When it comes to customer satisfaction, hotel direct bookings can be one of the ways to keep them coming back. This article hopes to help hotels and hostels with booking issues to help them land more potential guests and keep existing ones satisfied.
What is a direct booking? This is a type of reservation that enables a guest to confirm the use of a hotel or hostel without the interference of a third party. This helps build connections between the hotels and guests thereby reducing the cost of commission by third-party interference. Four strategies to improve hotel direct bookings will be discussed and they are; (i) user-friendly website (ii) updating your blog (iii) use of social media (iv) establishing a loyalty program.
(i) User-friendly website
The website creates the first impression on potential guests whether they will be interested in a hotel so it is better to give that extra touch of simplicity to the website. This enables hotel direct bookings to less complicated and easy prospects and existing clients to navigate. Using high-quality images of rooms and the environment will make the website attractive and get the needed attention. The website has to convey genuineness and be easy to navigate on all devices (desktop and mobile), it should not be slow to load. Using keywords to optimize the website is important so as to make the website more visible to the prospects checking the internet. It is important to include a clear call to action to move the guest to take immediate action.
(ii) Updating your blog
It is very crucial to update the blog from time to time to keep existing and potential guests abreast of the events in the hotel. Ensuring that the blog is always recent so that guests can keep tabs on irresistible deals from the hotel. Blogging makes it easier for prospects to find the hotel because it improves the hotel search engine ranking. The more people come across the blog, the higher the probability of people making a direct booking online.
(iii) Use of social media
In today’s world of social media, it is important for hotels to make use of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others to create awareness for their brand. Post engaging articles, pictures and videos about your hotel or hostel and also linking back to relevant links on the hotel’s website to keep existing and prospective clients updated. To be innovative and stand out among the competition, it is important to create a link that allows guests to book directly from the social media pages because it helps to increase credibility and also helps to foster engagement with the online community of customers. For instance, guests can be encouraged to post and share videos, pictures and comments tagging the hotel’s handles which then the comments are re-shared on the social media pages of the hotel. The use of hashtags can also help boost social media awareness. Engaging posts alone are not enough, it is pertinent to be proactive and responsive to the concerns of the guest.
(iv) Establish a loyalty program
Inspiring guests to book directly by offering freebies or perks is another way to improve hotel direct bookings. Offering discounts when guests book directly to the guests can be an encouragement for the guest to come back and also give the hotel an edge over the competition. Also, personalizing the guest experience can make guests book directly. For instance, a guest who is allergic to gluten on his first visit made a complaint, for customer satisfaction, the hotel informs the guest (through email) that there are gluten-free diets and he is assured better service on his next visit. This personalized guest experience encourages repeat visits and subsequently, direct bookings.
Reducing the dependency on third party bookings or online travel agents (OTAs) and boosting direct bookings does not only save cost but also help to increase the worth of the properties. Increasing hotel direct bookings takes creative thinking and patience, but definitely it’s going to pay off when the direct bookings start rolling in and revenue keeps soaring high. These simple strategies will make it easier for a hotel to boost its direct bookings; (i) user-friendly website (ii) updating your blog (iii) use of social media, and (iv) establishing a loyalty program.