How To Encourage More Millennial Travellers To Book Direct

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Posted on Mar 15th 2018

At a time when older generations are tightening their purse strings, adventure-hungry millennials are spending more on travel than ever.

Unsurprisingly, it’s OTAs that are seeing most of this increased spending, with data revealing that more than 50% of travellers aged 18- 35 book their trips through sites like Expedia and Travelocity.

Although it’s frustrating to lose out on all this direct business, it’s important to remember that millennials have no real sense of loyalty to the online travel agents. What they do favour is convenience.

So, how can you tailor your property’s website to capture more direct bookings from this lucrative market segment? Here are 5 strategies you can start working on today.

Create A Seamless Mobile Experience

It’s no shocker: millennials do the majority of their travel research on their smartphones. 64% of them are happy to book on one too, according to a Google travel study.

Obviously, having a mobile presence is essential no matter which generation you’re trying to target, but if your mobile strategy isn’t up to scratch you’re really going to lose out on direct bookings from younger travellers.

As a basic guide, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How easy is your website to navigate on mobile?
  • Do the pages load quickly?
  • Is it easy to find important information?
  • Are the room photos and information optimised for a small screen?

Foster A Strong Social Presence

Just as with other groups, reading the opinions of other travellers is a fundamental part of the holiday planning process for millennials. However, where this group differs is in their strong preference for feedback and comments from their peers and wider networks via social media.

There’s no escaping the fact that millennials are social creatures, so ensuring your hotel’s social strategy is on point is crucial.

Facebook is particularly influential among this generation of travellers so be sure to take advantage of the platform’s full range of features to engage your audience and drive them to your website, paying particular attention to video content, real time communication via Facebook Messenger for Business and high quality visuals.

Make Price Comparison Quick And Easy

Millennials are super savvy when it comes to finding the best deals on the web, with nearly 90% searching around for the lowest room prices before committing to a booking. With this in mind, your website needs to be designed with room features and prices displayed prominently to aid quick and easy price comparison at a glance.

Don’t forget to take into consideration where the bulk of your guests are coming from. If your hotel’s website only displays prices in AUD when a significant portion of travel researchers are looking in GBP, you could easily derail a direct booking at the final hurdle.

User Experience Is Everything

Everyone finds a poor user experience frustrating, but millennials are particularly intolerant when it comes to clunky navigation, slow page load speeds and other usability issues.

To smooth out niggles like these; you can use a site such as UserTesting to see how well your website performs for a specific demographic.

Drive Guest-Generated Content At Every Opportunity

Since millennials are highly influenced by the opinions of friends and family, it makes sense to encourage as much user generated content for your hotel’s social profiles as possible. Whether it’s by including a gallery on your website that guests can add to, by displaying your best reviews prominently or by running contests on social media which link back to your website, the more you can get your audience to do some of your marketing legwork for you, the more authentic and appealing your brand will appear in the eyes of millennial travellers.

Millennials are an audience segment that is ready and willing to spend more on travel. What is your hotel doing to engage this valuable demographic? Let us know in the comments below!


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