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Booking Engine

One of the biggest challenges for hoteliers is being able to increase the number of direct bookings. Looking at the size of the market and the proliferation of third-party booking sites, it is imperative for hotels to strike the right balance between direct and OTA bookings. While OTAs play a vital role in getting bookings, the fact is direct bookings are more profitable. It saves on intermediary commission charges of the OTA.

Choose the right booking engine software:

Incorporating a first-rate booking engine for your website is critical to attracting direct bookings. Visitors get real-time information about the status of rooms. This is one of the most effective ways to attract direct bookings. When a guest makes a room booking they get confirmation instantly from the PMS. This satisfies the guest that their accommodation is a sure thing.

Have a well-optimised website:

The hotel website plays a critical role in attracting direct bookings. It must be user-friendly, visually appealing and easily navigable. It needs a strong digital presence to maximise visitors. Apart from excellent optimisation for search engines, it has to offer mobile responsiveness. With a growing segment of travellers using mobile devices and smart-phones to make bookings, it must work seamlessly across multiple devices.

Offer incentives:

When people visit your website, you could offer incentives for them to make direct bookings. State the benefits they will receive if they book directly at the hotel website. E.g. book directly at our site and get discounts on shopping at affiliate partners etc. Almost everyone looks for freebies, so if you sweeten the deal they are more than likely to book directly. As per a Skift study close to 45% of visitors feel that perks and incentives influence their decision to book.

Study booking abandonments:

If prospective guests are visiting the site, spending time examining the rooms and facilities and leaving when they reach the booking stage, there is a problem. It will negatively impact direct bookings!  You need to find out about their experience at the hotel website. Examine the type of rooms they searched for and saw before they decided to look elsewhere. Try to get in touch with them via email or phone and find out what they were specifically looking for. If the price is a concern, offer them the best rate available and mention the extra benefit/s they will receive if they book directly with you.  Building a personal rapport will make them return visitors.

Emphasize positive reviews:

A growing percentage of travellers check hotel reviews with a large number of them basing their decision to make bookings subject to the reviews. Having positive reviews on your website and other independent review sites will influence the decision of prospective guests. When your hotel receives positive reviews from former guests these need to emphasised and highlighted. These should reflect all through the site to convince the visitor to make a booking. Do not just collect reviews but make it a point to respond promptly. This shows you value your guests’ opinions and will win over other prospective guests.

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Booking Engine
Guests like to feel valued by hotels. That’s a no-brainer. But in a world where 76% of travellers book online, customer personalisation is happening earlier and earlier in the customer journey. And if you don’t keep up, your business will feel the strain.

It’s integral to your business that you can also deliver personal touches when the customer is booking; you need to understand your demographics in order to do that. So once you’re happy with your website, it’s time to start working on your existing customers.

Plenty of hotel marketing solutions will focus on the ease of use of your site, and while that’s important, you need to know what your customer is looking for first. Are they business travellers? In which case, deals marketed towards newlyweds won’t work. Ask customers to create profiles, and then, crucially, use the data to improve the quality of your hotel direct bookings.

Offer deals that appeal to your core customer base, and make sure that these are prominently displayed in the booking options. That means making sure that your website is available to access via mobile, setting your customer experience apart from the crowd—Deloitte even did research that suggests that, by 2020, customer experience will be one the most important brand differentiators above even price or product.

online-hotel-reservation-software
If you want to up your hotel direct bookings, the actual process of making a booking should be quick and easy for customers; they find the deal they want, authenticate the days they’ll need it for, and pay for it. Greater personalisation armed with easy booking means that you’ll see more and more customers converting online, rather than doing research amongst your competitors before making their choice.

It’s also easier for casual browsers to become customers and future guests of your hotel if your website integrates your booking engine. An incredible 40% of consumers will abandon a webpage that takes more than 3 seconds to load, which means that waiting to access another website in order to book a room might be cause enough for them to abandon their idea of staying with you and book with another hotel instead.

If the guest has an existing relationship with you—from a profile created for a previous stay—they will naturally want to use your site as opposed to giving all their details away again to another website. Make it easy for them to pick you by creating and sending out personalised deals as part of your hotel marketing solutions, inspired by the post-booking, pre-arrival and post-departure questionnaires many hotels use and their prior behaviour online. Post-departure questionnaires are also a way to incentivise future bookings if you offer a saving or deal exclusive upon returning the survey.

Make sure your guests know that they’re personal to you—explain how you’ll store and use their data, assuring them that you follow data protection and that you’re asking for their details so you can make their stay better. It’s the truth—but customers will be impressed that you’re making every aspect of their stay comfortable before they’ve even set foot inside the hotel lobby.
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