Online travel agencies can be of great help when you want to sell as many rooms as possible but they require you to pay fees undermining your total revenue. It would be best if you can have all your rooms booked via your website but this is hardly achievable. Still, there are many other ways to increase your direct bookings. Here are five of them:
Create an engaging website
Nowadays running a business is simply impossible without a website where potential customers can get more information. You don’t need just any website, however. It has to boast a great design, lots of visual content, interesting information about your property and the local landmarks. Your website should engage your customers and allow them to feel what it is to be at your hotel. A mobile version of your website will help even more, since more and more people access the Internet through their mobile devices.
Use a simple and convenient booking engine
Linked to a powerful all-round PMS platform , a booking engine on your website is a real game-changer. Seeing tempting holiday packages, customers can reserve a room straight from your web page. A step further - you can offer a mobile version of the booking engine, too. It goes without saying - it should be easily accessible from anywhere and work seamlessly to let people book even on the go.
Discounts and special rates do wonders
Another good strategy is to give discounts or special rates to a select group of customers. The best part is that you can use this approach even if you have a rate parity agreement with an OTA. The charm of these discounts is hidden in the rates they come with. Or you can offer packages with a better overall value. If discounts are not enough, gift cards or tickets for a local event are yet another way to get more visitors and direct bookings as well.
Create a loyalty program
You should also have and actively use a loyalty program to form a stream of people coming to your property again and again. One way is through discounts and promotions for the ones having joined your loyalty program. Another is to try to attract people face-to-face via your reception desk - you can show them the advantages of using your website instead of an OTA to book a room. To sweeten the pot even more, you can give them a bonus discount for their next stay if they book through your website.
Take part in online discussions and encourage reviews
It is a good idea to listen to what your guests have to say and make changes if needed. Participating in online discussions you also get the chance to promote your property, build trust in your future guests and most importantly - actively stimulate people to use your webpage to book.
It is not that difficult to increase the number of your direct bookings. Simply apply these five easy steps and you will see an incredible positive change in the numbers going hand in hand with a considerable reduction in what you pay to OTAs. Also, you will get greater control of your revenue, guest base and future, which is always a positive thing.
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About Clock Software
Clock Software is a global provider of cloud-based property management systems (PMS), integrated online distribution, online & kiosk hotel self check-in solutions and mobile & in-room guest engagement systems with customers in more than 65 countries.