What is missing in most hotel direct booking strategies?

ByBenjamin Devisme
20 July 2020
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Making hotel direct booking easy from a technical perspective is not enough. If you want to increase conversion, you need to engage and convince hesitant customers.

OTA’s are here to stay and Booking.com is an essential source of visibility to most hotels, thanks to the billboard effect. Customers visit your website and go back to OTAs because you fail to engage customers when they are looking at your hotel page. This is what needs to change. 

Everything is ready to welcome direct bookers: most hotels have beautiful websites with plenty of information about their property. Some even have a price comparison and review widget. Also, booking engines are relatively easy to use. Hotels just fail at 1 thing: ENGAGEMENT. 

Think about it, your online direct sales process is 100% based on the concept of self-service. That’s enough for some guests. You can either keep investing crazy amounts in visibility and slightly more efficient booking engines or understand that what you need to start investing in is CONVINCING your guests. 

How do I engage clients to increase direct hotel sales?

One simple idea to increase hotel direct sales would be understanding that sales is a process and is based on the customer type. As a result, the cost of acquisition varies: some customers are ready to “book now”. Such guests have a very low cost of sale and you should absolutely identify them and foster loyalty. Others are hesitant first-time customers that may not be ready to “book now”. Capturing those customers should be your priority. 

A good start is to understand that different people with different interests interact with your website.

See here how you can use the concept of customer personas to make your content more engaging:

Then, you need to think about how to get hesitant customers to enter your direct sales funnel. Quicktext Hotel Chatbot is an excellent way to start the relationship. Velma is an AI-powered chatbot that clears up customers’ doubts automatically and guides them through your hotel direct booking process. At the same time, Velma chatbot captures customer name, email, date of stay, and key interests. (See example below)

Following up with hesitant guests through targeted e-mail campaigns.

Some travelers might still not be ready to book. That’s okay since the chatbot started the relationship and captured the right info. Now it is time to follow up by email or phone. Many hoteliers have no time to call back the customer. That’s where Hotel Resbot comes into play. Hotel Resbot also has an AI component named HERA (Hotel Email Reservation Assistant). One of the things that HERA can do is helping the Resbot Team follow up on reservation requests by automatically sending personalized information and quotes to customers. 

Since July 2020, Velma chatbot and Hera, have been working hand in hand to ensure that all hesitant customers starting a conversation with your hotel, receive personalized information while on your website and are re-engaged with a relevant email follow-up sequence once they have left. As a result, this keeps your hotel on top of hesitant customers’ minds and naturally increases conversion. 

If you have questions about how AI can help hotels increase direct sales and would like to see live examples, feel welcome to contact me at  bde@quicktext.im

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