotel website. Easy hotel bookings without complications are your potential guest’s first priority. Always keep in mind, that your guests do not only want to book easily and simply with their desktop PC, but also mobile via smartphone or tablet.
Tip no. 5: Incentive For Direct Bookings Via Your Hotel Website
Encourage your website visitors to book directly via your hotel website by, for example, showing them the benefits and offer special amenities. A free coffee on their day of arrival, a fruit bowl in their room or a bottle of wine are calculable and manageable costs for you. But for your hotel guests those incentives for direct hotel bookings via your hotel website can be a decisive factor. Keep in mind that commission payments to Booking, HRS or Hotel.de are likely to be much higher.
Special added value, such as embedded widgets on your hotel website, is of great benefit to visitors of your hotel website. For example, the MyBetterTrip widget helps your guests to perfectly plan their holiday. Your future guests can compile day trips from different categories such as culture, sights or shopping and get all the important information about what to discover and experience in you hotel’s surroundings.
Tip no. 6: Use Hotel Ratings On Your Hotel Website To Increase Direct Hotel Bookings
Nowadays, before hotel guests finally book their holiday through the hotel website, 92 percent of them read the hotel reviews. For you, this means that you need to keep an eye on all of the ratings all over the Internet. Make targeted use of the hotel ratings. Include these hotel ratings on your hotel website to increase direct hotel bookings. This prevents potential guests from leaving your hotel website to read other hotel reviews about you. Otherwise, leaving your hotel website carries the risk that potential guests will choose another hotel and not return to your hotel website.
Tip no. 7: Better Reviews Lead To Increased Turnover
Online reputation and the management of these online ratings play an important role when it comes to direct hotel bookings via your hotel website. In a study, TripAdvisor found out that a hotel with a one rating point higher rating quote can generate up to eleven percent more bookings via the hotel website. So, better ratings lead to increased turnover. In turn, hotels risk up to 20 percent of their online bookings due to negative ratings on the Internet.
You should therefore always track your hotel reviews on the Internet and react and respond adequately and promptly. You will receive more hotel ratings, if you, for example, contact your guests via e-mail after their trip and ask them to rate your hotel. Or you could ask them to leave a rating on site at the hotel. In this case, the digital guest directory can be used as a rating medium. Your guests can submit their hotel reviews quickly and easily online.
Tip no. 8: Use Social Signs To Increase Direct Hotel Bookings Via Your Hotel Website
Social media channels, such as Facebook, Instagram and others can, thanks to social signals, help to increase the number of direct bookings via your hotel website. It is quite simple. If you are actively represented on social networks, that means diligently gain likes and followers and comment and interact, it has a positive effect on your visibility of your hotel website. And, as you know, the better the visibility of your hotel website on the World Wide Web, the more successful you will be regarding direct bookings via your hotel website. In addition, you support the development of your image at the same time and increase the trust of your potential guests.
Tip no. 9: Communicate The Disadvantages Of Commission For Hotels To Employees
To increase the direct bookings via your hotel website, it is important that your reception staff is aware of the disadvantages of hotel commissions and understand the consequences for your hotel in case many of your guests book through online travel agencies. After all, you are wasting a lot of money on commissions, which in other places would perhaps provide a much greater benefit for you and your employees. Only if your staff is aware of this, pulls in the same direction and also works to ensure that your guests make direct bookings via your hotel website, you will see the success.