Direct Bookings are the most profitable kind of booking so it’s helpful to know how you can rely more on your own website and less on third parties. How do you manage your bookings? We’ve found that the most common ways of taking bookings are through your own website or a third party. Every booking you receive increases your occupancy and revenue which is great, however, you have to pay a commission for any bookings made through a third party which decreases your maximum earning potential. Advertising your property with Online Travel Agents (OTAs), is great for boosting your brand awareness and increasing bookings you would not otherwise receive, but the best thing for your business is to increase your direct bookings. Here are our top tips to help you increase your direct bookings and revenue.
Dedicated booking engine on your website
Make sure you can take bookings on your website. Various companies, such as NewBook, can place their booking engine into your website so guests can see all the information they need and make a booking without leaving your website. Clearly displaying details about your property, accommodation and pricing will make it easier for your guests to make a booking. Having consistent branding will help your guests remember who you are so it’s best to find a booking engine that lets you customise your booking pages.
Ensure your website works well on mobile devices
With more and more travellers booking their holidays on a mobile device, it’s really important that your website is responsive. A responsive website will resize depending on the device being used, such as a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. How many websites have you visited on your mobile where you can’t see the information you’re looking for? Do you push through the frustration or do you leave the website? Most people will leave the website and search for information somewhere else. You need to make it as easy as possible for your guests to make a booking with you so you don’t miss out on potential revenue. Large buttons are a great example of a mobile friendly website – a smaller device needs a different layout to a desktop website.
Offer incentives to book through your website
While some agreements with OTAs mean you must offer your lowest rates on their website, there are ways you can add value to entice guests to book directly with you. You can offer add-ons such as complimentary room upgrades, late check-outs, amenities or activity vouchers. Keep an eye on what your guests are most interested in to see if there are seasonal patterns or events where you can create special packages. Advertising a best rate guarantee will give your guests confidence that they’re getting the best possible value and will always visit your website to see rates and specials.
Create a database for past guests
Make the most of free marketing opportunities! You know your guests are interested in your property as they’ve already stayed with you. Find a suitable customer relationship management solution, such as NewBook’s CRM, so you can save up-to-date information about your guests and send them relevant content and special offers. NewBook’s marketing campaign tool lets you design and send beautiful emails to your guests, which is great for sending promotional codes and packages during quiet times and special occasions. The more information you know about your guests the better, as you’ll be able to customise the content you send them.
Targeted Online Advertising
You could use some of the money you’re saving on commission to advertise your property on Google. Using the keyword planner will help you understand what your potential guests are searching for when looking for their next holiday. Creating relevant ads using those keywords will give you a better chance of appearing in the first couple of pages in Google’s search results. The cost per lead will be cheaper than your third party commission so it’s definitely worth looking in to! Work smarter by making your booking channels work for you. OTAs are important for your business as they provide alternative channels for potential guests to find you. They also make your business more trustworthy as information and reviews are readily available and come from a third-party source. Follow any of these suggestions and you’re sure to be on your way to increasing your direct bookings and your profit margins!