There’s no doubt that the internet has now become the dominant source of bookings. Hotels have long realized that a strong presence in the internet is imperative to remain competitive today. However, many independent hoteliers will create profiles on OTA channels and leave it at that – this is not the right approach!
While OTAs have connected remote properties with travelers from distant locations, they do charge massive commissions and their regulations can be restrictive. By adopting better strategies, hotels can benefit from the massive exposure generated by OTAs as well as their own booking platforms to get the best of both worlds.
Best Available Rate
It’s your hotel’s official website – it has to have the best prices available on the internet! If you have agreements with your current partners that don’t permit you to offer a lower rate, be certain that your prices aren’t higher than an external platform. Implement revenue management strategies as well in order to ensure that your property is always displaying the best possible rates at anytime, regardless of the season. It’s unquestionable that you provide your customers with the best possible rates on your site!
Merely having a website is no longer enough – ensuring that it’s specifically optimized to fit on all screens is extremely important today. Mobile use is escalating as more and more guests are turning to this platform to make reservations, so if your site isn’t responsive enough, guests will just switch to an OTA site that is! Pay attention to your site’s design and the placement of call-to-actions as well. Needless to say, your booking engine must also be optimized for mobile.
Support Major Languages
English should not be the sole language your hotel’s site is available in – when you expect to attract travelers from around the world, it’s necessary to prepare for them as well! The very essence of hospitality is accommodation, and accommodating as many languages as you can will positively reinforce your property’s brand in the guest’s mind.
Descriptive & Illustrative
According to a number of marketing surveys, guests usually visit a hotel’s website after seeing it on an OTA – this gives you an ideal opportunity to generate direct bookings while taking advantage of the immense exposure generated by the online agencies! Most guests will visit your website to get more information about the property or view images, so it’s mandatory that you’ve updated your website with all the relevant information you can before-hand.
Search Engine Optimization
Everyone’s aware of SEO but it’s surprising to note the number of properties that don’t implement comprehensive optimization strategies. Given that the internet is the best source of direct bookings today, hoteliers should implement fully-fledged SEO strategies than include back-linking, keyword research, web-page optimization and so on.
Incorporate these strategies as soon as possible, if you haven’t already – depending heavily on just OTA bookings can be detrimental to your business in the long run! Establishing a steady stream of direct revenue is the way to go, especially with online agencies tightening their grip on hotel partners.