Increase direct bookings, reduce OTA commissions!
If you’re trying to reduce your OTA (online travel agent) commissions, the number one thing you’ll need to do is increase direct bookings. This means focusing on your number one digital asset- your website! It’s not just a place for potential guests to gather information about your business; it’s your ultimate distribution channel. And, with just a few tweaks, you can achieve massive results. Here are our top 5 tips to level-up your website, and turn it into a direct booking engine:
Get Your SEO Game On:
Imagine this: your hotel website is buried on the second page of Google or Bing, or even worse, page 3. Yikes! That won’t bring in many potential customers, will it? Over 90% of web traffic clicks are on page 1, with over 60% of those clicks going to the top 3 listings. So, let’s make sure your website pops up when customers are searching for a hotel in your area, and get it listed at the top of search results! Start with the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Fill your website with rich content and sprinkle in relevant search terms naturally. And hey, don’t just focus on hotel-specific terms; also consider regional ones. Need more guidance? Check out “5 SEO Tips for Hotels to Improve your Ranking in Google.”
Create an Epic User Experience:
If guests show up at your property, and the layout means they can’t find front desk, the decor looks tired and dated, and they can’t find any amenities, are they likely to come back? Or refer your property to their friends? Your website is your digital property, and nobody likes a poorly designed website. It’s like a big red “No thanks!” sign.
Make sure your website is user-friendly and visually appealing. Quick navigation, simple menus, and attractive themes can make all the difference in capturing users’ attention. And don’t forget to tailor your website design to your target market. Are you catering to everyday tourists? Highlight the region and its attractions alongside your awesome hotel perks. Focusing on business travelers? Keep it sleek and provide useful links and info for a speedy booking process.Above all else, follow the K.I.S.S. principal for allowing them to book directly. Keep it stupid simple with highly visible “book now” buttons, and availability widget.
Mobile-Friendly is the Way to Go:
Let’s face it—we’re all glued to our mobile devices. Your potential guests will likely browse through their phones or tablets when searching for hotels. They may even be sitting in the passenger seat 20mins outside of town, looking for a place for the night. So, make sure your website is mobile-responsive. If you’re outsourcing your website creation, ask for a mock-up of the mobile version to ensure it’s user-friendly and matches the desktop experience. Oh, and don’t forget to check that your booking engine works seamlessly on mobile too. Nobody wants a frustrating booking experience!
Flaunt Your Unique Selling Points:
In a competitive market, it’s crucial to stand out from the crowd. Even if your accommodation is modest, load up your website by highlighting your unique selling points (USPs). Maybe your service is top-notch or you’re conveniently located near hot tourist spots. Do you offer airport or train station transfers? Free shuttle to local attractions? Let your USPs shine and entice potential guests to choose you over the competition.
Simplify the Booking Process:
Picture this: potential guests love your premises and amenities, but navigating through your booking process is like a maze. Cue frustration and a swift exit. To prevent that, make sure your booking engine is top-notch. Provide an easy booking experience with clear rates, available rooms and suites, and an option to add extras seamlessly. Choose a booking engine that requires as few clicks as possible to confirm a booking. Ideally, a client should be able to book their stay in fewer than 5 clicks. Smooth sailing equals happy guests!
BONUS TIP: Showcasing Trust and Reputation:
No one wants to book a hotel with a bad reputation, right? Building trust is crucial for repeated business and attracting new customers. Incorporate a review section on your main site so potential guests can instantly see what previous customers have to say about your business. Responding to feedback becomes easier too. Managing your reputation becomes a breeze!
Remember, keep an eye on analytics to understand how users navigate your site. Identify weak spots, make improvements, and provide an enticing experience from homepage to booking confirmation. In order to continue to rise in search rankings, start a hotel website blog to engage visitors and regularly add new content to optimize your search engine ranking.
If you’re not sure how your website is performing, we can help. Our FREE AUDIT can be performed and delivered to you in less than 48hrs, and provide you with a wealth of information. Take action today if you want to increase direct bookings to improve both top line, and bottom line revenue.