In this guide you’re going to get 15 simple ways to increase direct bookings on your website.
Make up the numbers during quiet seasons or maximise profits during busy periods using these easy tips…
You may have come across the term ‘CTA’ before and just brushed it off as technical jargon.
But, call to actions are a lot simpler than you might think.
And, they’re crucial for gaining more online bookings.
Basically, a call to action is an instruction you’re giving the user. It’s you telling them to do something. Here are some examples:
There’s hundreds ofstatisticsto prove that call to actions increase sales and conversions, so you need to make sure you have them on your website.
Place buttons such as ‘Book Now’ and ‘View our Deals’ on each page to direct users to your booking platform.
(Bonus tip – CTAs that look like buttons can increase clicks by 45%).
Quiet periods are tough for most in the hotel industry, with some smaller businesses struggling to make ends meet.
To increase online bookings during your quiet spells, offer users incentives to book directly with you. Here’s some free features you could offer:
With57%of leisure and business travellers starting their travel plans with a Google search, ads are the perfect way to capture users at the beginning of their journey.
Choose the search terms you want to target, customise your campaign and only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
For a more detailed introduction to this kind of advertising, take a look at this guide toGoogle Ads for Hotels.
4. Make the most of social media
With40%of millennial travellers (aged 18-33) now stating that their choice of travel destination depends on how ‘Instagrammable’ it is, making your hotel appealing on social media is crucial.
79% of the UK use Facebook, 47% use Twitter and 41% use Instagram, so it’s an easy way to target a large portion of your target market.
Marriott International are a great example of how to promote your hotel on social media.
They post beautiful photos of their various locations, showcase their delicious menu options at the restaurants and put their staff in the spotlight by sharing heart-warming stories.
Build brand awareness and use the link features on social platforms to direct users to your website to increase bookings.
5. Optimise with SEO
What is SEO?
Search engine optimisation.
The process of optimising your website to appear higher in search engine rankings. For example, if someone searches ‘Hotel London’, you would use specific keywords around this search term to appear higher up.
You can use tools like SEM Rush to find out what keywords people are searching for around the keyword you’re trying to target, here’s a snippet:
The higher up you are in search results, the more clicks you get. The more clicks, the more direct bookings.
6. Create an excellent user journey
To create a good user journey for your website, your first need to ask yourself:
What’s the purpose of my website? What action do I want users to perform?
Since you’re reading this post about how to increase bookings, I’m guessing your websites purpose is to create online bookings.
Each page should lead the user through the sales funnel. When they’ve reached the end of a page, say your ‘about us’ page, place a call to action that tells them to take a look at the facilities you offer.
Once they’ve read the facilities page, place a call to action that tells them to book their stay today.
Encouraging users through the sales funnel is a simple way to increase online bookings.
7. Represent your brand
Does your website represent your brand well?
Is it a true representation of your brand?
Everything that makes up your website, including colours, images, style, font and wording, should be clear and consistent.
It should be instantly recognisable as your brand. This consistency creates trust and maintains loyalty which means users are much more likely to book direct through your website.
8. Create exclusive packages
A sure way to increase your direct bookings fast is to create exclusive packages that users can’t find anywhere else.
Here are some ideas for packages you could offer users at an exclusive rate when booked directly through your website:
- Seasonal packages e.g. family Christmas package with a visit to Santa’s Grotto
- Romantic weekend for two including a meal in the restaurant
- Hiking enthusiast package that includes a guided tour around the local countryside
- Relaxation package with access to the on-site spa
9. Encourage guests to book again
Take advantage of the face to face interaction when guests are checking out of your hotel.
If they booked through an online travel agency, give them a 10% off voucher for direct bookings when planning their next visit.
You could also explain that booking direct ensures they get the very best deals.
10. Collect reviews
Not only do reviews create trust and transparency with users, but they also help you rank higher in Google’s search results.
With88%of travellers filtering out hotels with an average star rating below three, you can’t afford to miss out on raking in the five star reviews.
Read this guide onhow to improve guest experience in your hotelto find simple tips for collecting highly rated reviews and recommendations.
11. Install an instant chat
There are so many questions that may arise when trying to book a hotel online.
“Is there parking nearby?”
“Are you dog friendly?”
“What time do you serve breakfast?”
If you haven’t covered everything on your website, users may have to get in touch to find out this vital information before booking.
The traditional customer service routes are phone and email. They work just fine, but customers might be left on hold for too long or may not have time to speak on the phone. When it comes to email, it can take hours or days for companies to respond to enquiries.
Instant chat is live and gets questions answered immediately, which allows users to make their booking there and then.
