The hotel distribution space is complex and convoluted. As hotel marketers it’s imperative you have an understanding of the total distribution space. You need to work with your revenue team on strategies to utilise each channel, with the overall aim to increase occupancies, maximise revenue and reduce the overall cost of distribution.
Don’t be tempted to jump to the conclusion that direct is always best. Distribution is about finding the right balance, utilising each channel to your advantage and always ensure you’re leaving no stone unturned to convert the booking direct. Here are 3 top tips to help you convert more bookings on your website:
1. An Optimised Website and Online Booking Engine
Ensure you have a quality website. This means its optimised, responsive and rich in content. The site needs to have a responsive design so its works well on all type of device;, mobile, desktop and tablet. Make sure your content covers all of your hotel’s key selling points and includes detailed room descriptions and a comprehensive list of services/facilities all supported by quality images and video.
An online booking engine is a pre-requisite as the majority of travellers these days prefer to book online. Make sure that you select a user-friendly booking engine that integrates with your PMS. Nuvho’s booking engine comes with an out of the box OTA price comparison tool, an automatic discount and rate adjustment tool and customisable book direct statements.
The path to booking should be simple, a user should be able to enter into a booking from every page on your website, not just the homepage. They should be able to complete a booking with just a few clicks.
Keep booking forms as short and simple as possible. Examine and question what guest details you really need – only ask for what you actually use. (Do you really need an address? Or date of birth? What are you going to do with this info? Is there a better time to ask for this detail – perhaps at check-in?) The more information you ask the more likely it is the user will drop off and abandon their booking. Take a leaf out of Booking.com’s book, they have reduced their booking form to just a name and email address.
2. Encourage and Reward Direct Bookings
On your website, and in your booking engine if possible, highlight the benefits of booking direct. Create a “Why book with us” page to point out all the reasons why the guest should book direct with you. Apart from a discount to book direct, think about other incentives like early check-in or late check-out, flexible cancellation policy, no credit card or booking fees, bonus inclusion such as free wifi, a spa voucher, a welcome drink, free kids activity packs. Make sure to also list all the services and facilities they get free use of during their stay like the pool, gym, parking, concierge service – this all adds to the value equation. Here are a couple of examples from around the internet Dorsett Hotels, Hamilton Island, Stamford Hotels & Resorts, Voyages Ayers Rock Resort, Old Orchard Inn
Think about ways you can encourage repeat visitation and word-of-mouth, perhaps email or give your guests a voucher after their stay which they can give to friends or family or use for their next stay with you.
3. Improve Your Hotel’s Reviews and Online Reputation
98% of travellers read hotel reviews and 80% of those consider guest reviews extremely important when making a booking decision. If your hotel has an excellent online reputation than you have a better change of getting more direct bookings.
It’s a good idea to integrate reviews into your website, Nuvho’s review manager allows you to incorporate the most relevant review sites and manage responses all in one place. It is critical that you respond to all reviews, good and bad as this creates trust and shows you care to potential guests.
Nuvho is a Hotel Services & Management Company focused on revenue generation for hoteliers. We offer outsourcing, training and support in the areas of Sales, Marketing, Revenue, Yield & Distribution Management.
We also offer one of the best and most cost-effective booking engines on the market. It features an in-built OTA price comparison tool and has a proven high conversion rate, achieving between 5% to 7% for our hotel clients. The system integrates with most PMS and channel management systems.