In an ideal world, all bookings would be 100% direct and commission-free – but having diversity in your distribution mix is healthy for your small hotel.
While the commission fees being charged by booking sites can be a pain, they offer valuable benefits for you:
Small hotels, bed and breakfasts, inns and guesthouses simply can’t afford to market their properties on such a grand scale. However, that doesn’t mean you should completely abandon all of your efforts to drive more direct bookings.
In fact, third party distribution partnerships can amplify your efforts via what’s known as ‘the billboard effect’. This occurs when guests find your hotel through a third party channel, but decide to book directly with you.
Here’s what you can do to make sure that you’re increasing your chances of getting the most direct bookings possible.
Many small hotel owners feel that it’s difficult to retain control of their database because they may not always have access to their guests’ contact details before they arrive.
Making sure you capture guest emails once they’re at your property is a quick-win initiative that is easy to implement. All you need is self-discipline to ask for their email address upon check-in or check-out.
Once you have these details, it’s easy to send them your special offers and promotions! They can either use them for themselves, or refer a friend who will be in the area and may need a place to stay.
Rate parity rules make it difficult to incentivize direct bookings, but there are creative ways around this.
For example, you can:
Remember those emails that you collected? Put them to good use! Repeat customers are extremely valuable because they turn into advocates who refer their friends and family to you.
Offer your best customers the most luxurious perks, such as free room upgrades or free spa treatments.
According recent eye tracking research, your hotel’s online presence is a key factor in getting travelers to book a stay with you online.
As it turns out,
Want to get more tips on how to drive direct bookings through your website? Download our comprehensive ebook, The Ultimate Online Guide for Small Accommodation Providers.
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