1. Ensure customers can book on your own website domain
If you link to a third party booking website address, you’ve potentially lost your customer. For example, if you are linking to a third party software provider like this, the customer has left your website at this stage. Bear in mind that at least 50% of your visitors will be interested in looking at your prices, and 95% of customers do not book on the booking engine. This means that when you link to a booking engine on a different domain, between 50% and 95% of visitors could leave your website and may not come back. When was the last time you visited an eCommerce website (e.g. Amazon) and were transferred to a different website to place your order?
Solution: Use a fully integrated booking engine (example here). Customers remain within the hotel direct website — with the same domain, and with consistent top and bottom navigation — before, during and after booking. This reassures customers, helping to capture their first booking. Their repeat usage encourages repeat bookings.
2. Collect and showcase good reviews to capture bookings
If you don’t have reviews on your website, and don’t have good reviews on TripAdvisor or Google, you could be losing 60% of customer enquiries.
Solution: We recommend using a reputation management software provider to showcase reviews (example here) and collect feedback from all customers. This service is provided free of charge by HotelMaximiser and also allows customers to post their good feedback to TripAdvisor. Other similar services include paid for services like TrustYou, used by large luxury hotels with the budget.
3. Maximise visibility of your hotel website to reach new customers
Do you appear at the top of Google for a text search? Google ads can be expensive but provide loyalty and conversion. Otherwise OTAs that appear at the top of Google for your hotel name will capture potential customers and offer them over 7,000 alternative hotel offers.
Solution: Some providers, like HotelMaximiser, offer this visibility to 100% of your potential customers across all major text search engines and meta search engines, and only charge if one of the 5% of customers that book make a credit card guaranteed reservation. As such, your direct website remains in full visibility to all potential guests before and after any bookings (example here).
4. Optimise your price offering versus OTAs to capture bookings
Are your direct prices competitive with OTA prices? If not, customers will book with an OTA at full commission, and will probably re-book with the OTA for their next stay too. Choose your OTA distribution partners carefully, as many will use every percentage of your commission to undercut your direct prices, even at the time of check in for customers that are in front of reception!
Solution: HotelMaximiser provides free revenue management services to help you optimise your prices to drive direct bookings. This will provide a lower customer acquisition cost overall, when part of the marketing mix. Promotions are targeted to the specific demand you are trying to capture e.g. 3-night stays including Sunday nights at 30 days ahead, winter stays, etc. Promotions can be enabled or disabled instantly at the touch of a button.
5. Develop a customer retention strategy to boost profits by 25-95%
A 5% increase in customer retention results in a 25-95% increase in profits, according to Bain. Do customers have a reason to revisit your website? Do you offer promotional codes, offers that change over time, and provide a login for them to view or modify their booking directly from your website? If you want customers to come back to your website and book directly again, you need to keep them on your website when they visit, and give them a reason to re-visit.
Solution: HotelMaximiser offers customer retention services and campaigns free of charge from your website. Contact us to find out more
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Case studies include generating over £500K of direct bookings revenue p.a. for individual hotels, and driving as much as 28% of all bookings through their direct channel. Clients switching to HotelMaximiser receive an increase in direct booking revenue of between 22% and 146%.