6 Innovative Ways to Increase Direct Hotel Bookings

Kshitij Chaudhary
2 min read
April 17, 2024

Direct booking for your hotel will always give you the best bang for your buck, and so, constantly increasing their share should never be dropped off from your radar. However, doing so isn’t necessarily a piece of cake. From a well-planned digital marketing strategy to personalized discounts, a lot goes into improving your direct hotel bookings. 

In this article, we’ll offer the best ways you can achieve this, without obliterating your budget. So let’s jump right in.

1. Adopt to Technology: Make Use of Generative AI Chatbots

generative ai chatbot

Massive amounts of hotel revenue is lost every month around the world thanks to missed sales opportunities. It’s understandable as well. Your sales agents can’t be available for all calls, while some opportunities are lost because of a lack of customer data and the required customization. At other times, it might take too long for an agent to reply.  

As you might have guessed, generative AI chatbots like Brance tackle this problem by automating your sales workflows to better meet your business goals. Specifically, they help you by:

1. Automating your sales follow-ups, leading to a higher conversion.

2. Instantly replying to your guest queries on social media apps like WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, etc., in a human-like tone.

3. Upselling your confirmed bookings for increasing your Revpar.       

4. Automates your workflow for OTA reviews and feedback from your happiest customers. 

2. Offer Personalized Service, Discounts and Coupons

Gift

Think of the last time you had a great experience at a place. We can bet that you felt welcomed, and you were dealing with a well-trained staff or people; people with a mastery in comms skills specifically.

No industry is perhaps more critical where this skill is more important. Indeed, a well-trained hospitality staff can make or break your guest’s satisfaction and experience for their length of stay. 

It’s no wonder, then, that a rude hotel staff can account for even losing your old and loyal customers. 

Coupons and discounts are also something that most customers love, and which will ultimately lead to a better brand perception in their minds.

3. Give Best Price Guarantee on Your Direct Bookings 

Hotel direct Booking

A best price guarantee can bring down feelings of skepticism of your customers and build long-term trust. All the top OTAs have implemented it and so have all the big hotel brands like Hyatt, Taj, and so on. 

A best price guarantee does what it says on the tin–it gives your customers a guarantee on the best prices for a booking. This is how it generally works: your guest makes a booking from you, but then they find a cheaper option for the same room and amenities somewhere else, usually on an OTA. And that’s when you do a price guarantee, offering your guests a room for the same price they found elsewhere.

To make your offer more attractive, we suggest you offer a price that’s 5 to 10% lower than the competitor. Do this and you’re bound to grow your regular and long-term guest list.

4. Build Your Own Loyalty Program   

While it’s always great to get new customers, nurturing older ones is far cheaper. Indeed, that’s what the data from Social Tables points to as well: acquiring a new guest will cost you 5 to 8 times more than retaining an existing one.

A loyalty program will solve your woes here. In brief, a loyalty program is a strategy by which companies try to retain their old clients by discounts, coupons, and other rewards to make them repeat customers. Unsurprisingly, they are very common in the hospitality industry as well–with everyone from hotels to OTAs offering programs of their own.

So build a tailored loyalty program of your own–offer them additional discounts, coupons, or rewards that make sense as per your property and booking, creating a long-lasting relationship with them. 

5. Adopt a Comprehensive Marketing Strategy        

Marketing Strategy

Let’s get one thing clear. You’re not winning an online turf war with OTAs, which currently possess the market share of online bookings. OTAs spend a mammoth on their online marketing budgets, and so, dominate the search engine search results. Therefore, you need a strategy that’s comprehensive, covering as many channels as possible.

A well-planned hotel marketing strategy will help you avoid problems of such sort, leading to a higher share of direct bookings. While our linked guide will give you a detailed breakdown, here are some pointers to keep in mind in the meanwhile:

5.1. Partner with Local Organizations and NGOs:

Joining hands with nearby places of interests puts you in front of people you’d otherwise miss out. For instance, lots of guests like to travel to popular local places like theme parks, art galleries, etc., and if you’re offering a discount or coupon for the same, you’re more likely to win people over.
Similarly, by placing your ads on these local businesses, you get a chance to advertise to more people. 

5.2. Run Paid Ads:

Almost all online platforms like Facebook, Google, and Instagram, offer paid ads of their own. When you opt for paid ads on any platform, you get to come on top of the search results for the said platform.

