Although it is best to have a balance of direct bookings and Online Travel Agent (OTA) bookings, driving more direct reservations is every small hotel owner’s dream.
Increases in direct bookings mean only one thing – no commissions paid, and therefore higher revenue.
We have put together all the most successful ways you can get direct bookings for your property to increase your revenue margin.
Effective ways to drive direct reservations
Google Adwords is a great tool for small accommodation providers to get guests onto their website.
When a prospect guest is looking for a bed and breakfast, they will most likely start with a Google search. For a small hotel business, AdWords can be a tremendously successful method of driving traffic directly to your website.
AdWords leverages your Google listings to come up higher in the results list, even onto the first page of results, if you choose your keywords wisely.
The higher listings work based on the keywords that you bid on that your guests would use in their Google search. It’s a pay-per-click advertising model, where you have to pay each time a guest clicks through directly to your website. Because guests who click on ads are more ready-to-buy than other search engine users, this in turn results in an increased chance of direct reservations.
2. Social Media
Facebook is a great channel for growing a small hotel’s revenue. Not only does it raise awareness of your small hotel, but it is jam-packed with the tools every small accommodation provider needs to drive reservations.
To use Facebook to its fullest potential, you should allow guests to book in their stay with you directly from your Facebook page. Make it convenient for potential guests who are browsing your Facebook page to book directly with you.
Many hotel booking engines have this functionality. For example, with Little Hotelier’s booking engine, you can allow guests to book with you without ever leaving the Facebook site.
TripConnect is part of TripAdvisor’s offering. Essentially, you pay TripAdvisor for the right to manage your small property’s listing.
TripConnect allows you to cut out the OTAs to compete for more direct reservations, using a pay-per-click advertising model.
The higher your bid, the higher your property’s listing will appear in TripAdvisor’s Hotel Price Comparison Search box, thereby increasing the likelihood that TripAdvisor users will click the link to visit your property’s booking page. So it’s possible to outbid major OTAs and have your listing appear first in the results.
A metasearch engine is essentially a search engine, that sifts through content on other websites that are on the internet and shows the combined results, all in one place. Some common meta search engines are Tripadvisor, Trivago and Webjet, to name a few.
Metasearch engines allow smaller properties to be on the same playing field with larger hotels or chains.
Direct bookings are increased significantly with meta search engines. Information about the small property is presented directly from the hotel’s website as a part of the customer’s search results.
Guests tend to see direct bookings as more reliable, which means there is a better chance that a guest will book directly.
To succeed with metasearch sites, they need to be managed regularly and not forgotten!
Retargeting is a form of online advertising that allows you to show specific ads to people who have visited your website.
After people drop off your small hotel’s website, they can see your ads across the web.
Each retargeting platform will have signed up websites who agree to serve your ads. The websites become a part of the retargeting platform’s display networks.
To get started with retargeting, you will have to do the following:
1) Choose a retargeting platform
2) Create your segments
3) Create your advertisements
Don’t have anyone to help you create those ads of yours? Use software like Bannersnack. It’s an easy to use ad maker for non-techies (ie. perfect for time poor small hotel owners who don’t have digital design skills).
6. CTA Button
A CTA (call to action) is a button that does exactly that – asks visitors to click it to get to information the website visitor is looking for.
The button must have a relevant offer to your potential guest that would encourage them to click on it.
Make sure the copy is compelling, action-oriented, and simple to understand. Guests should not be confused about what information they will get if they click the button.
A CTA needs to stand out, and capture your guest’s attention. Put the CTA button into action and more direct bookings are just a click away, literally!
Do you have a reservation system to manage direct reservations?
Managing direct bookings isn’t easy, especially if you don’t have a way to distribute your bookings. A booking engine, such as Little Hotelier, can automate the entire process for you.
If you would like to experience the magic of generating more revenue through direct bookings, see how we can help: