You love how OTA’s brings your hotel in with more exposure, but you wish you don’t have to pay them a very high commission. Here are a few tips to implement that will help you increase direct bookings in your website without needing to share your revenue with others.
1. Ensure your website is mobile friendly
Having a mobile-friendly hotel website which is accessible on all devices will give you a higher opportunity to get more direct hotel bookings because the majority of consumers nowadays are researching and booking trips through their smart devices. People want to access information quickly, which means they will give up on sites that aren’t loading fast enough for them to properly navigate.
When you decide to optimize your hotel website for mobile you should focus on 5 key points which are:
- Improve your website’s loading speed
- Ensure your website is responsive using all devices
- Present a clear call to action
- Ensure the links and navigation button are easily clickable
- Ensure your visitors can find what they want with minimal scrolling
If your hotel website is not mobile-friendly, you'll lose huge opportunities as your visitors will be 62% less likely to book from your website. If you are not sure whether your current hotel website is mobile friendly or not, you can test it here by inserting your website URL.
2. Install a user-friendly booking engine
An online booking system is a must-have for hotels these days. It is an essential feature for hotels to ensure a competitive advantage. Do not make it difficult for your prospective customers to make a booking. Make it fast and simple.
The booking process must be seamless to ensure the customers can proceed to payment without any roadblocks. Choose a booking engine that is also easy for hotel front desk to operate efficiently.
Below are some of the benefits for both hotel owners and guests:
Check out these top 5 hotel booking engines that you should consider. All of them are offering trial account for hoteliers to try out their system.
3. Support multiple payment gateways to collect payments
Imagine that your potential customers browse through your hotel website and wanted to make a room reservation. After they have come to the booking page, they need to key in a lot of details to make a booking. Unfortunately, after they have submitted the booking details, they are unable to make the payment. If this scenario happen, you might have missed some direct booking sales.
As we also noticed that there is an increasing number of people who are using mobile payments and e-wallet payment like Boost and Touch 'n Go, you should take advantage of this trend and give your hotels competitive edge compared to other hotels or platforms.
By implementing an online payment solution for your hotel, you can accept payment from multiple payment gateways such as online banking, credit card, Paypal and e-wallet. With your own payment gateway account, you will get to enjoy lower transaction fee per booking and faster settlement to your bank account.
Download ultimate guide to payment gateways in Malaysia and Indonesia.
4. Showcase guest reviews
Most travelers nowadays check on guest reviews, rating and testimonials before deciding to book an accommodation. So, hotel's online reputation will influence people's buying decisions.
To put it simply, more reviews collection means more room bookings for your hotel. By showcasing your guest reviews on your hotel website, that means you are giving assurance to your audience that your hotel is trusted.
How to make a guest leave a review for your hotel voluntarily?
Try to get a booking engine that comes together with a smart review system. Softinn Smart Review System launched in 2019, it aims to help merchants to understand the key areas to improve for their hotel businesses thus providing a better experience for guests.
Divided into two parts which are:
- Survey sent on the first night of guest’s stay
On their first night, the guest will receive a survey email to rate their experience at your hotel from Bad (1) to Great (5). Based on the feedback, you can take necessary steps in improving their stay experience.
- Collect Google Review a day after the guest has checked out
An email will be sent to the guest to ask them to rate and review your accommodation and services on Google Review. Once you receive Google Review, you can always use that to publish on your hotel website.
5. Offer a special promotion for customers that book through the website
Show your website visitors that they are special by giving them an exclusive discount through a promo code on your hotel website.
Promo code ideas for hotels
- Early bird discounts
Offer a special discount to the early booker such as if they book 30 days before the check in date.
- Room rate promotions
Offer a special deal for different room rates during a slower selling period.
You can find more digital marketing ideas for hotels using promo code in this article. Softinn Promo Code System supports a variety of promotion types, where you can customize it for according to your promotion marketing campaign.
6. Upselling your hotel features through upsell module with add-ons
The process of hotels offering additional services instead of only selling the hotel’s room, we call it an upsell. Upselling is one of the strategies to boost a hotel's sales revenue and at the same time improve customer experience by providing a one-stop add-ons page for their needs.
Example of Upselling Ideas:
- Bike and car rental
- Airport pickup
- Spa services
You can find many more ideas for upselling from here. Now, let’s understand how upselling can help to increase your hotel’s direct booking.
