How to OWN Your Direct Booking Strategy in 2016

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As a small accommodation provider, we’re sure that you want to get better at increasing direct online reservations this year.

Direct bookings are commission-free, and you are in total control of the guest relationship.

The challenge is 40% of bookings do not occur during the first visit to your website (Tnooz). Tweet this stat!

So how can you get even better at increasing your direct reservations this year? Here are three fresh ideas you can use.

1) Mobile optimize your website

If you still haven’t ‘gone mobile’, this year is the perfect time to start! It is probably the single most important thing you can do to improve your direct bookings.

Tnooz reports that 25% of bookings are now mobile, and 50% more travelers complete the booking if the website is mobile-optimised. Tweet this stat!

Those booking via mobile are usually looking to make a last-minute purchase, so make sure you

  • Have last minute promotions displayed prominently on your home page.
  • Send emails earlier in the week if you have any last-minute promotions.
  • Save some rooms for the last-minute bookers (they tend to book within a week of their stay).

For instructions on how to mobile-optimise your website, click here.

2) Spruce up your photo gallery

Photos of your property will sell your rooms much better than any text description will. This is why focusing on improving the photo gallery on your website is a worthwhile investment of your time and money.

Try to…

  • Take photos that encourage guests to imagine themselves curling up in bed, getting pampered, and receiving a hot breakfast.
  • Optimize your images for the web, so that the pages load quickly. Make sure the file sizes aren’t too large, without sacrificing image quality.
  • Place all your best images at the top of the gallery.

For more tips on how to take better photos of your property, click here.

3) Get smarter at selling your Extras

Tnooz reports that 15% of guests buy Extras at the time of booking. Tweet this stat!

So if your hotel booking engine is already able to offer Extras at the time of booking, you’re already in a better place to get more revenue out of your direct bookings this year.

But how can you get even smarter at selling your Extras?

Consider the ‘booking window’

If the booking was made 1-7 days before their stay, guests are 3x more likely to purchase Extras with their booking.

If the booking was made 7-21 days before their stay, guests are 5x more likely to purchase Extras with their booking.

Consider the number of people in the group.

Groups of 1-2 guests are most likely to purchase in-hotel items. This would be a great time to upsell champagne breakfasts and picnic baskets.

Groups of 3 or more people are 50% more likely to purchase outside Extras. This is the perfect opportunity to earn commission by partnering with tour operators and referring your guests to tours and activities in the area.

For more up-sell ideas, click here.

If you have a modern reservation system like Little Hotelier, you will be able to offer Extras at the time of booking, and send automated emails after the booking is made, so that you can let guests know of any Extras that they may be interested in.

If you’d like to see what that looks like, watch our demo videos or take a free trial.

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