12. Use a visual tour
Let users get a real life tour of your hotel without even needing to step foot into the door.
If they are unsure about the facilities or room set up, virtual tours are the perfect way to showcase your brilliant hotel and encourage them to book online.
It’s another way to create trust and transparency with users, which is essential for increasing direct bookings online.
For some inspiration, take a look at these amazingvirtual hotel tours.
13. Showcase reviews
You’ve worked hard to gain an impressive collection of highly rated reviews and recommendations, don’t forget to show them off!
They might sit on Google and Facebook which is great, but display them on your website to get extra visibility.
If you’re selling one of your services or packages on your website, include a review that speaks highly of this specific feature.
Users are much more likely to trust what other people say about your hotel which will encourage them to book directly with you.
14. Use email marketing
Email marketing is a powerful tool which you can certainly use to your advantage.
It’s a cost-effective, fast and profitable way of driving more traffic to your website. It allows you to consistently communicate with a large database of people who are interested in your services.
This allows you to advertise deals, events, new features and other special occasions which will help increase direct bookings through your website.
15. Ensure your website is mobile friendly
With52.2%of all traffic coming from mobile, you need to make sure your website is mobile friendly.
The best way to make sure it is?
Test it yourself using your phone.
As the screen is so much smaller, you may need to adjust layouts, buttons, menus, text and images.
A button that works fine on desktop might be far too small and unreadable on mobile.
A menu that is user friendly for a laptop might be too big too fit on a mobile screen which doesn’t allow users to navigate through the site.
Making your website user friendly is a crucial step to increase your direct bookings.
How do you encourage direct bookings for hotels? ›
- Combat customer friction. ...
- A responsive hotel direct booking website. ...
- Driving traffic to your hotel website. ...
- Build your customer database. ...
- Enhance your direct offering. ...
- Focus on customer loyalty. ...
- Encourage guest reviews. ...
- Sweeten the deal with extras.
Be flexible with cancellation
For instance, one third of all cancellations occur within 24 hours of the initial booking. Allowing these kind of cancellations without any fuss will provide a good guest experience. So, customers will be more likely to book your property the next time they're looking to stay in your area.
- Impress Visitors before their arrival.
- Train your staff to deliver world-class service.
- Maintain Excellent Room Services.
- Offer better rates with recreational facilities.
- Establish an online presence.
- Take advantage of peak booking seasons.
For example, your property could offer add-ons (such as complimentary breakfast, free parking, complimentary shuttle service, or free nights, etc.) as direct booking incentives. You could also leverage all-inclusive packages where you partner with a car/bike/ski rental service, restaurant or airline.How do I drive more direct bookings? ›
- Make the most of metasearch engines. According to Trivago, ...
- Manage your online reviews. ...
- Let guests book directly from social media. ...
- Implement targeted marketing. ...
- Run ads to make visitors book directly. ...
- Run loyalty programs.
- Find Where Your Visitors Drop Off.
- Interpret Website Visitors' Behaviour Correctly.
- Optimise Your Direct Booking Website.
- Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly.
- Try Different Call to Actions.
- Add Live Chat and Messenger Tools to Your Site.
- Provide Social Proof.
- Keep your calendar up to date. ...
- Use a calendar app or software. ...
- Schedule regular appointment times. ...
- Automate reminders. ...
- Use online booking tools. ...
- Communicate with others involved. ...
- Keep your contact information updated. ...
- Utilize email scheduling tools.
- Direct (0% incremental cost)
- Indirect (commission cost)
A hotel website, ads, brochures, emails, and social media are just some of the ways hoteliers try to bring guests to their property. On average, the cost of acquisition for hotel bookings can be as high as 25% of your total booking cost.What do hotel guests value most? ›
The three most important expectations of guests in a hotel are convenience, autonomy, and personalization. People now expect contactless check-in, mobile access, and in-app communication so they can avoid queueing at the front desk.
How do hotels increase room sales? ›
Six essential hotel sales strategies are: group bookings, direct bookings, destination marketing, cross promotional sales, guest rewards strategies, revenue management strategies. Other room selling techniques might include upselling, cross-selling, packages, promotions, re-marketing, and local partnerships.What are the most common forms of incentives? ›
- Tax Incentives. Tax incentives—also called “tax benefits”—are reductions in tax that the government makes in order to encourage spending on certain items or activities. ...
- Financial Incentives. ...
- Subsidies. ...
- Tax rebates. ...
- Negative incentives.
By offering direct booking, customers can make their room reservations by sending an email, calling the hotel, visiting and booking room services on your website, and social media channels.Do hotels prefer direct booking? ›
Reality is, hotels tend to offer the best rate when guests book directly with them. At the same time, hotels are very clear about their prices in order to avoid any misunderstandings that might affect the guests' experience. Because of this, when you book directly with a hotel, prices are final and free of hidden fees.How do I get more bookings on social media? ›
- Leverage Facebook.
