The hotel industry has been struggling to fight for the share market. The hegemony of big chain hotel is no longer having effect on this battlefield because now we fight with the huge influence of OTA’s. To drive direct booking into your hotel seems like a pretty hard job because your website is nothing compared to the power of OTA’s. But is it the end of direct booking for hotels?
It is undeniable that OTA’s have a big role in defending the hotel industry from the trouble of modern business competition. The wide range of customer reach is the salient point of why most of hotels can’t deny the temptation of putting their business on OTA’s website. The promising billboard advertising from these OTA’s is more than enough reason for some hotels to rely their revenue on the booking from these third parties. The domination of OTA’s in online market has been proven to be the savior for some hotels to get revenue. However, the expensive commission rate sometimes means less revenue even when you have your rooms fully booked.
This problem is faced by many of hotels standing under the hood of OTA’s. Even though at some points the expensive commission sounds like a logical thing compared to the promising coverage, it’s still a barrier for some hotels to get the revenue they deserve. The complicated commissioning system on the OTA’s is also a big problem for some small hotels to get their business promoted. For the most of the time, joining OTA’s is not the instant answer for your hotel business because it’s hard to reach the first page of the OTA’s website.
When you’ve been relying your hotel business on the hand of the OTA’s, trying to drive direct booking from your own website sounds like an impossible mission. Some OTA’s even forbid the hotels to offer lower price than the ones written on the OTA’s website. This surely left the hotels no choice other than sourcing their revenue on the OTA’s alone.
But there’s still a hope to achieve the better revenue, even for small and independent hotels. You can still try to get your properties independent from the OTA’s and drive direct booking right from your own website. This movement is even initiated by some big chain hotels that persuade customers to book directly from their website. Hilton as the representation of well-established hotel even launched their well-managed campaign titled ‘Stop Clicking Around’ to draw more customers for direct booking by promoting the lower price from the OTA. Here you can see that even big chain hotels are threatening by the domination of the OTA’s and they fight back to gain independence from the shade of these third parties.
How can you drive direct booking into your own website?
Driving more customers for direct booking means more than just improving your website. Among all of hotel direct booking strategies, the most important one is indeed to make your website representative for your business. But it’s just not about that. You need to set a well-prepared strategy to win your business back.
1. Simplify your website
Improving your website means a lot of things to do then. You need to build your website on the stance that your customer will be comfortable in using that to get more information about your hotel, and hopefully they can peacefully book room from that as well. It means that you have to get a great yet simple design to avoid your customer to get lost among all the pages and the complicated site directory. Avoid to use the complicated design that frustrate your customer.
2. Put tons of photos
When you try to drive direct booking from your customer, make sure that they have the perfect picture of how your hotel looks like. Display the photos of every corner of your hotel to give them the complete picture of how they will feel when they stay there. Don’t be afraid to invest on good photographer and good photos because it means a lot for your potential customer. Give at least 8 photos of every type of the room to give them a full picture of the hotel room they’re about to book.
3. Make your website mobile-friendly
One of the advantages of putting your hotel on the OTA is that they have a well mobile-friendly version of their website. Mobile-friendly website means more potential customer to reach because your website can perform well in different devices. This is why making your website become more mobile-friendly is a must when you want to drive direct booking into your website. Even though it sounds like a lot of effort, it worth the money because you can reach more and more customer then.
4. Make your website fast and responsive
The biggest turn of while booking online is the laggy website. The more your customer needs to wait to load the page, the more of the possibility for them to abandon the booking. These customers will surely move into your competitor’s websites or even maybe to the OTA’s because your website doesn’t perform well. Here’s why making your website fast and responsive is mandatory. Consult with your developer on how to make your website run faster.
5. Contents & SEO are mandatory
The ultimate trick to increase direct hotel booking is by creating great contents on your website. Don’t forget to mind the SEO side of these contents to make sure that your website can crawl to the top page of the search result. Try to find the compatible keywords with your hotel business and generate content from these keywords. A great and responsive website means nothing when your customer can’t find your website on the first page of the search result.
6. Take care of your website’s traffic
As we can see, SEO means a lot to your website because it can put your website on the top page of the search result. It also means that you should take care of your website’s traffic. Make sure that whenever you share contents, it drives the traffic back to your website. This will increase your page rank and helping your website to reach the top page of the search result. It doesn’t mean that you should push the traffic heavily, you just need to make sure that you have enough traffic.
7. Equip your website with great booking engine
Last but not least, a great and mobile-friendly website means nothing when you don’t have a good booking engine. This is the key to drive direct booking into your hotel’s website. Make sure that you equip your hotel’s website with a good booking engine. Good booking engine not only means that your customer can book peacefully from your website page, it also means that the bookings can be proceed correctly.
To drive direct booking into your website doesn’t mean that you should abandon the helpful use of OTA’s. It is true that putting our hotel in OTA’s can really help the business. But why not driving the booking into our own website and get the commission-free revenue from it?