Bargain travelers love Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), but hoteliers and even seasoned travelers frequently don’t. They give travelers little control over their experience. Hotel executives hate the high commissions they must pay and their inability to market based on service and amenities rather than just on price. This change is particularly challenging for boutique hotels that attract customers with the exceptional guest experience they provide. What hotels gain in exposure, they often lose in differentiation.
Here are a few tips that can help you increase the number of direct bookings you make.
Be Easy to Find
Optimize your website for SEO, so you turn up in searches on Google and other search engines. That makes it easier for travelers to find you even if they are not searching by the name of your hotel. Build a strong social media presence by opening accounts on all the major platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even LinkedIn if you’d like to attract business travelers) and committing to updating them regularly and relevantly. Hire someone if it’s too much to manage on your own. Instagram is a great place to show off the features and benefits of your hotel, especially intangibles like an amazing view or a beautifully plated meal.
Make Booking Simple
Invest in a booking engine that is simple to use whether travelers are on a desktop computer or a mobile device. Try it yourself periodically so you know what your potential guests contend with when they attempt to book with you. Include plenty of calls to action on your site so it’s clear where people need to go to book a stay. Plenty of visitors to your site will want to just cut to the chase no matter how beautifully designed and engaging your site is, so make it simple for them.
Encourage Repeat Customers
If they’ve stayed with you once, they’ll stay with you again – provided you met or exceeded their expectations the first time around. Researching accommodations is hard! You have to wade through multiple sites, comparing locations, amenities, prices and hope the hotel matches its marketing. If they were satisfied, they would want to come back – as long as you keep them engaged. Accomplish this through email marketing, Returning Customer Incentives and referral programs.
Work with a Specialized Hotel Recruiter
The hotel manager recruiting experts at Horizon Hospitality can help you find managers and executives for hotels and restaurants who can keep guests happy and coming back. We can connect you with the hospitality professionals who can bring the most current trends to your hotel and attract new and loyal guests along the way. Contact us today to get started!