5 Magical Ways to Boost Your Hotel Direct Sales
The internet era has been affecting hotel industry in so many ways. From marketing side, hotels are pushed to find other distribution channel aside the conventional ones. From the service side, hotels are also pushed to adapt with technology in their operation. It’s not surprising then that the domination of online travel agents (OTA) could be a nightmare for hotel direct sales. The pressure from OTA seems to be impossible to be fought. It’s getting harder now for hotels to get direct booking to their own websites.
We can see that hotels these days are selling their rooms through unconventional channels compared to ten years ago. Ten years ago hotels can rely on conventional travel agents. But now that technology has been growing rapidly, that alone won’t help the business. The development of technology requires hotel to be creative to find new distribution channel; while keep boosting the existing ones. They are forced to open their hands to the penetration of OTA, while struggling to get direct sales for their own. This situation can be a toxic for business if you don’t know how to play. Let Caption help you to look a little deeper about this on this in the explanation below.
Why is this happening?
For the past five years, OTA has been the prominent player in modern hotel industry. The dramatic shifting from manual to digital has been pushing industries to adapt to the digitalization itself. On the process, getting hotel direct sales are almost impossible now because the domination of the OTA on the distribution process. Then why is this happening?
Regulation from OTA
The low counts of hotel direct sales might caused by the regulation from the OTA. Having contract with OTA doesn’t always mean happy ending for your hotel. The high commission can be a dangerous trap for you to get the optimum revenue. Aside from that, some OTAs have special regulation that not allow hotels to have lower price. This prevents hotels to offer the lower price than the OTA site. And sure, that could be a real obstacle for hotels to get direct sales because customers will always seek for the cheapest one.
Other factor that might contribute to low hotel direct sales is the unoptimized website. An unoptimized website can mean so many thing, but the most important one is its accessibility. You can’t count on your website to drive direct booking for your hotel when it’s not even optimized. The long time for loading is the last thing your customer need when they open your website. That’s why it is important for you to make your website optimized to prevent customers from being bored and annoyed by your website.
Read our article about ‘optimizing hotel website’ here.
Unoptimized booking engine
Last but not least, the most important one to avoid when you want to boost your hotel direct sales is surely the unoptimized booking engine. Booking engine is the bridge between you and your customer in making a reservation. Whether it’s embedded on your website or not; making sure that it works is essential. This is the media for your customer to book a room at your hotel. And sure, you will not boost your direct sales when you don’t even have an optimized booking engine on your own.
Read our article about ‘important features in booking engine’ here.
What you can do to boost your hotel direct sales?
After learning the factors that make your hotel direct sales are lowering, we can move to the next step. Avoiding these factors is one thing, but do something about it is also important. You can actually prevent these things from happening by planning the right marketing plan for your hotel. Here are our tips on boosting your hotel direct sales through these simple steps:
OTA is undoubtedly a powerful source for hotel distribution. The easiness of using OTA for hotel booking is the reason why most people are using it. However, the rising of metasearch is also important to be considered. If OTA is listing hotels inside their website, metasearch are listing OTA instead. This is the best way for customer to compare prices between one site to another with no fuss. And sure, this means that price transparency is everything on this game.
You can utilize the popularity of metasearch by also listing your hotel on their site. As we know, metasearch compare price of one particular hotel room in so many websites. You can take this advantage by putting your hotel’s website on this list among the OTAs you are listed to. Not only that you can promote your hotel’s website through this media, you can also prove the audience that you have the best deal. When you know how to utilize metasearch as your distribution channel, you will no longer see it as a threat for your business.
The thing about using search engine optimization (SEO) to boost your hotel direct sales is that it works in a very broad range. As we know, search engine itself is dominating the internet universe. The high use of internet is in line with the use of search engine in our everyday life. When we want to know about something, we will put the keyword and search it on the searching engine, right? And this is where SEO is playing its game.
SEO is enhancing the probability of your website to appear on the first page of the search result by using some optimizations on it. That could be the use of the right keyword, the additional meta description, or other thing that may optimize the website itself. You can take the benefit of this scheme and trying to make your hotel’s website to appear on the first page.
Read our article about ‘basic SEO practice for hotel’ here.
After enhancing the search result, you can step into the next step to boost your hotel direct sales. This is the time for you to understand how search engine marketing (SEM) works. Just like SEO, SEM make the use of search engine and take the advantage of it. But unlike SEO, SEM use the paid scheme to make your website to appear on the first page of the search result.
As we know, when searching for particular keyword on the search engine, some Ads will appear on the top list. This is where SEM take place on the internet universe. They give place for particular websites to appear on the top list of the search result by paying some money. The scheme might be varied for each search engine, but most of them requires you to pay some amount of money to get that precious position on the search result.
After playing with SEO, SEM and metasearch, you can move on to the next step of boosting your hotel direct sales. When you have mastered these three steps above, now you need to do some reputation management. This is important to keep your online reputation on the eyes of the customers. In the world where online review means everything, boosting your online reputation is crucial. Not only that it will increase your business reputation, this is also important to enhance your reliability.
There are so many things to do reputation management for your hotel. But you can focus by maintaining the review that you got on the review sites. Make sure that you always respond to customer’s review. If they experience some problems, make sure that you make amends and fix the problem. Post-staying satisfaction means everything when you are trying to maintain your hotel reputation. That’s why, always make sure that you build the image that you listen to your customer.
Read our article about ‘boosting guest experience’ here.
In the era where online reputation sometimes means more than your actual reputation, you need to shift your action towards it. Brand protection means the different way when we are talking about hotel management in the modern days. Just like reputation management, protecting your brand is also important to build the brand image that you want for your hotel. You surely don’t want to damage your brand reputation and cost your business some potential loss, right?
Among all the things you can do to protect your brand, you can start from this simple step. You can start by registering your trademark in Google. This is critical to make sure that you are the only eligible one to promote your brand via Google. Aside from that, this step will also prevent Google from advertising other parties to use your brand for their Ads. Once you register your trademark to Google, they will block other Ads that using your brand.