With summer just around the corner and the holiday bookings on fire rather finding ways to increase direct bookings at your property is hot issue at this time.
Makes sense! Besides, if the bookings don't increase now, then when;
Direct bookings are undeniably the,what's best for you and your business. But maybe they are imagining a midsummer night's dream. But if we told you that you can increase direct bookings at your accommodation even if you just started; Even if you just built your website;
Below you will find 10+1 ways on how you can increase your direct bookings and therefore fill your business coffers with money!
What is a direct booking site;
Let's start with the basics:
The direct booking site is basically a booking form on your website where visitors can make direct reservations at your accommodation. By entering your website, someone can see photos of your property, the services you offer, the location etc. It gives you the possibility to convince him to book directly and not through some accommodation booking engine(e.g. Booking).
As you understand a basic requirement to install the reservation system is to have a website!
Why do you want to have a website where your accommodation can be booked directly?;
For many reasons. And let's see in detail:
1. You can make the site however you want
You can put as many photos and videos as you want. Make the menu as you think would be best for your potential customers. You can enter rich information about the accommodation as well as the area. In general you have the ability to create great user experience and thus convince your guests to make direct bookings more easily.
2. You have a better chance of someone finding your accommodation
With most bookings now being done online, a website gives you an extra channel for someone to find you. Using SEO your website can appear high in search results when someone is looking for accommodation in the area. If indeed your competitors they don't have their own website then you are one step ahead of the competition.
3. Save on booking site fees(OTA)
The OTA(Online Travel Agencies), i.e. the online booking platforms(e.g. Booking) they usually charge high fees to you and your guests. Most Airbnb hosts today pay a commission 3% and visitors pay approx 14,2% of the reservation subset(Source: Hostfully). This is how all platforms work. This it cuts into your profits and doesn't leave much room for marketing. With a direct booking website, bypass these charges. Why not use that money you would be giving in commissions to improve your business, reinvesting in marketing strategies or improving your rental properties;
4. You collect visitor data
Booking platforms do not share guest data other than first and last name. This further limits your marketing potential and retargeting campaigns. When you create a website that takes bookings directly at your accommodation, you have the freedom to ask your visitors for data such as their contact details, where they are traveling from and the reason for their stay. You can use this data to create targeted marketing campaigns. For example, you can offer a special discount to professionals coming to your area for a conference. Or you can send an invitation to customers to come back a few months after check-out.
5. Marketing opportunities
Online booking platforms may increase traffic to your accommodation but that's about it. They cannot promote your unique services and benefits in an attractive way. For these platforms all accommodations are the same. On the contrary, through your website you can display your accommodation in such a way that potential visitors to love it. You have the ability to create even more positive impressions and positive reviewss. also, you can create a loyalty program or offer rewards to repeat customers and do targeted email marketing campaigns.
6. Highlight your brand
Brand building is very important for any business. It is the identity of the business and what sets it apart. Your website is an extension of your brand. You can choose the color combination, the font, photos and overall design to reflect your brand and stand out from the competition. On the contrary, in an online booking platform the brand that is displayed is the platform itself and not you.
Direct bookings at your accommodation are one great marketing tool and potentially a significant source of revenue. It allows you to you build relationships with your customers. It also allows you to avoid third-party booking platforms and therefore brokerage fees. You gain a database of your visitors and in general you are in control of your accommodation.
However, your website may not be living up to its full potential if you're not getting a lot of direct bookings. But there are many ways to increase your bookings. From search engine optimization to social media promotion. in this article, we will share them 11 better ways to get direct bookings at your property, so you can generate even more revenue directly.
10+1 Ways to increase direct bookings at your property
1.Use social media
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are great places to promote your property. You can upload photos, video of the property or area, information and,what's relevant.
You can also use social media to promote targeted ads and appear before the eyes of potential visitors. For example, if you are running a special offer or want to attract visitors during a "dead" season, you can target your ads to people who live in specific areas and are looking for rental accommodation.
Make sure your website is listed on all your social media profiles so they can find it directly. Interact with the people who comment on your profile. Create posts that they might want to share through their own profiles or with their friends. This will show your property to even more people.
2. Reward your customers
Loyalty programs are a great way to increase direct bookings at your property. You can offer discount for guests who book directly on your website or if they sign up for the loyalty program you offer. This is a great way to get people to they return repeatedly at your accommodation. You can also bid special privileges to members of the reward program, such as early check-in, late check-out or a complimentary bottle of wine. These little ones, extra goodies will make your guests feel that you value them and see them more personally and not just as a wallet! You can also promote your rewards program through email marketing and social media by including a link to your direct booking website.
3. Optimize for local SEO
To get more direct bookings from your website, visitors must be able to find him. That means yes you come up high in the search results….More specifically on the first page of Google! The way to do this is through search engine optimization (SEO). The higher your site appears in Google, the more likely people are to find it and click. There are many things you can do to improve your SEO, such as:
- List your accommodation on Google Business so they can find you with 'Search' and on Google Maps
- Make sure your Google Business listing contains enough images.
- Make sure the name, your business address and contact information is consistent across all social media platforms.
- Add alt text(alt text) in the images of your accommodation.
