It may seem that the OTAs you work with are almighty - they service thousands of people every day, bring you a significant number of bookings and popularize your property across the world. Yet, they take a large portion of your revenue. This is the reason why you should not completely rely on them. Instead you should focus on the most important channel you have - your own website. The most important reason for this is that bookings made via your website are commission-free. The end result is more money for you. Moreover, direct bookings encourage guest loyalty. The problem is that they will not come to you with no effort. Instead you should adopt measures that will increase the number of direct bookings you get.
Use SEO and personalization techniques
You may start by using SEO practices. They will allow you to increase your visibility across your target audience, get more website hits and be better indexed by search engines such as Google. The next step would be to offer personalization. There are all kinds of people looking at your hotel online - families, elderly people, couples, business travellers, even individual tourists. What good is a website, which is running a discount for families when you are travelling alone? To solve this issue, use personalization, which requires a dynamic website. It recognizes what kind of visitor you have and then offers exactly the service they need along with a special deal or bonus. All this will make a direct booking a very possible outcome. A good idea would be to include a visible “Book Now” button on every web page. The reason for this is that customers want to be able to book a room quickly and easily. In addition to this you can simplify the booking forms by including the most necessary fields only. This will further streamline the entire process and will save your visitors’ time.
Offer a mobile website version
The next thing you can do is offer a responsive mobile website, which automatically adjusts to various screen sizes and resolutions. The usage of mobile devices such as smartphones is on the rise so an appropriate answer to this phenomenon is needed. Moreover, search engines such as Google give better rankings to websites, which are mobile friendly.
Speak your guest’s language
Another great idea is to add support for multiple languages. Yes, English is the preferred language of choice but many customers would like to read a webpage in their native language. This is especially true for European visitors. Apart from English, you can add support for some of the most popular languages out there:
Thus you can be sure that you cover a wider range of visitors. Furthermore, you will make it easier for people whose native language is not English to secure a room at your property. To add new languages, it is necessary to use professional translators to achieve better results.
We have just listed a few ways to improve your website in order to get more direct bookings. There are hundreds of methods you can use but including all of them is an impossible task. So the best way to do this is to focus on the ways we suggested. They will not only make it possible to get more direct bookings but also give you more control over your brand and image. As a result you will enjoy more recognition among travellers - something that OTAs can only take away from you.
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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.