Here are 5 ways to wrestle control away from the OTA’s and maximise revenue by driving more direct bookings.
1. Create Compelling Offers For A Targeted Audience
Thanks to the rate parity policy most of the major OTA’s have in place, it’s not possible to publicly sell your rooms on your website for less than they appear for on the OTA’s. It’s the reason booking with one of these travel aggregate sites will always be the first choice for many of your guests.
But don’t despair. Generally these policies do not apply to guests you already have in your contact database in some form. So, there’s nothing to stop you reaching out to your email subscribers, social media audience and loyalty program members with private, enticing offers which can only be taken advantage of directly through your hotel’s website.
2. Facilitate Mobile Bookings
This one should be a total no-brainer by now, but there are still hotels out there with booking engines which are not designed to perform optimally across devices. This is an even bigger oversight when you consider just how easy it is to get your site optimized for mobile now.
If your current website and booking engine doesn’t make it quick and painless for your guests to make a booking, it’s time to make the switch today to one that does. Every day you put it off, you lose business to the OTA’s.
3. Use Enticing Add-Ons To Create Irresistible Packages
Although you can’t undercut the OTA’s when it comes to price for the same room, adding extra services to enhance the value of your packages is a great way to tempt guests to book direct. This might include airport transfers, drink and food discounts, or a voucher to a local gym. The scope is as limited as your imagination!
4. Introduce A Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs give travellers an incentive to pick the same properties over and over again. If these travellers regularly receive exclusive content and offers from you, they’re more likely to book direct. Consider them “super guests”.
5. Create An Awesome User Experience
Your hotel’s website has one goal – to convert as many of its visitors into paying guests as possible.
If your website navigation isn’t smart, intuitive and easy to use across devices, your guests will seek out an easier solution elsewhere. Be sure to include a clear and colourful call to action on every page to drive guests to book. Your booking engine should merge seamlessly with your website design, while your photos should be high-resolution, bright and as large as possible to inspire guests in an instant and get them excited to book.
With the right attention to design, your website can and should act as your number one selling channel.
How is your hotel challenging the dominance of the OTA’s? Let us know in the comments below!