Online Travel Agents have become the first port of call for guests searching for a great deal on their next night away. Sites like Expedia and booking.com allow consumers to compare and book the best deals on hotel rooms within a few clicks, which means for most travellers, loyalties to particular properties now come second to price.
The task of driving more direct bookings in the face of the convenience and prices offered by OTAs is a struggle that all hotels face, but it’s a battle worth fighting. As well as increasing your profit margins by 15-20%, here’s a closer look at some of the reasons you should make driving more direct bookings a priority.
Collect Data To Grow and Improve
When guests book direct, you can monitor their reservation patterns and follow up on their stays in the form of guest surveys and questionnaires sent via email. This valuable feedback gives you the opportunity to adjust and improve your off and online strategies for increased customer satisfaction.
Improve Your Relationship with Your Guests with Personalised Messaging
Think of all the opportunities you have to collect information from your guests across multiple channels before, during and after their stays. This information you have stored in your database can be used to offer a level of personalised customer service that the OTAs cannot hope to replicate. For all their huge marketing budgets, sites like Expedia just do not have the opportunity to get to know your guests as well as you do, leaving you with the distinct upper hand when it comes to managing your guest relationships.
Through database segmentation, you can create highly personalised email content that directly addresses the needs of specific guest groups and schedule it to be sent at specific points during the booking cycle. For example, an email sent a week before arrival can be used to up-sell or promote any deals you may offer in partnership with local spas, gyms or restaurants; a message sent shortly after checkout can thank guests and gather feedback; while a targeted offer sent to couples a few weeks before February 14 can promote your Valentine’s Day package. Using the information in your database you can get ultra specific with which offers you send to which guests and when, altering content depending on geographical location, marital status, age, whether they’ve booked before and a host of other criteria.
What is your hotel doing to drive direct bookings? Let us know in the comments below!
The eTourism Boost Direct strategy guarantees to increase reservations made through your property’s website within one year, or we will offer the second year free.