Receiving direct bookings means creating a direct relationship with your guest. Getting that relationship off to a good start will definitely increase your chances of getting good reviews and hopefully you’ll gain a loyal customer for years to come.
But how can you get more direct bookings, since the trend is for the majority of travellers to go straight to the bigger OTA’s? Let’s look at a few simple improvements you can start making straight away.
1. Have an Easy to Understand Website
When people arrive at your website they want it to be understandable and simple to navigate. Make sure you provide your guests with helpful information about your accommodation and add high-quality pictures so you can promote your business in the best possible way. Read our interview with a real estate photographer who shared her favourite advice on how you can best showcase a property. Given that so many guests now do their research and booking via their cells and tablets it’s vital that your website is mobile-friendly so that as many people as possible can access it.
2. Use Call to Action Buttons
Use call to action buttons such as ”Gallery”, ”Contact us”, ”Rooms”, and the most important one, ”Book Here”. The “book now” button can be positioned in many places like the top menu or alternatively as a popup window on the homepage and at the bottom of your website. A clear call to action button that works and takes you to the right place is important if you want your visitors to book direct.
3. Get a Booking Engine
Once a guest has made up their mind to book with you it’s important they can follow all the way through to the booking confirmation. And for them to do that on your website you’ll need a booking engine. A booking engine makes it possible for guests to easily and safely make a booking directly on your website. They’ll be able to see which rooms are available, they can use a discount code if they have one and finally make their payment.
“A clear call to action button that works and takes you to the right place is important…”
4. Offer Good Discounts
In order to catch the eye of their travellers OTA’s display as many offers as they can. Why not try the same trick and entice your customers withs perhaps a discount code or savings for guests that book direct. It could be offers like room upgrades, breakfast included, free wifi, a sea view, free cancellations or changes. Make it worth your guests while to book directly via your website.
5. Promote Your Website
If you want direct bookings people need to be able to find your website. To maximise your visibility you’ll need to know your audience. When you know who to target it will be easier to customise your ads so they’ll reach the right people and you’ll know where to promote them. You can also use your connection to OTA’s to strengthen your online presence with the Billboard Effect. This additional benefit will increase traffic to your site at no added cost to you. See how you can use this to your best advantage by reading our previous article Grow Your Business with the Billboard Effect.