As much as we all like a quick fix, there’s sadly no shortcut to increasing direct bookings. However, we’ve compiled some tricks of the trade to help you out. We hope you find them useful.
1. First impressions are key
Your mum might have told you to never judge a book by its cover. And that is good advice, to some extent. But when it comes to hotels, the ‘cover’ – or first impression, so to speak – plays a vital role in driving direct bookings. No guest will cough up their cash if they can find somewhere else that looks much better. With this in mind, your hotel website should be beautifully designed, informative, and user-friendly. It should be easy-to-navigate both on desktop and on mobile devices – given that more and more people are now booking hotel breaks from their smartphones.
2. Display real-time availability
Integrating an awesome booking engine into your website gives guests the power to book the rooms and dates that they want, there and then. Instant confirmation = instant satisfaction, so guests are therefore less likely to look elsewhere. A customised confirmation email once they’ve booked helps drive brand awareness too.
3. Work with the big dogs
Booking.com and Expedia are market-leading online travel agents for a reason. They'll get more eyeballs on your property. But guests will very often Google your place before they book – so provided you’ve got a great website and a slick online booking system, you’ve got the opportunity to convert this booking direct. Direct booking incentives such as a complimentary cocktail on arrival can also be a great way to seal the deal.
4. Connect to Facebook
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are an awesome way to connect with loads of travellers. Go one step further and add a Book Now button to your property’s Facebook page, to increase conversion rates.
5. Get some reviews
Don’t be afraid to ask guests for feedback. Sending a customised post-stay email is a great way to encourage people to head to Facebook, Google or TripAdvisor and rate their stay. Potential bookers love a recent review or two – so the more you get, the merrier.