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Four Ways to Increase Hotel Revenue with Direct Bookings

Increase your hotel's revenue with direct bookings by following these 5 tips. Discover which methods work best for your hotel and get started today.

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How does a direct booking strategy help increase revenue for your hotel?
More to the point, how would you increase direct bookings for your hotel when, on average, a conversion rate is below 2%?
Sounds incredibly difficult, doesn't it? Especially when there's a chance you're spending money on marketing campaigns such as Google Ads, SEO, and Facebook.
The short answer is that there is no one definitive way to significantly increase direct bookings for your hotel. It's actually the sum of many parts.

The long answer can be found in this blog article where we'll include five methods on how to increase hotel bookings.

With each suggestion, we'll also leave you with an action point so you can act on the information and expertise we are sharing with you.

Integrate a Web Booking Engine That Works

You might be able to drive traffic to your hotel website, but if you fail to make it easy for guests to book, especially on mobile devices, you can almost guarantee that they'll go elsewhere to a competitor of yours that will make it easy for them.

What we typically see is there are quite a few potential problems that exist within larger booking engine providers that make the booking process incredibly frustrating.

Too many clicks, asking for too much information, or the booking engine opening in a new tab, are just some of the problems that we have seen.

When you drive your potential customers from your website to a separate page with your booking engine that looks nothing like your website, you will lose customers.

Essentially, it creates a really poor guest experience and, more importantly, a loss in revenue. In short, it's completely unnecessary.

That's why the booking engine you do integrate into your website, should look identical to your website, and remain on your domain.

Additionally, your potential guests will be able to view the up-to-date availability of your hotel rooms in real-time. We believe this to be one of the easiest ways to increase direct hotel bookings.

Your guests would receive an instant confirmation for their booking directly from your hotel management system which only instills more confidence in your guest that they have made the correct choice in choosing you.

Finally, an effective booking engine that integrates with your website should also be able to assist your hotel in handling and processing payments and allow you to upsell & cross-sell where appropriate.

What to do next: it's quite simple - put yourself in your guest's shoes and go through your own hotel's booking process yourself and take note of what can be improved.

Furthermore, ask the same of some of your colleagues, get their feedback, and compile it all into a to-do list.

A Mobile-First Approach

We know that online travel agents & and their respective agencies have invested a significant amount of time, effort, and financial resources into ensuring their mobile experience is great.

So, this begs the question - how does your website's mobile experience compare to the competition?

A study conducted in 2019 suggested that 87% of people visit a hotel's website before they book with that hotel. That's a significant amount of eyeballs on your website that is most likely coming from a mobile device.

What to do next: If you're noticing a high volume of traffic coming to your website but very few bookings, there are going to be a variety of issues preventing these bookings and one of those is almost certainly going to be a poor mobile experience.

To look at how your hotel website is currently performing on mobile, we'd recommend using Google's mobile-friendly checker or GTMetrix's website speed insights to discover where you're going wrong and how to fix it.  

A Full Stack Digital Marketing Strategy

When it comes to hotel marketing, there are many channels that can be effective. Television, radio, and online ads are all great options, but it's important to choose the right one for the right audience.

Make sure you are targeting the right people with your advertising, and don't forget about special events and travel seasons.

Focusing on digital marketing channels, our recommendation is to incorporate a mix of SEO (search engine optimisation), Google Ads, social media ads, and email marketing to ensure you can stay top of mind with your target audience at all times.

In terms of where each platform ideally sits in the sales funnel, we'd recommend the following:

  • Awareness - Social ads
  • Consideration - SEO, social ads
  • Conversion - SEO, social ads, Google ads, email
  • Customer Loyalty Program & Online Reviews - Email, social ads

What to do next: assess your existing digital marketing channels and if you aren't using one or all of the above channels, we would recommend changing that immediately.

Furthermore, whilst each channel will contribute to bookings and revenue directly, we believe that each channel will contribute to the bookings made by the other channels thus creating a full-stack digital marketing strategy that places a focus on attribution.

Have All The Answers All the Time

If there are three things that we would absolutely recommend every hotel website must do. While they do take a lot of time and energy to set up and manage, we believe they are crucial to how you can increase direct bookings for your hotel.

Build a Robust FAQ

  • Analyse and audit your Google Search Console, GMB listings, business listing sites, PPC keyword search terms, SEO questions
  • Consult your front desk and gather data on regular questions being asked of your staff
  • Gather all your data and use it to create a FAQ section on your website where appropriate


Live Chat

  • Build and implement a chatbot on your website that can handle all the relevant questions or commonly asked questions
  • This will help increase conversion rate because you will be able to eliminate any doubt before making an online booking
  • You can use data from this live chat option and include it into the frequently asked question section of your website

Search Bar

  • Ensure that a search bar exists at the top of every page to ensure your potential guests can get where they want to quicker i.e. your booking engine
  • You have the data that you need from what people are typing and thus closing the loop on FAQs

Conclusion

While we have only included some of the ways in which you can attract more hotel direct bookings, these are certainly not the only ones.

With time and advancements in technology, the above four suggestions will almost certainly evolve too, so we've made a point of trying to keep them as relevant as possible in today's environment.

We truly hope you've found value in this blog post and are able to take some or all of these suggestions and implement them into the direct booking strategy for your hotel.