Finding the right balance between OTA and direct bookings is a key concern for any hotelier. Even if you’re fully booked, you won’t be maximizing your revenue streams if all of your guests are coming from third-party booking engines. That’s why we’re offering you our six best tips to increase direct bookings! Follow our guide, and you’ll be driving organic bookings in no time at all. While you’re here, check out our free Marketing Grader. Our expert analysis can help point you in the right direction when it comes to building an actionable marketing strategy for your business.
How to Increase Direct Bookings
Fix Your Website
With the access that businesses have to technology today, there’s no excuse for having a sub-par website. Websites are the number one tool you have under your belt to drive direct bookings, attract customers, and build your business. Almost 100 percent of consumer’s book online. For this reason, having a website that is easy to navigate and offers guests useful information is critical. Before you do anything else, make sure your website is up to date!
Increase Organic Search
Google search drives more direct bookings than any other source. Most customers start their search on Google. In order to reach them, you have to know how to navigate the world of digital content. Google is constantly trying to keep consumers on Google and off of your website. As hotel marketers, we have to step up and develop strategies to work within Google’s framework. Invest in search engine optimization for your website. The larger your organic presence, the more direct business you’ll attract. If you need help, developing your SEO strategy or need an SEO audit, our team can help!
Invest in Google or Bing Ads
Our customers see an average of ten to twenty times return on pay-per-click advertisements. This means, for every dollar spent, PPC advertisements typically return ten to twenty dollars. For our customers, we fluctuate our PPC budgets based on our booking windows and available inventory. While Google Ads are valuable for immediate success, they create very little residual value. Increasing organic search creates a lasting impact, but PPCs are over as soon as you turn them off. So, it is important to limit the amount of money you spend on PPCs.
Make Repeat Guests, Your Favorite Guests
Use your database of past guests to create repeat guests. Create email-marketing campaigns to reach those people. We’ve had customers receive over 400,000 dollars in bookings from emails alone. Research the guest life cycle, and make sure you are targeting the right guests at the right time. If you’re not optimizing your email marketing, you’re losing money. Also, think about value-added offers. Discounts and exclusive offers to past guests are a great way to incentivize repeat customers.
Use OTAs for Guest Acquisition and Develop a Direct Booking Path
OTAs are valuable, but your goal should be to decrease the amount of OTA bookings you receive. OTAs spend billions of dollars to attract guests, and there is no easy way to compete with the number of resources they have. What you can do, is use these OTAs to your advantage. Build your customer base, and then develop a strategy to build repeat customers that will come straight to your website the next time they book. Check-in and check-out processes, rewards programs, email campaigns are a great way to educate guests on the benefits of booking direct. Don’t be overly “salesy,” but give guests an incentive to stay away from OTAs the next time they book.
Get More 5 Star Reviews
Most consumers use reviews to determine where they want to stay. 95 percent of our customers see positive returns on their investment with our marketing services. The five percent that doesn’t do as well usually share one thing in common: negative online reviews. If you have less than 40 reviews, you need more. Encourage guests to leave reviews after their stay in person or via social media.
Use Q4 Launch to Build Your Marketing Strategy
Let’s face it, becoming an expert in hotel marketing while dealing with the day-to-day of running your business is next to impossible. Our team of SEO content writers and hotel-marketing experts is here to help you every step of the way. From building a website that drives bookings to design an email marketing campaign that keeps customers engaged, we have the tools to help you succeed in the ever-evolving space of digital marketing. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team today!