- Create a blog where you will write articles with keywords and content relevant to what a visitor to the site might be looking for.
- Optimize online catalogs and map data in Apple, Yelp, Bing, Google, TripAdvisor and other platforms.
4. Make it easy for visitors to book on your website
After attracting potential visitors to your website, you should make it easy for them to book accommodation. Include clear calls to action (CTA) on every page and make sure booking is easy. The fewer steps there are, the more likely people are to complete their booking. You don't want potential visitors to get confused, get frustrated and give up before they have a chance to book a stay at your property.
5. Offer multiple payment methods
Offering different payment options is extremely important. This way you make direct bookings more convenient for more guests. For example, you can offer the option to pay with credit card, PayPal or bank transfer. Providing more payment options makes it more likely that guests will complete their booking.
6. Use email marketing
Email marketing is the most powerful tool for re-engaging happy customers. So a very powerful tool additional revenue. It's a great way to stay in touch with past visitors.
The key to successful email marketing is automation. This saves time and allows you to set up email sending schedules to be consistent and to keep your guests warm. There are many different types of content you can include in your automated email campaign.
- Special offers and discounts
- Offers in reward programs
- Newsletters and updates
- Advice and tips about local events, attractions and activities
- Tips for planning a vacation
When setting up your automated campaign, you should decide how often you want to send emails and what kind of content you want to include. Weekly, monthly or quarterly;
By sending emails you stay in the mind of previous customers and give them a reason to visit you again if they wish to. They may also recommend you to friends or acquaintances on the occasion of an offer of yours in an email.
7. Create a blog
Having a blog on your website can serve you in many ways.
First of all you create content through articles that someone can search for in search engines. For example, someone is looking for outdoor activities in the area. If you have created an article with this content - and with good SEO- you can appear in the search results and the visitor clicks on the link that leads to your website. This means new potential customers, that if you earn them through the content and information you will provide them, it will be easier for them to book directly. Secondly, you create positive impression with the help and amount of information you provide. Thirdly, the blog gives you material to feed your social media and newsletters.
8. Use social proof
In other words, put reviews and reviews of past customers on your website.
One of the reasons visitors turn to accommodation booking engines(OTA) are the guest reviews and ratings. After all, not all of us would like to know what the place we are going to book for vacation is like; The easiest and most reliable way to do this is through third-party reviews.
The good reviews it's a very strong push, a great proof that someone is finally worth booking a stay at your property. also, enhance credibility and increase confidence to your business.
Advertisement it is never missing from your marketing strategy. If you want to stand out in a competitive environment, advertising is an additional weapon. In fact, today it is more easily accessible than ever to everyone. And we refer to advertising through social media. Through advertising campaigns on social media you can target exactly the audience you want. Social media platforms give you tons of options to find your ideal audience demographic, but also of interest, preferences etc. We are not against more traditional advertising methods either(forms, television etc.) if there is a budget. But keep in mind that they cost more and the audience that will see them is not necessarily your ideal customers.
10. Use UX
The more comfortable and beautiful your potential customer feels while browsing your website, the easier it is to book. And this is where UX comes in to do that job. The UH, commonly user experience, it is what will make the visitor feel at home on your site and connect more with you. Make sure the visitor can easily and quickly navigate your website. also, direct booking buttons should motivate him to take the next step.
It is extremely important that your isotope is optimized for mobile devices. With over the 80% of transactions to be done via mobile phone, you want to make it pleasant to navigate from there as well. Want the guest leaving-out reservation- to get positive impressions. Your website is the 'shop window' of your property and you want your shop window to be as beautiful and attractive as possible!
10+1. Use the booking platforms(OTA) for your benefit
OTAs like Airbnb and Booking.com are a powerful way to get in front of potential guests. Fees may apply, supplies and high competition but you can use them to your advantage. How; Make sure to showcase your brand as much as possible. Put your brand in the title of the listing and have your logo visible in photos. Experienced travelers know that it may be in their best interest to book your accommodation directly from you. Entering your information smartly will help them find you more easily.
How to start a direct booking website
A website, as we said, sets you apart from the competition. Not only are you seen as trustworthy, but you also gain the many benefits it offers – such as marketing opportunities, connecting with your audience, direct bookings and revenue. If you want to really have the reins of managing your accommodation, it is essential.
Maybe where to start your website is giving you a headache. Don't get lost! Start by gathering some facts that will help you. What makes your property stand out?; Why do visitors prefer you?; What audience are you targeting?; Is your accommodation luxury?; It is located in a winter destination and is preferred by winter sports enthusiasts; It is aimed at more alternative people; Create a profile that will help you target the people who are likely to become your customers. So, you will be able to use the right tools to speak to their heart, to come closer to you and finally make their reservation. From there, work with the right people(programmer, UX expert, business consultants, photographers etc.) that will work based on this data.
A direct booking system is not working, if your audience doesn't book! So make sure you know your audience!
All of the above are simple tools that provided you know who you're targeting will come and "click" to increase your direct bookings and revenue!
If you are struggling to do it yourself and want some help together we can look at your business needs and your accommodation profile. We can help increase your direct bookings. Do not hesitate to contact us.