- Encourage Reviews and Testimonials.
- Run Social Media Ads.
- Provide Top-Notch Customer Service.
- Make Use of Videos.
- Offer Coupons, Discounts, And Deals.
- Cross-Promote With Partners.
- Promote your Booking Link across Social Channels.
The share of OTAs in 2021 was 30.6%, and direct bookings increased to 55.2%. Such an increase looks like fertile ground for new opportunities. However, many hotels seem hesitant when it comes to investing more in direct bookings as the main distribution channel. In fact, it does not require large sums.What is the average conversion rate for hotels? ›
The average conversion rate for all eCommerce businesses across all industries was around 1.6% as of August 2022. Let's see how the travel industry stands up against these conversion rate benchmarks: Airlines: 5%-10% Hotels: 1.5%-2.5%What is the best conversion cost? ›
A good conversion rate is between 2 percent and 5 percent. The thing with conversion rate is that even a jump of 0.5 percent can be a big deal.What is a good cost conversion? ›
Conventional wisdom says that a good conversion rate is somewhere around 2% to 5%. If you're sitting at 2%, an improvement to 4% seems like a massive jump. You doubled your conversion rate! Well, congratulations, but you're still stuck in the average performance bucket.How do hotels manage their Bookings? ›
A hotel reservation system is software used in the hotel industry to manage room inventory, rates, and bookings. Also called a central reservations system (CRS), it may be housed within the hotel's property management system (PMS) or may be standalone software connected to the PMS.
How do booking platforms work? ›
An online booking system is a cloud-based software that allows your clients to book appointments on your website or through a booking link. Your staff can also schedule meetings for less tech-savvy patients.How do I get a link from Bookings? ›
- Microsoft Bookings.
- Embedding Your Bookings Link into Email Signature. ...
- Go to bookings.office.com. ...
- From the Signatures menu, select the signature you would like to add the link to. ...
- Then click the link button on the right side of the window.
Booking funnel conversion is a route that takes browsers from discovering your services to scheduling an appointment. Funnel conversion is the process of bringing your potential customers step-by-step closer to your products or services.What are booking methods? ›
There are two core types of bookings: 1) Direct Bookings and 2) Indirect Bookings.What is a booking matrix? ›
Matrix Booking is the leading workplace management system for booking rooms, desks, and other resources.How do you encourage guests to return? ›
Small gestures like preparing a welcome basket with a personal note, making travel or dining recommendations and checking in occasionally to ensure everything is agreeable can be all it takes for your guests to feel they've found a friend in you and can trust you to accommodate them on future trips.How do hotels turn their guests into repeat customers? ›
Special offers and package deals can drive repeat hotel bookings. Offering exclusive packages and deals to your repeat guests is a surefire way to increase guest loyalty. In the hospitality industry, this is among the best strategies for customer retention.What is the biggest expense in a hotel? ›
Because the hospitality industry is service-focused, employee wages often make up a large chunk of fixed costs. From the concierge to cooks to the housekeeping, there are many staff members on the payroll at all times. This is why labor costs are typically the largest part of average hotel operating expenses.What is the number 1 rule of hospitality? ›
The Golden Rule of hospitality: Do unto others as you believe they would want done unto them.What is the most profitable part of a hotel? ›
- Hotel Directories. Hotel directories are easily one of the top most valuable hotel amenities a hotel can provide for guests. ...
- Guest Room Accessories. ...
- Conference Room Products. ...
- Banquet Supplies. ...
- Pool Menus.
What affects demand in hotel rooms? ›
Several factors can influence demand for hotel rooms, including the time of year, local events and attractions, and overall economic conditions. Hotel revenue managers may use various tools and techniques to make accurate forecasts, such as historical data, market research, and industry benchmarks.What is a perfect sell in hotels? ›
A perfect sellout is where every room is sold and occupied. This excludes those always hard to collect no-shows from the picture. Follow along as I take you through the anatomy of a perfect sellout. 1. The first team member with the ball will also be the last, the night auditor.Do hotel owners make a lot of money? ›
Owning a hotel can be profitable if you have the right combination of location, price point, quality of the physical asset, marketing strategy, dedicated employees, and supportive investors and management partners. However, a hotel isn't profitable by default, so you can expect a lot of hard work to generate profit.What are 3 positive incentives? ›
Money, hugs, stickers, and field trips are positive incentives.What are 2 examples of positive incentives? ›
Positive incentives can include praise, bonuses, career advancements, earning extra vacation days, gift certificates and other monetary rewards.What are incentives 3 types? ›
- Financial incentives:
- Non-financial incentives:
- Monetary and non-monetary incentives:
For example-promotion, praise, recognition, perks and allowances, etc. It is positive by nature.
