An important on-going subject is to improve direct online booking conversions for hoteliers. The question is how do we do that? How do we compete against the big OTAs’ websites How do we increase our visibility? How do we make our websites easier to manage for the potential clients and above all how do we make it more interesting?
Those are the questions that we all ask ourselves and our teams. The answers that sometimes we get are not what we would like to hear and they depend on whom we are asking! According to this article from eHotelier nowadays the average abandonment of hotel websites is 77% and it seems that the marketers are the only ones to blame. Let’s do not give all the fault to marketers, at the present time the potential clients are no longer easy to influence as they used to. They like an extreme varieties of offers, but simple to understand. They spend a lot of time on the internet, browsing many websites, but they prefer the ones straightforward to manage, with a clear process. And the fact is that our potential clients they do want they are looking for, because somewhere they will find it and our job is be that “somewhere”.
Here five specific areas where we can improve our direct conversion:
- Avoid extra administration charges that OTAs will not have, and if there are fees out of our control like the city taxes (in selected countries), better to show them upfront and not just before the check-out, it might make the potential client leave and book more likely via an OTA.
- Maintain an updated content according to the season, promotions should reflect what the location and property can offer during a specific time of the year. Small hotels tend to leave in the content summer and winter offers at the same time, based on the excuse that they do not know when the guest is going to book.
- Present an on-site re-engagement message, a lastminute promotion, added value or special offer that re-gain the potential guest’s attention, before leaving you site unsatisfied.
- Do not over-compensate with too many empty and meaningless advertisements, offer some added values instead.
- Follow up after the guest’s departure with new promotions or added values that OTAs will not offer.
Easy said than done or at least to see real great results at the end; nothing is left to chance, if we do not even try!