Leisure and business travelers all benefit from booking directly through your hotel website and they need to know it! There is a misconception that using an OTA is the best way to book a vacation, and Book Direct Day, February 6, 2019, is a great time to educate travelers about the real facts. Below are our top suggestions for ways you can take advantage of this important day in the travel industry. If you’d like to learn more about how you can drive even more direct bookings, contact us!
WHAT IS BOOK DIRECT DAY?
Online travel agents (OTAs) like Expedia and Priceline are huge competitors in the travel industry. Everyone knows you can book an entire vacation using one of these online services, but it’s not the best way for reasons we outline below. In addition, the average traveler doesn’t even know that they are paying hidden fees. Furthermore, bed and breakfasts, inns, and vacation rental companies end up sharing their commissions with these online giants.
#BookDirect Day, created by TripTease and held once a year in February, is an online movement that brings together the managers and owners of independently owned inns, B&Bs, lodges, boutique hotels, and vacation rentals to spread the word that booking accommodations directly through/with the property has many advantages.
5 WAYS YOU CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF BOOK DIRECT DAY AND DRIVE MORE BOOKINGS
1. CREATE MESSAGING THAT PROMOTES THE BENEFITS OF BOOKING DIRECT
As travelers are dreaming and planning on their buyer’s journey, let them know that by booking direct, they will:
- Get the best rates and the best offers
- Take advantage of any “extras” that are only offered to book-direct guests
- Be able to easily add packages or add-ons to their stay
- Have more flexibility and a better booking experience
- Have direct access to the manager/innkeeper who can answer questions about the local area
- Have direct access to manager/innkeeper who can assist those who have special requirements
- Have access to info about specials and offers during non-peak travel times.
2. EXPLAIN WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THEY DON’T BOOK DIRECT
- Travelers are paying OTAs hidden fees
- They don’t have access to all properties/rooms
- Travelers won’t know about the property’s special offers and savings
- They won’t be able to add packages or add-ons to their stay when booking
- They will have less flexibility with booking dates.
3. HOW CAN YOU SPREAD THE WORD?
- Email – Send out an email campaign explaining the benefits of booking directly. Highlight all of the added value and benefits that guests receive when they book on your website.
- Encourage booking directly on social media using imagery, messaging, and use the hashtag #BookDirect.
4. TOUT THE BENEFITS OF BOOKING DIRECTLY ALL.YEAR.LONG
Let Feb. 6, 2019, kick-off your year-long efforts to encourage travelers to book direct.
Throughout the year, you can:
- Include benefits of booking direct messaging in customer emails, on social media, and in promotional materials
- Target your messaging towards leisure and business travelers
- Create a Rewards Program that allows guests to earn rewards for booking direct, such as a later check-out time or credits after multiple stays.
5. MAKE SURE THAT BOOKING DIRECT IS EASY!
A big reason that people book through the OTAs is convenience: they’ve made booking easy, simple, and reliable on any device. If you want people to book through your website, you need to make it easy for them.
- Is booking simple on desktop and mobile?
- Is your website fast, responsive, and clearly laid-out?
- Are there clear, obvious booking calls to action throughout your website?
- Are common pre-booking questions, such as check-in/check-out times, policies, breakfast availability, etc. answered on your website?
- Is there a clear phone number, email address, and/or contact form on your website for guests who have more questions?
IF YOU’RE A Q4LAUNCH CUSTOMER, WE’RE ALREADY DOING MOST OF THIS FOR YOU! (YEAH!)
Do you need assistance driving traffic to your website so you can reduce your dependence on OTAs?
Do you need a new website that will help increase conversions?
Find out more about how Q4Launch can help!