There are two types of incentives: financial and non-financial incentives. Financial (monetary) incentives are payments or rewards that are given in exchange for achieving certain goals or targets. Non-financial incentives are non-monetary rewards, such as awards, privileges, or recognition.What are some examples of incentive programs? ›
- Awards/rewards-based incentive programs. ...
- Remote/hybrid workplace-friendly programs. ...
- Referral bonuses. ...
- Profit sharing. ...
- Travel incentives. ...
- Fringe benefits. ...
- Suggestion incentive. ...
- Tuition assistance.
Direct booking is a crucial component of the distribution mix for hoteliers because it helps them to increase revenue, improve guest experience, and reduce dependency on online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Expedia and Booking.com.
Why do hotels direct booking? ›
It's Cheaper to Book Direct
When you book directly with the hotel, there are no hidden fees. Using third-party booking services has additional fees that you may on top of the rate. Online travel agents also charge a commission, which could be up to 20% of the booking, from the hotel.
The billboard effect is a phenomenon that occurs when hotels see additional direct bookings on their own website after listing on an online travel agency (OTA). This is because potential customers first discover the listing on an OTA, and then visit the property's own website to directly book their trip.Why do hotels want direct bookings? ›
Direct bookings are beneficial because they connect lodging businesses directly with potential customers and increase hotel revenue through money saved from OTA commissions. With direct bookings, lodging operators own their guest data and can pick and choose what information they collect during the booking process.Why do hotels prefer guests book direct? ›
Reality is, hotels tend to offer the best rate when guests book directly with them. At the same time, hotels are very clear about their prices in order to avoid any misunderstandings that might affect the guests' experience. Because of this, when you book directly with a hotel, prices are final and free of hidden fees.Do hotels prefer you to book direct? ›
Hotels tend to offer the best rates when you book directly with them and it's a great incentive. It benefits both you and the hotel when you make a reservation directly.Why do hotels sometimes deny bookings from customers? ›
Guests may end up staying more nights than they originally planned. Scheduling mishaps. Major events in the area (like the Superbowl or a convention) An unexpected maintenance issue taking rooms out of service.Which is the very popular method of booking hotel rooms? ›
1. Written Mode: Letter - This mode is commonly used by travel agents, tour operators, companies and corporate houses who send in their reservation request to the hotel on their company letterheads. The hotel will make the reservation as per the details are given in the letter.What is the most common method of direct reservation communication? ›
Telephone – the most common method of direct reservation communications, a prospective guest may telephone the hotel directly. The reservationist takes the information sequentially as per the script.How to negotiate hotel bookings? ›
- Start Your Search Early. The earlier you start looking and booking, the more options you'll have. ...
- Plan for the Right Number of Rooms. ...
- Do Your Homework on Rates. ...
- Ask if On-site Events Can Lower Your Rate. ...
- Go Over the Contract with a Fine-toothed Comb.
When you book your hotel room directly, you can make your particular requirements known to the hotel. If you're celebrating a birthday or an anniversary during your visit, you can mention it at the time of booking and the hotel can do something to make your visit extra special for the occasion.
What is most important to hotel guests? ›
The most important expectation has and always will be cleanliness. Lack of cleanliness is among the top complaints about hotel stays. Good cleanliness often goes unnoticed, but poor hotel hygiene will always be something guests remember about their hotel stay.
Yes, last-minute bookings are (usually) better. A 2022 NerdWallet study analyzed more than 2,500 hotel room rates from 2019 through the first half of 2021 and found an average of 13 percent savings for those who booked 15 days in advance as compared to those who booked four months in advance.What are the cons of direct hotel booking? ›
You might miss out on loyalty points or deals if you don't stay consistently with certain hotel chains or book directly through them. Direct bookings are prioritized at check-in, so there's a small chance you could get bumped to another room or there can be an error with the reservation.Do hotels get cheaper the closer you get? ›
Waiting until the very last minute to book can really pay off. While airfares tend to rise as your travel date approaches, it's the opposite with hotel prices. Since hotels are always aiming to maximize their occupancy rate, many will decrease their rates if they aren't meeting their expected targets.Is it cheaper to call hotel directly to book? ›
Once you find the lowest available price at the hotel you want to visit, call the hotel's reservation desk. Many hotels will meet or beat the best internet rate when you book with them. They'd much rather skip the commission to the travel site and book your stay directly.