In recent years, the travel industry has become increasingly competitive and is showing no signs of slowing down. For the most part, people have started to move away from using travel agents to plan their own vacations and enjoy the freedom of booking accommodation and activities for themselves.
As a hotel owner or manager, you’re now interacting with your guests earlier than ever before, beginning when they start their online research about their destination. But while you’re fighting for their business, you’re also competing with the countless online travel agents (OTAs) that want to capture your guests’ information and a piece of your nightly rate.
It’s a challenging time to be a hotelier — but the future looks bright. According to Phocuswright, direct bookings have been increasing in recent years and are expected to account for 50% of all hotel reservations by 2022.
In this article, we’re revealing how you can increase direct hotel bookings with an attract, convert, and grow strategy.
Your website is the most powerful tool you have for attracting direct bookings, and you need to invest in it accordingly. If there’s nothing of value on your website, then there’s no reason for your potential guests to use or care about it.
Use your site as a lead magnet to pull in potential guests with a strategic marketing plan that incorporates digital tactics such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media, and email. Your audience is actively engaged in each of these channels, so bringing your message to them is the easiest way to introduce your brand.
Once you’ve captured the initial attention of your potential guests, leverage your website to convert that traffic into direct bookings. At a minimum, you should have a reservation request form on your home page. Increase your booking potential by offering forms on multiple pages that allow guests to instantly reserve rooms.
It’s one thing to offer online booking forms, but it’s another to persuade customers to fill them out. Incentivize direct bookings by offering discount codes, best-price guarantees, or small tokens of appreciation, such as free wifi or a glass of wine upon check-in.
Did you know that 65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers? As a hotelier, it’s vital to create memorable guest experiences to turn them into recurring customers and spread the word to their friends and family.
Personalized touches can make all the difference in whether a guest chooses to stay with you repeatedly or if they stay at a competitor’s property. Train your staff to greet your guests by name upon check-in and develop a rewards program that offers free stays after a certain number of visits.
An attract, convert, and grow strategy recognizes the value of all types of guests, even before they book a stay with you. With this type of strategic marketing plan, you’ll show your guests that you truly appreciate their business. As a result, they’ll be more likely to book directly with you, rather than through third-party booking sites.