best hotel booking site booking engine commission-free bookings

Simple Ways to Attract Direct Bookings

Manu Sharma
Manu Sharma

Attract Direct Online Bookings For Your Hotel | Hotelogix

When hoteliers want to boost the profitability of their hotels, they look to their online presence. In today’s world, travelers are tech savvy. A full 83% of adults in the U.S. want to book their hotel online. Hotels need to adapt to their customer’s desires if they wish to increase bookings.

A hotel’s online presence has become the central focus for hotels that want to increase their direct bookings. By posting listings across several channels, and using hotel software such as channel management, hoteliers can gain more online visibility.

However, online visibility is only one piece of a hotel’s online presence. Hoteliers need to ensure their hotel’s direct website and marketing are fully optimized to gain the most online bookings possible.

Online Presence of Hotels

A hotel’s online presence is made up of several parts. The online presence of a hotel includes:

  • The hotel’s direct website
  • Listings across OTAs such as third-party booking and vacation home rental websites
  • Search engine optimization
  • Reviews from previous guests
  • And more

To ensure your hotel is as profitable as possible, you’ll want to pay attention to every facet of your online presence. A lacking online presence, even if it’s only in one or two areas, can negatively affect your overall bookings.

Relying on traditional methods will no longer yield the same results. As such, hoteliers need to deeply understand their hotel’s online presence and how to improve it. Learning how to amplify a hotel’s online presence will lead to more bookings and increased profits.

However, online bookings are still a new concept and can be intimidating for hoteliers to tackle. Below, we will highlight some of the most important facets of a hotel’s online presence, and how to get the most out of it.

OTAs and Metasearch Websites Vs. Direct Websites

Any hotel’s online presence should be comprised of two major parts: its direct website and its presence on third-party booking sites. Online travel agencies, or OTAs, are websites like Expedia.com that show listings from an array of nearby hotels.

When using an OTA, all the travelers must do is enter their travel dates, and preferred location, to see a list of available hotels in that area. OTAs are used often because they make the process of traveling to an unfamiliar location much easier for guests.

OTAs show hotels with comparable features, prices, and locations at a moment’s notice. These websites also allow customers to book their rooms without ever needing to visit the hotel’s direct website.

Due to this, your hotel’s available rooms must show up on OTA websites. Channel management software helps hoteliers list their available rooms across several OTAs.

If a potential guest is not using an OTA, they may use a search engine to find hotels near the location they’re traveling to. For this reason, it’s important to optimize your hotel’s presence on metasearch websites, like Google or Bing. Hoteliers can do this by using search engine optimization techniques on their direct websites.

With search engine optimization, hoteliers can ensure that when someone searches for hotels in their city, their hotel website pops up. Hoteliers can also optimize searches for certain amenities. For example, if someone is searching for hotels with a spa, and your hotel has a spa, you can use SEO to ensure your hotel shows up in the top results of that search.

The direct website is where all channels lead. For this reason, it’s important to have an attractive, informative, and user-friendly web page for your hotel. Your hotel’s direct website is a customer’s first impression of the property, so it’s important to make it a good one.

Web Booking Engines – Commission Free Bookings for Hotels

Although having hotel listings on OTAs and other third-party search sites is great, it has downsides. Sometimes OTA websites will charge a fee for bookings made through their website. Whenever possible, it’s wise to drive more customers to your direct website, where they can book a room without going through a middleman.

For people to be able to book directly from the hotel website, a WBE, or web booking engine, must be in place. WBEs allow people to book a room directly from your website, saving you from paying a commission on third-party bookings.

Your hotel must have an efficient WBE integrated into its webpage. Ideally, your WBE will be mobile-friendly, as so many customers book hotels from their smartphones. It’s also important that your WBE offers a seamless and quick experience, to prevent losing potential guests to other locations.

By using search engine optimization to drive guests to your website and implementing a WBE tool to make it simple for guests to book right from the website, hoteliers can boost bookings tremendously. Plus, it takes out the nuances associated with OTA bookings.

Optimizing Your Hotel Website for More Direct Reservations

Your hotel’s website is the first impression guests get, so it’s crucial to make it a positive one.

You should ensure your website represents your hotel in an honest and aesthetically pleasing way. What sets your hotel apart, whether it’s stellar on-site amenities or personalized concierge services, should be well represented on the website.

Above all, you want to make sure your website is easy to use. A glitchy website will turn away potential customers. Your website should be intuitive and seamless.

Your website should also be optimized to work just as great on mobile devices like smartphones. Since so many on-the-go customers use their smartphones to browse and book hotels today, your website must be built to work flawlessly on mobile browsers.

Your marketing team should focus not only on building a professional website but building a holistic brand for the hotel. This means creating social media pages, such as Facebook, for the hotel. Social media will extend your reach and allow you to attract more customers.

Combining Your Website and Web Booking Engine for Great Results

With the combination of a nicely designed website and an integrated WBE, your hotel will garner more direct bookings. Being able to increase direct bookings decreases your hotel’s dependency on OTAs for guests.

Though OTAs are great tools that attract more travelers to book at your hotel, direct bookings cost less. Also, when people book directly, they’re able to see all the things that make your hotel special. On an OTA, a prospective guest likely only sees a few pictures of their room and limited information on the hotel.

Bottom Line

Improving your hotel website results in more direct bookings. This includes integrating a WBE into your webpage, which allows folks to seamlessly book right then and there.

Your hotel’s online presence is the first impression you are giving to prospective guests. For this reason, it’s incredibly important to make your webpage flawless. Optimizing your hotel’s webpage not only results in more direct bookings but better brand awareness and more positive word of mouth.