For the longest time, OTAs have held the lion’s share in hotel room bookings. On the other hand, the average hotel website conversion rate is just 2%. In fact, it would greatly profit hoteliers to bring this percentage up, even marginally. But the good news is, the solution is also not as challenging as it may seem.
You already spend a lot to attract traffic to your website. So, take the next step once your potential customer is on your page. The key lies in removing the blocks there may be to direct booking while increasing all possibilities for the same.
Here is a list of strategies to increase direct bookings for your hotel:
- Optimize your website
Your hotel website should be:
– visually attractive
– easy to navigate
– optimized for search engines
– accessible on all devices
It should also:
– display good quality pictures of your property
– load quickly
– have a prominent call to action on its pages
Statistics for 2019 show that 42% of people across the world have booked a hotel on a mobile device (Hotels.com). Also, 70% of last-minute hotel bookings have been made on mobile (Intelity). These figures prove the need for hotel websites to be mobile-responsive.
- Use a responsive booking engine
You need a conspicuous, user-friendly and responsive booking engine on your website. This can help you increase direct bookings on your hotel website. Ensure that your booking engine:
– completes the reservation process within 2-3 steps
– is secure
– confirms booking
– has a rate checker to allow price comparisons
- Use a hotel chatbot
People have numerous questions about their travel and stay. And, they like to get immediate answers to these questions when planning their trip. You know that your website contains all the information that your potential guests want to know about. However, they will still not want to spend time searching for it.
In order to offer quick replies and encourage booking with you, you could use a hotel chatbot on your website. A chatbot will provide immediate answers to customer queries. Alternatively, it will collect customer details for the hotel staff to use in case the question is complex and requires human assistance. In both cases, your potential customer will be encouraged to book with you. Zalia, the AI-powered chatbot from Quicktext is one such hotel chatbot. According to Benjamin Devisme, Partner, Quicktext, “If your chatbot is connected to a decent booking engine, the average conversion rate should be close to 7%. However, if you decide to really leverage the potential of your hotel chatbot conversations, you can easily reach 30+%.”
- Provide direct booking discounts and offers
Everyone likes to get more. Thus, offering more value through discounts and special offers provides a greater chance for your website visitors to become your guests. So, give them compelling reasons to book directly with you.
Your PMS contains guest information that will help you tailor offers and services for your guests. Providing such personalization is a great way to create customer loyalty. It also encourages repeat visits and direct bookings.
- Enable booking from social media
Social media and travel are closely related. As a matter of fact, people share their life and travel experiences and pictures extensively on social media platforms. In fact, 52% of people surveyed were inspired to travel after viewing their friends’ travel photos.
Social media is a great tool to increase direct bookings for your hotel. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram provide great visibility for your brand across the globe. Thus, integrating a booking engine to your Facebook page is a great idea. It would enable and increase the number of people booking directly with you.