There is escalating competition in every business. This makes it pertinent for business owners to keep pace with the current market trends. Running hotels requires great management as well as superb marketing skills to direct the crowd.
With the growth of Online Travel Agency(OTA) platforms such as Airbnb, Booking.com, and Trivago, getting direct bookings has become a dream for hoteliers. Despite having websites, ranking above the Online Travel Agencies in search engines is a daunting task.
Hoteliers try hard to increase their rankings. To make this next to impossible task into reality they will have to offer some advantages to the guests. They will have to persuade them to leave their habit of visiting the OTA platforms first.
What should vacation rental owners keep in mind to get more direct bookings?
Do you know why vacation rentals and hotels prefer to get direct bookings? It is because it does not involve any third party. In other words, the bookings are usually done by guests from the hotel website, over the phone, or through other social media sources. It is
undeniable that the business that comes through external bookings is profitable for the turnover of the business. After all who would want to give commissions to a third-party?
In this blog,meta-search we shall go through a few aspects that will help you to allure guests to book your property without any intervention.
1) Design a professional and user-friendly web platform
In this era of technology, you cannot afford to lack in your technical prowess. A good website will help you leverage guests who are on the lookout for a hassle-free booking process. In addition to being a visual bliss, your website must be easy to navigate with appropriate content. Proper optimization of the web site is quintessential to increase your visibility on search engines like Google. The website must be complete in the true sense of the word with the following features:
- It must be possible to book through mobile devices as well. You do not want the guest to change their mind while they have to log in from a laptop or personal computer. Do you?
- The website must always be functional with the least loading time. When booking through mobile devices fail many times due to the slow speed of loading, it would amount to severe loss.
- A booking widget or engine must support the complete customer booking from selecting the dates to the kind of facility they would want to opt for. The customers must also receive a confirmation regarding the same from the hotel.
- It must be well-synchronized with other booking channels to avoid any overlaps or misses.
- Rather than cash payments or online transfers, an online payment option in many languages and currencies can aid in customer satisfaction. It is beneficial for both parties and will help save valuable time as well as guarantee safety.
- It is imperative to provide customers with the feeling that they have made the right choice by giving them a comparative rate chart. A constant reinforcement with reminders must be implemented on the web site. Observing that the direct booking prices and OTA rates are the same will assure the guests that direct bookings are favorable.
- Besides providing a live chat box to resolve customer queries, you can also post customer reviews with positive feedback on your website. Besides word of mouth, many people make their decisions based on the ratings given by previous visitors.
- A new feature has recently gained vogue. This includes providing a Virtual Tour to the guests. If your website does not support this feature, you can contemplate adding it soon.
2) Other modes to ensure direct bookings
Some new property managers may not have their website. What they can do is target the other social media platforms. Facebook, Whatsapp, and Emails are amazing to share property listings. You must have excellent hotel database software with details of guests who have visited your property.
Once they trust you, be assured to get more direct bookings. This can be either through the guests themselves or their acquaintances. But you need to remind them time n again of your services. You need to send posts regularly especially before festivals, vacations, or special occasions.
Make happy customers happier by announcing your special offers or give them tailor-made bookings. This will ascertain repeat visits that come through direct bookings than using any other sources.
Using social media channels as a marketing tool can aid in boosting your ranking on meta-search engines. It will get you up the ladder in search results. For this, it is a must to allure the guests by uploading mesmerizing content, discounts, and photographs. You can add another feather to your cap by assisting direct bookings through these social media channels.
Be omnipresent! In other words, flaunt your hotel wherever possible. On Facebook, Google, or any other trending platform to take advantage of the unstoppable growth of these channels.
3) Allure customer with attractive offers
Your competition is with huge business honchos. They have a huge exposure, have developed trust, and are technically much more advanced than you. Simply establishing your presence online or on social media platforms would not suffice. Not only do direct bookings offer a competitive advantage but they are flexible too. You can have your booking and refund norms, but beware not to inconvenience the guests. So you will have to reach out to your guests in more than one way.
The word discount generally does the trick. If you show you are giving some enticing incentives, the majority of guests would jump to grab it. A free breakfast, free transport to and from the airport or a 10% discount on direct bookings. Give them some brownie points they can redeem at their next visits. This will aid you in maintaining a long-term relationship with the guests. What you are saving through the commissions, you can offer it as perks to the guests.
It is a simple strategy that helps the customer to feel that they are getting the true value of the money they pay. You give benefits to your customers and get direct bookings as a reward. Additionally, you must not ignore the guests coming to you through the OTA platforms. Do your best to convert these indirect bookings into direct ones by offering all that you can to win their hearts.
4) Monitoring the traffic on your website
Many times guests would fill in all the details on the form, but just when it is time to submit the booking, they quit. Your website must be designed to tab the details of these potential customers.
With proper means, you can reach out to these guests. Question them about the reasons for abandoning the booking with your property. Negotiating with these guests, by providing the best rates and incentives can generate more direct bookings. A personal touch always makes a difference in the marketing world.
It’s all easier said than done; getting direct bookings may not be all that easy. Being persistent and cautious, avoiding any chances of errors can add benefits to procuring direct bookings. The booking process must be delightful, without any painstaking experiences to the customers. Mayan Princess is amongst the most elegant vacation rentals in Port Aransas. You will find no better place to stay than our beautifully designed and reasonably priced condos in Port Aransas for rent.