As a hotelier, one of your constant annoyances is probably OTAs. They charge huge commission fees, but unfortunately a lot of bookings are made through them. Of course, the goal is to get more people to book directly on your website, so you can pocket more of the money made. With that in mind, here are ten strategies you can use to get more potential customers to book directly on your website.
1. Make your website mobile-friendly
The general population is increasingly tech-savvy and spends a lot of time on their mobile devices. Smartphones are becoming more and more a part of the process in booking travel around the world. It’s important for hotels to catch up with this trend and make sure that their websites are mobile-friendly to capture more bookings. Of course, it’s important to ensure that your website is also accessible on all platforms.
2. Focus on your SEO
When people are searching for anything nowadays, chances are they go straight to Google or other search engines, to a lesser extent. To get potential guests to find your website, you need to be showing up on search engines, and you need to be showing up towards the top of the page. To do so, you need to perform search engine optimization on your website.
Focusing on SEO can help your hotel get higher quality leads and increase your direct booking rate, if done right. There are many factors that go into SEO; even things like page load speed can affect your website ranking. If people have to spend more than even a few seconds loading up your website, they will most likely click away to your competitors.
3. Include attractive CTAs
You got a potential customer onto your website, but now what? How can you get them to actually book with you? That’s where attractive call-to-actions (CTAs) come in. Those are the clear “Book Now” buttons or boxes that tell your website visitors exactly what to do and where to click. Get creative with your CTAs—give them an offer they can’t say no to.
4. Offer direct booking discounts
With OTAs charging anywhere from 15-30% in commission fees, hotels are much better off offering their own discounts to incentivize customers to book directly with them. Always offer the lowest price possible on your website, especially since the draw of many OTAs are their booking deals and low prices. Be ready to price-match—it’ll be a worthwhile investment. You can even include these deals as a part of your CTAs to make your offers even more attractive.
5. Manage and highlight positive reviews
People like to check ratings before they book with hotels, so you should use that to your advantage. Highlight 5-star reviews on your website to create a greater sense of credibility and trust for your prospective guests. People want to know that they can have a good experience at your hotel, and showing them your best reviews from previous guests can reassure them to book right away.
You should also keep track of any reviews of less than 5-stars and communicate with those people to figure out how you could have made their experience better. To go the extra mile, as hoteliers often do, you could offer unsatisfied guests more benefits or discounts for future experiences so that they can take down their review or leave a better review later on.
6. Create loyalty programs
Make your most loyal guests feel special with loyalty programs designed to get more people to book directly on your website. You can give exclusive discounts and deals to repeat guests who book directly with you, and you can build strong relationships with guests who do so. Keep your most loyal guests happy with your best service.
7. Use live chatbots
A live chatbot can help to answer any questions that your potential guests may have and guide them to the right booking links when they’re browsing through your website. People would ideally want their questions answered as soon as possible, and that’s where live chatbots can effectively come in. Chatbots can answer any questions immediately and improve the customer service experience, giving potential guests a better impression of your hotel.
At Akia, we want to help you keep that live line of communication open and increase your direct bookings. Our Web Chat solution helps you answer questions directly on your website, and it keeps track of any prospective guests who are browsing through your site. Even if someone leaves your website without booking, Akia will continue to keep in touch with prospective guests to convince them to book with you later on.