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How to increase direct bookings

No hotel manager wants to give away significant chunks of their income to booking channels and yet, in this day and age, online booking sites are so popular most people simply accept this as inevitable.

Even where hotels do attract traffic to their websites, 40% of bookings do not occur during the first visit.

However, there are ways to drive more direct bookings through your own website, ensuring that any money made stays with you.

Here are some basic tips:

Maximise guest engagement

Staying in touch with all your guests with targeted and tailored email marketing that incentivises them to book a return stay will push up direct bookings. A good PMS like Hotel Executive can automatically send out branded friendly emails or SMS messages before and after a guest’s visit to maximise upselling and reselling opportunities.

Make your booking system quick and easy to use

The more pages someone has to click through to book, the more likely you are to lose them before they confirm. Similarly, if people are presented with so many price, product and package options they’d need three hours to work out the best deal, they will be put off. More than half – 55% – of web page views get less than 15 seconds of attention, according to Chartbeat. So, do not overwhelm people with options – keep your pricing and booking system as simple as possible.

Ensure your website is mobile optimised

Online shopping on mobile devices overtook desktop traffic for the first time in the UK in September 2014. This trend looks set to continue with many people now considering their desktop as a secondary touch point. Hotels must ensure their websites are as easy to use and attractive via a mobile phone as they are via a desktop since this is where most of their bookings now come from.

Offer value added deals

Reward those who book direct with special deals, packages and add-ons that are only available via your website. Just be careful not to fall into the trap of offering too much choice. Advertise the perks of booking direct clearly on your website.