For many years, OTAs have imposed themselves on the hospitality market, with exorbitant commission rates charged to hoteliers. Nowadays, hotels seek to avoid them.
So, how to increase direct bookings by recovering market share on OTAs?
1. Having a beautiful website with attractive visuals
Nowadays, direct booking is mostly done online. It is therefore essential that your hotel has a website that makes you want to consult and browse it. This website is the showcase of your establishment, it must make you want to stay there and discover it “in real life”:
- A good choice of visuals is essential (and do not hesitate to call on a professional photographer to take them).
- Describe your rooms and your equipment, highlight them according to the target (business travelers / couples / families / etc…)
- Make your clients want to discover your region
- Introduce yourself and your team, show your clients who will be taking care of them during their stay.
2. Offer the best direct rates and promote them
To turn this seduced traveller into a customer, offer online direct booking on your website. Most property management systems (PMS) include the booking engine in their offer to immediately upload reservations in the hotel management software. If this is not the case, other powerful booking engines exist on the market and connect to your PMS.
To convince by the price and avoid losing a traveller seduced by your establishment, activate the price comparison widget on your website. This will value your best live price versus OTAs.
3. Reassure travelers with a cancellation insurance option on your website
The numerous cancellation obligations linked to the context of this past years have made customers worried and cautious about early reservations. Offering a cancellation insurance in your booking engine is an asset that customers will greatly appreciate and that will differentiate you from distribution platforms.
4. Work on your SEO for better visibility
Travelers looking for accommodation in your area need to find you : this is a prerequisite to improve your direct sales. It is essential to be present on OTAs and being well referenced on Google.
Being well referenced requires specific actions like:
- Pay attention to your keywords: think about the criteria a traveler is looking for to come to your place
- Write your own page titles and descriptions to be more relevant for search engines
- Name your photos with your keywords, Google (and its competitors 😉) will also reference them better
5. Be present on Google My Business
For your online visibility, it is essential to have a Google My Business page. This is free and allows people to find you and access your contact details and website directly on Google.
Google now reference for free your rates, in addition to the existent paying SEO on your Google My Business page. A real asset to boost your direct bookings, since Google redirects, at no additional cost, to your website! To benefit from this, make sure your booking engine is connected to Google Free Booking Links and create your Google My Business page.
6. Be active and offer online booking on social medias
More and more travelers consult social networks to learn about a destination, an establishment, see the “informal” photos of other travelers and read good advice on their Smartphone. Be present and control your image online. And do not hesitate to activate online booking on social networks in order to turn these curious visitors into customers.
7. Be different with special direct offers
Stand out from booking platforms with personalized and attractive offers. For example, offer something like that to your direct bookings:
- A welcome drink on arrival
- Breakfasts for a reservation of 2 nights
- A direct superior room at the same price as the standard room on OTAs…
8. Build a customer relationship to turn guests as direct repeaters
Take advantage of their stay to ask for the direct contact details of your customers (in particular those coming from OTAs) in order to constitute your own database. Use the data to maintain a relationship, via email or text. Keep your customers informed of your news, offer them preferential rates to encourage them to come back. Keep in touch, so that on their next stay, they will think of your hotel and go directly to your website.