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How to increase direct booking conversions and reduce OTA fees (with Clock)

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In an ideal world, hotels would thrive on direct bookings alone. You own the communication and pay zero commissions. The reality is that OTAs are a crucial part of the booking distribution mix – but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve direct bookings.

Increasing direct booking conversions and reducing OTA fees needs the proper booking engine and strategies. In this article, you’ll learn three strategies your hotel can use to boost your most important channel with Clock’s integrated booking engine.


The challenge of increasing direct bookings

Hotels rely on OTAs for a large percentage of their bookings. However, large commissions exceeding 20% with virtual cards and limited direct communication opportunities make increasing direct bookings a great priority.

However, the direct booking experience is often poor. Statista reports a 70% global digital shopping cart abandonment rate.

While this report is for e-commerce, this abandonment trend proves there's an inclination to cancel purchases online — and hotels are not immune.

Too many confusing steps to finalise the booking or poor design can make bookers go elsewhere.

Use the strategies below with Clock's booking engine for effective ways to increase direct booking conversions, reduce your OTA fees and improve guest communication.

Strategy #1. Use direct booking links

Booking the room you want should be easy. And the more steps you have, the higher the risk of a potential guest abandoning their booking. If a hotel has a promotion with a bonus code, the field for entering it might be missing when it’s time to check out.

Use the link builder to make booking simple. Create your unique booking link with the specific rooms, rates, and pre-selected days. You can even add the bonus code. All that’s left for the guest to do is click the link, add any of your upsell offers, and pay.


Every room features your room descriptions and a beautiful image gallery to inform your new guests of the information they need to convert.

There are even more ways to use the link builder. If you feature your different types of rooms on your website, you can create a unique link for each and feature them on your website.

Removing other options and complex steps is crucial for increasing booking conversion rates. Let’s say you showcase your deluxe room. Add your booking link to your deluxe room page's “Book now” buttons.

The guest scrolls your website, sees the room they want, and can book it in one simple step. And if they want to explore other rooms within the booking engine, they can edit the filters.

You can also use the link builder for holiday offers. For example, you can promote your special Valentine’s Day or Christmas offers by creating the link and adding it to your website buttons.


You can bypass the booking process's first step on special holidays – by pre-defining the right days. Create your link for the holiday times, and the guest can book with a click with your special holiday rates applied automatically.

Strategy #2: Have a website booking form

Have you ever booked a flight online? The second strategy to simplify the booking experience to motivate more conversions is like booking a flight.

On the home page, feature a slide-in or static form where new guests can enter their dates, including the number of adults and children, to search and book your best available rooms.

Like booking a flight, adding booking information from the home page takes them to the available options with the best-calculated rates.

That means they can start their booking conversion right as they land on your website.


Customise the form with up to eight fields, including arrival and departure date.

The guest can add a bonus code, the number of guests, and the information you need to present them with the best stay options.

Strategy #3: Showcase images and information

Beautiful imagery and design are a no-brainer for high direct booking conversions.

Presenting your rooms in the best possible light motivates your potential guests to take action.

With an image gallery and room descriptions within the booking engine, you can motivate new guests throughout the booking process.


Choose your best room images and add them to each room. When guests book, they’ll see your images across their booking experience.

Present your best images first. First impressions matter; you want to ensure they see something they can’t say no to for the best conversions.

Why Clock increases direct booking conversions

You need a booking engine with the latest features designed for a delightful booking experience to maximise your booking conversions.

Reason #1: Simplicity and flexibility

Clock’s booking engine is extremely mobile-friendly.

Since many of our bookings happen from smartphones, enabling a fast and simple mobile booking experience is crucial.

With a login option, guests can use their Google account or email to get their information pre-filled, saving time and further simplifying the booking process.

If something in their information changes, they edit it quickly and pay with their preferred payment method.

Let's say a couple stays for four nights, and the wife wants a spa procedure on their last day. Clock’s booking engine lets them easily choose and book the spa treatment right in the booking engine. They can also add any extra services later in their guest portal.

Reason #2: Branding customisation

You can configure and design the booking engine to fit your branding style and needs. And the guest can fully control which extra services they want, for how many people, and for how many days.

For example, if guests book a three-night stay, they can choose to get a bottle of champagne delivered to their room on their first night only.

Reason #3: Non-accommodation bookings

Clock and its booking engine also work with inventory items, like mountain bikes or surfboards, with limited availability.

The capacity counter manages the inventory, and if the product or service is available, Clock automatically upsells them on your chosen room rates. Unavailable products or services will automatically disappear from the booking engine.

The non-accommodation booking capabilities in Clock make it easy to track inventory and upsell all your capacity-based products or services together with your room bookings.

Reason #4: Wide range of payment options

Clock also lets you offer various payment methods for collecting payments. For example, let guests pay by card or via bank transfer.

Or use alternative payment methods like Google Pay, Apple Pay, or country-specific options like the Swedish Swish.

The booking engine automatically offers country-specific payment options based on the booker's IP address. For example, if it’s a Belgium IP address, it would show popular Belgian payment methods.


Increasing direct booking conversions is a worthy goal. By increasing your direct bookings, you improve the channel where you keep all the profits.

Getting more website bookings also lets you own the communication so you can delight guests without dummy emails or no-response confirmations.

You now have three effective strategies for ensuring more of your best guests complete more direct bookings from your website.

From significantly simplifying the booking process with the link builder to adding a high-conversion home page booking and displaying your rooms with beautiful imagery, Clock’s booking engine is built for booking completion.

For an easy way to increase your direct booking conversions using a booking engine with instant and seamless integration with your PMS, look no further than Clock.

Pelle Sundin

Senior Content Writer

Pelle's mission is to make hotel technology insights practical and easy to understand. In his free time, he travels the world to hunt for waves, drinks coffee and makes music.

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