This, in turn, helps you reach out to and convert people you otherwise wouldn’t, leading to a higher revenue. In the hotel industry you can also run paid campaigns on OTAs, which can then lead to a higher revenue. 

Expedia for instance lets you run ads on its platform called Expedia Media Solutions, which then gives you access to all of its regular million customers. With the right offering, you can even offer these customers your own direct booking.   

Read Also - Hotel Marketing Plan

5.3. Know Your Target Audience

While it’s important to market yourself on as many channels as possible, it’s no use if you’re not reaching the right people. Think of all the useless ads that are thrown in front of you daily–both online and offline–that you instantly skip.
Pretty annoying, right? 

Now think of your customers feeling the same way about your messaging. Not only do you risk irating people online, you are practically wasting your marketing budget as well.

Honing in on your target audience will prevent this from happening, give you more options and let you reach the people that are more likely to respond to your messaging. Not only do you avoid annoying people and saving your marketing costs, you also stand a higher chance to make the final conversion.

So identify your target audience, divide them up into relevant groups and then run targeted campaigns to every group.

5.4. Adopt a Social Media Strategy 

A hotel social media strategy is not only a part of all hotel marketing plans, it’s also a necessity on its own in the 21st century. A social media strategy for your hotel can help you:

  1. Increase your hotel’s brand awareness through original, relatable content.
  2. Improve your visibility among a huge crowd of competitors.
  3. Catalog your hotel’s amenities and experiences on offer to a wide section of people.
  4. Collaborate with travel influencers and food experts to improve your credibility.  
  5. It’s a great channel to answer guest queries or doubts.

So make sure you fit in all the latest social media marketing tactics in your hotel marketing plan.  

6. Invest in a CRM, CRS, and Other Hotel Systems

With the rapid technological changes, a lot has changed for the hotel industry in the past few decades. Things that were once done manually now take just a few clicks, leading to far higher collaboration and efficiency.

So if you’re looking to increase your online bookings, you cannot neglect getting on the tech tide and employ a new technological stack for your company. Here are few tools that you need to get yesterday:

1. CRM: Short for customer relationship management, a CRM is a tool that stores all the interactions or queries your customers make with your company. It acts as a single repository to store all the data from different departments like Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service. It’s no wonder, then, that many sales professionals think a CRM can result in a 300% increase in conversions, as per Pipeline.

You have many options to pick from Zoho, HubSpot, ZenSoft, etc. So make sure you pick one and add a CRM to your strategy.

2. CRS: A Central Reservation System, or CRS for short, acts as a central repository for your hotel’s inventory, their availability, and rates in real time. 

To put it briefly, it helps you avoid overbooking by keeping your partners like OTAs informed about your room capacity, simultaneously updating your front office information, etc.

Pegasus, TravelClick and Windsurfer are some of the biggest options you can pick from.

Apart from CRS and CRM, there are other handy tech solutions like PMS, digital payments, etc., that will bring you on a level with other OTAs and hotels. Depending on your specific needs, a hotel consultant can help you sort out your required tech stack. So make sure you adapt all the right tools for your hotel tech stack.

Increase Your Direct Bookings to Increase Your Total Revenue 

Increasing your hotel revenue is a constant activity. You have to keep experimenting with new ways and methods that emerge with time, and then adapt them to your individual marketing strategy.

Follow the above tactics and you’re bound to increase your direct bookings and hotel revenue.

Kshitij Chaudhary

Kshitij founded Brance with the vision of helping hoteliers increase their direct bookings using AI. Over the last ten years, he has led the Marketing and Growth of several technology organizations and start-ups such as BCG, Shuttl, House of Beauty, etc.

He also loves traveling and sports.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is First Response Time important in inside sales?

First Response Time holds a great importance in inside sales because it influences customer satisfaction. Ultra-fast responses improve the chances of potential leads getting converted into paying and loyal customers.

What are the consequences of a delayed first response in inside sales?

A delay in First response time can result in missed opportunities, customer frustration, and a negative impact on conversion rates. Potential leads may lose interest or shift to competitors when experience a delay in response time.

What role does technology play in reducing first response time?

Technology plays a vital role in reducing first response time through automation. AI-driven chatbots streamline the communication process and enables faster interactions.

Why is First Response Time important in inside sales?

First Response Time holds a great importance in inside sales because it influences customer satisfaction. Ultra-fast responses improve the chances of potential leads getting converted into paying and loyal customers.

What are the consequences of a delayed first response in inside sales?
What role does technology play in reducing first response time?

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