Increasing direct bookings is an extremely powerful way to increase your revenue by saving on online travel agent commission.
With online travel agents taking more in commission each year, the power to drive new and returning guests to your website for direct bookings, or to call you to make a booking, is where you can get the biggest slice of the revenue pie.
In this article, we’re giving you some tips and tricks on how you can maximise direct bookings and with that your bottom line.
It’s natural for someone planning a getaway to try and get the best rate possible for their property of choice. So, if your direct booking rate is the lowest a potential guest can find for your accommodation - you're instantly more likely to secure that guest's booking with you directly. Getting the best rate by booking direct will also positively influence the guest perception.
To ensure potential guests find your property when they’re surfing the net, you’ll need to have a website that is optimised to show at the top of the search list.
To ensure your website motivates the person to make a booking on your website rather than go back to one of the channels, there are a few things you need to do to maximise the performance of your website.
So you've got the lowest price on your website compared to other channels, you've done work on your website and have started offering incentives to book direct, but what's next?
Promoting your business online is all about ROI (Return on Investment), or in the sphere of Digital Marketing - ROAS (Return on Ad Spend). First off, lets list the basics;
The above four are the most commonly used platforms to promote your business. Each platform works differently for each business and also industry. It's always best to trial each one out using similar objectives to make sure you are using the best stack of platforms to get results.
It's also really important to have Google Analytics installed on your website. Google Analytics (or also referred to as GA) is one of the attributes used to check whether your website is web standard compliant. Not having GA, means that your website isn’t up to modern web standards set by Google and others.
There is a bit to learn in terms of navigating Google Analytics and what the output of data actually means. But once you get familiar with the basics through some tutorials you will be able to advertise more efficiently and effectively.
Often we see that operators want to use marketing methods, but don't know where to start. We suggest either using an Agency (which can be expensive), a freelancer or learning it yourself (e.g. online courses, YouTube, and Google help. You can also use your local commerce division or other areas to get assistance which can sometimes be free.)
If you are paying someone else to do this for you, it’s worthwhile learning the basics and common terminology used. This will help you when engaging withan agency and it will assist you in determining whether you are getting a good return on investment.
Be active on Google My Business! This is important because it’s your business profile on Google. Google My Business provides a role in where your website ranks - with some data suggesting that the greater number of reviews you get, the better your website ranking will be.
Here you can manage your hours of operation (an important query often asked by guests), reviews, photos, and other business information such as location.
If you have a guest that has had an awesome stay and communicates this to you or your staff, suggest to them to leave you a nice Google review, or even better yet put it in your post-departure SMS.
Responding to reviews in a professional manner and making sure each one is personalised has shown a strong correlation to an increase in bookings and repeat guests - your business comes across as sincere and genuine and that you've taken time out of your day to reply to them.
A simple method of improving your direct bookings is to connect with some local businesses in your area. For example, you could promote a certain restaurant on your website and other platforms, and they return the favour. This can lead to a few extra bookings a month - as often most people would have already booked accommodation before they are in the area - but you never know and it really costs you nothing (as long as the businesses you're referring guess to are reputable).
With so much going on it can seem like too much to handle alongside running an accommodation business. The best approach is to take it step by step rather than trying to do everything at once. Assess the points we’ve listed above to see what your priority might be and then once that’s done tackle the next one.
Add your own methods and do your own research to make sure that what you do is ‘fit for purpose’ and meets the needs of your particular property. By doing this, you’ll be on a sure path to engaging more potential guests, getting more direct bookings, and increasing your revenue.
Note: Something you may not know, is that we also build websites. Many of our customers have Seekom built, fully managed websites which we maintain, including SEO management. If you’re interested in finding out more about this, get in touch.
Sign Up For Updates
Smarts to help you operate more effectively and efficiently. From guides of our systems and integrations to tips and tricks you can use every day - we've got you covered.
Copyright 2022 © Seekom Limited (NZ owned)