How do I increase my online direct bookings? This is a question we hear every day when speaking with our new and existing clients. Here at RezStream, we know how important it is to you as a property owner to get answers to that question. So, as part of our continued efforts to help our clients achieve this and other business goals, members from our marketing team attended the Direct Booking Summit in Dallas, TX.
This two-day event brought together hoteliers and marketers from around the world in order to discuss business challenges and learn from over 25 industry experts on topics ranging from negotiating with OTAs to digital marketing tips. Here are our key takeaways from the conference.
1. Economic growth continues to fuel the lodging and travel industry
As the U.S. economy continues to see positive growth, demands in the travel and lodging industry are starting to see record highs. This trend can be seen in both global and U.S. occupancy rates as illustrated in the charts.
Guests continue to find more hotel and lodging options through meta-search technology. So, it is important to leverage this phenomenon in order to acquire more direct bookings. Meta-search allows properties to show direct availability rates based on people’s desired travel dates. For a small cost per click, lodging properties can get potential guests directly into the booking process, leading them more quickly into a purchase decision.
3. Online Reputation
Your past guests’ experience can have an immediate impact on direct bookings.
To help ensure you are creating the best experience for your customer, incorporate these tactics into your overall business strategy:
- Use in-stay surveys. The impact of in-stay surveys is probably one of the best ways to help ensure your guests will leave happy. It’s no longer just enough to request feedback post-stay. As an innkeeper, you should encourage feedback during your guests’ stay. This way you can potentially mitigate negative experiences and emphasize positive ones.
- Apply messaging apps. An effective way to implement in-stay surveys is through messaging apps that allow you to closely communicate with your customer.
- Encourage repeat bookings. Offer guest incentives in exchange for guest feedback on their experience. Not only do you gain positive online reviews, but you will build a loyal customer who will book direct next time.
Give your guests a better experience than an OTA would give by providing them with a more personalized booking journey. Personalizing the experience will increase the chance of guests booking direct.
The opportunities for personalization are endless…
5. Rate Parity
When partnering with OTAs, rate parity plays a large role in acquiring more direct bookings. If you are not showing customers the same or a better rate, you are more likely to drive your potential customer to an OTA.
And this gets harder the more OTA’s you work with.
To help combat the necessary evil of OTAs, investing in a price-checker tool can be very beneficial. Most price checker tools will not only provide you with disparity information but will also provide you with tools that confirm your guests (once they are on your site) are getting the best deal by booking directly with you.
Watch for further information from future conferences RezStream will be attending over the next year by subscribing to our monthly newsletter.