Imagine that your potential customers have browsed through your hotel website, decided to book your hotel’s room, they noticed that you provide airport pickup services which is one of their needs. This will definitely influence their buying decisions. Instead of browsing through other online platforms or search for any other hotels, this will make their buying process easier.
One of the ways to provide add-on services for your establishments is through a hotel reservation system. Softinn Upsell Module allows their merchants to provide add-on services in Softinn Booking Engine where customers can book directly from their website.
7. Promote tour package on your hotel website
If your hotel is located around tourist spot and also most of famous attractions, then you are only a few steps away to increase more direct bookings. It is just the matter of how you are going to promote your hotel's value.
You have to be different, be creative and use your hotel's strategic location to attract more customer. For example, you may create and promote special package like 3D2N honeymoon package, tour island package and etc.
Benefits of offering tour packages through hotel website:
- Packages drive direct bookings
- Increase the duration of stays
- Less cancellations
The moment you promote the package through hotel website, you need to make sure that your potential customers would be able to get all the information and understand what you are offering including the package price. They should be able to send their details and ask for any queries.
By getting a Content Management System, you can create your own tour package page on your hotel website and include the "Call-To-Action" button where you can customize it to be directed to your WhatsApp or detail form.
Even though there are so many ways to promote your tour packages for maximum sales, trust me, your website is going to be the main selling channel for your hotel's tour package.
8. Add a chat button
If your guests have any questions, they can instantly ask the chatbot. And within a few seconds the chatbot will answer their queries.
When you answer them in a short time, they will be able to get the information they want immediately. This will give your visitors a positive impression of your hotel and increase the possibility of a booking.
A good example of a chatbot is Facebook Messenger which can be implemented straight into your website to address any website visitors. This gives visitors a way to get their questions answered around the clock.
Softinn CMS has this feature called "custom script" where the users can easily install the FB messenger on their hotel website.
We believe that the strategic use of automation will boost your relationship with your customers as people become more comfortable with communicating with chatbots for a range of tasks.
Did you know that people can easily find your hotel website through these channels? Never ignore other popular channels like Google and Facebook. Make use of them!
9. List your hotel on Google My Business
Google My Business is a free and user-friendly tool for hotels to manage and increase their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing your business information, you can help customers find you easier.
Google My Business listing is a strong step to rank higher in search results. Travelers don’t need to dig around the internet to find your hotel’s information anymore. All the information that you want people to see will be displayed on the search engine results page. This encourages travelers to book directly with your property instead of through an OTA.
How can hotels benefit from using this tool?
- Your hotel's information will show up on the search result page.
- Have a geo-marker on Google maps to highlight your location.
- Display guest reviews.
- A button to link directly to your website
- And many more!
By optimizing your profile on Google My Business, you can increase website traffic, and give travelers the information they crave as soon as possible. So, what are you waiting for? Let's claim your FREE Google My Business listing.
10. Redirect Book Now button on Facebook to your hotel website
Most of you have a Facebook page for your hotels, making good use of the features it offers can greatly improve our booking performance. One of the features of the Facebook page is the Call-To-Action button where you can customize it to direct your viewer to take an action.
With hotels, we will be using the “Book Now” Call-To-Action button. Here is a guide to help you install Booking Engine to your Facebook page. However, you might want your guest to visit your website which contains more information about your hotel. If that is the case, it is better to redirect the Call-To-Action button to your hotel website instead of the booking engine.
The steps to do it are the same as the guide shown above, the only difference is that instead of putting the URL of the booking engine, you insert the URL of your hotel website.
After you have installed it, the moment a viewer clicks on the “Learn more or book now” button, he or she will be directed to your hotel website which will lead to increase your hotel direct booking.
11. Run ads on social media targeting your customer segment
Social media always wins when it comes to advertising and promoting brands because it promotes relationships rather than products or services. Organic following, driving traffic, and even encouraging sales can all be simply made when using social media.
When running ads on social media,you have to ensure that it is different for every audience.
Once you have your own audience, then running ads targeting that audience over and over again becomes easier and cheaper than ever before.
Social media is a great way to reach your target audience. You can run different online ads on Google, Facebook or any other platforms. It allows you to design targeted ads campaigns to increase hotel room sales and website direct bookings.