When we talk about direct booking, it simply means the ability of travelers to book their accommodation directly from your website or social media pages rather than third-party channels like the Online Travel Agencies (OTAs). Although admittedly, It is not an easy task for any hotelier to increase direct bookings, however, if you did right, it is one of the most beneficial things a hotelier can engage in.
Although OTAs are useful in helping you to get more bookings for your property, increasing direct booking will help you to save the commission that you’re supposed to pay to these third-party channels, therefore increasing your profit.
Before jumping into the decision to implement a direct booking tool for your property, we have listed below the things that you ought to know about direct booking tools.
Choose the best web booking engine
The first thing you need to do after deciding to embark on a direct booking strategy for your property is to choose a booking engine from a hotel software provider. A booking engine will enable guests to view the available rooms on your property and how much each room costs. It is a wise thing to ensure that the booking engine features are what your property needs before settling with one. Some booking engine, like Softinn’s, is equipped with tools to help hoteliers with direct booking like a promo code system and upselling add-on services module.
Make sure your website is responsive and optimized
Implementing direct booking on a poorly designed website won’t do you any good, rather it will discourage your guest from booking directly from your website. Having said that, make sure your website is user-friendly and responsive too. Your website should be attractive, easy to navigate, and also mobile responsive. Many direct bookings take place on a mobile, so your website needs to be mobile responsive if you want to maximize conversion.
Implement guest review
Many travelers consider guest reviews before deciding to book an accommodation. Therefore, it is important to have your guest reviews shown on your website for guests to read how amazing your property is. It is also important to respond to guest's reviews, especially for the bad reviews to clear the air and promise to do better. This shows your guests and also your potential guests that you are serious about the reputation of your brand.
Implement Facebook booking
Make sure you choose a booking engine that you can also embed on your Facebook page. This will enable guests to book directly from your Facebook page, therefore increasing your conversion. There are millions of active users on Facebook daily, therefore integrating Facebook booking is an added advantage for you.
Integrate Live Chat
Some guests prefer to chat with the hotel reservation department live before making any booking decision. Implementing a live chat will help to close the deal faster when you can convince a hesitant guest that he or she is making the right decision. It can be as simple as directing them to chat with you on your Facebook page from your website so that they can have their questions answered before booking your property.
In conclusion, no doubt hoteliers will rely mostly on OTAs for their hotel booking. However, hoteliers need to at least try to find the balance between booking from OTAs and direct booking. Start working on your direct booking as it enables you to at least save the commission you pay to third-party channels. With direct booking tools property, owners can test and optimize their website for maximum conversion. Not just that, by implementing direct booking, hoteliers can also get insights about their guests, therefore learning how to target and convert more guests for their property.