The challenge of getting guests to book a room direct is one that hotel marketing teams face on a daily basis. These teams need to keep track of hotel data such as gaps in availability along with season revenue patterns and demand, or lack of demand, for non-room night bookings in order to better understand what drives these patterns that can impact profits. Keeping track of these trends can help in targeting your audience and getting guests to book a room direct rather than having to pay large amounts of commission to OTAs.
AirBnB properties have impacted hotels thanks to their (often) lower rates. Rather than compete with lower rates, hotels can study the strengths of AirBnBs and incorporate them into their marketing plans by taking advantage of positive reviews and also offering discounts to nearby attractions to land guests. In addition, hotels can promote the features they have such as pools, spas, and free room upgrades to stand out from AirBnBs.
Finally, hotels should offer incentives to guests to book a room direct by showing them the benefits of booking direct instead of going through an OTA. Hotels should practice smart remarketing, perform exit capture forms and callouts and even encourage non-room-based bookings for events and conferences through B2B platforms such as LinkedIn.
Tracking Hotel Data & Communicating to Revenue and Marketing
Once hotels gather data, they need to communicate the info to revenue and marketing:
- Hotel management must inform marketing of future low-demand days in order to plan promotions and events to drive demand
- Analyzing and tracking which offers and prices on the hotel website have been booked on a consistent basis allows marketing to build strategies that take advantage of this information
- Guests that book on a regular basis should be offered membership in a loyalty program, by marketing, to show the property appreciates their consistent business
- Revenue and marketing should align their goals to take advantage of online channels that show the highest level of customer acquisition to better utilize their budget dollars
- Have a revenue strategy that includes all revenue-generating elements including sales, marketing, loyalty, and revenue management
- Centralize the data so revenue and marketing have real-time access to data to make informed decisions
Increase Your Hotel Visibility with Google Ads & SEO
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a set of processes to make a website rank higher in search results and gain more hotel visibility. Google is the most popular search engine and research shows the top result in Google search gets around 33% of clicks. The second result gets about 18%. The percentage drops down to about 1% if a hotel is on the second page of the results. SEO helps you have a good chance of outranking your competitors and attracting guests to book a room direct.
Google hotel ads are available in more than 150 countries to help travelers get hotel deals. According to Google, the first six months of 2018 saw its hotel ad partners around the world receive 65% more leads each year. Google ads allow hotels to display their hotel rates on Google in direct comparison to OTAs on the same Google search page.
Focus on Your Strengths, Reviews, Discounts & Attractions
In order to increase your hotel visibility and get guests to book a room direct, hotels should focus on their strengths. Reviews are one of the biggest strengths of a hotel since the comments left by guests are free advertising that helps others get a better idea of how actual guests enjoyed their experience at a property. Many hotels use software such as ReviewPro to manage and boost their customer reviews. In addition, hotels can partner with local attractions and offer discounts that are exclusive to their guests as an incentive for them to book a room. Plus, hotels can offer discounts to first-time guests as well as to their loyal customers. The strengths of the hotel include the ability to control its inventory and to tell its story to guests through its own website.
Hotel Websites Should Have the Latest Technology
Hotel websites are often the first destination potential guests visit when they are trying to get more information about a hotel property. Instead of calling the hotel directly, guests will go to hotel websites to view amenities and get room availability and room rate info. Hotel websites need to be more interactive and give guests the chance to chat with representatives that provide answers and provide an overall personal experience. Hotel websites that have virtual reality technology can offer a “360 Experience” that allows guests to examine every aspect of the hotel rooms or take a virtual tour of the property to get a better idea about what they can expect during their stay.
Hotels that use a visual content management platform can choose to have all of their photos and metadata sent back to their brand site or Internet booking engine. This reduces both management time and errors while keeping parity among all channels.