Unlocking the Secrets to Boosting Online Hotel Bookings: A Comprehensive Guide to Drive More Direct Bookings

Unlocking the Secrets to Boosting Online Hotel Bookings: A Comprehensive Guide to Drive More Direct Bookings


The hospitality industry has its own set of challenges. Bringing more and more bookings is yet another daunting task. The million-dollar question remains- "How to increase online hotel booking? Direct bookings are done directly through your website and do not involve collaboration with any third-party website or person. In this blog, we will look at various ways that help generate incremental direct bookings. 

Understanding direct bookings and how to increase online hotel booking? 

Direct bookings are an integral part of a hotel's distribution mix. A well-planned direct booking strategy helps in the following ways:

  • Reduces the total cost of customer acquisition
  • Increases occupancy
  • Improves profitability as it eliminates commission to third parties
  • Enhances brand loyalty
  • Gives hotel direct access to customers data

Let us dive into some of the concrete tactics that can help you capture more online direct bookings. 

Optimize hotel website

Firstly, make your website easily accessible and navigable for customers. Your website should feature the unique selling points of your brand, compelling them to make a booking. Highlight the scenic surroundings of your hotel's location and point out all the wonderful services that you have to offer. 

Secondly, enhance the loading speed of your website to prevent bounce-backs and offer a smooth user experience. Your website should be mobile-friendly as well. In fact, a mobile-friendly hotel website is inevitable these days. All this will guarantee good traffic to your website, thus leveraging direct bookings.

Integrate a booking engine

Even with a responsive website at hand, you can lose your booking game if your website is not integrated with a booking engine. There is no point in bringing the audience to your website, and after all the browsing, they cannot make a booking. It is imperative to integrate with a powerful booking engine so that your visitors can check room availability and make a direct booking. 

Here are some of the vital features that you must look for while adopting a booking engine:

  • It should be responsive and easy to use
  • It should have an efficient rate management system 
  • It should allow easy creation of packages, promotions, offers, and deals
  • It should have multilingual and multi-currency feature
  • It should give comprehensive reports on reservations and bookings, along with an insight into guest preferences
  • It should automatically send out confirmation emails after reservation/modification/cancellation done by guests

Search engine optimization

If you want to know the sure-shot answer to "How to increase direct online hotel booking?" then you must know about search engine optimization. You need to invest in optimizing your hotel website for a higher ranking in search engines. An effective hotel SEO strategy will ensure maximum visibility of your website to customers. Once your website attains a feature on the top results of search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc., your customers can easily find you and land on your website to directly book with you. 

Some of the key SEO strategies specific to the hotel industry are:

  • Conduct keyword research- This will help you identify terms and phrases that are specific to what your target audience is searching for. Google Keyword Planner is a popular keyword research tool. Optimize the content on your website with appropriate keywords.
  • Build high-quality backlinks - These links are placed on other websites of your industry so that people can be directed to your website. For this, you need to connect with other websites and ask them to publish a guest post of yours that will feature a backlink to your site. 
  • Create engaging content - This greatly helps in attracting and retaining an audience on your website. Content can include blogs, room features, amenities, videos, guest interviews, etc. 
  • Use social media - Regularly post engaging content on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. This will help in directing traffic to your website and improve your search engine ranking.
  • Improve online ratings and score-  Encourage your customers to leave reviews on online review sites such as Booking.com and TripAdvisor. This will help create a positive brand reputation, leading to a higher rank in search engines. 

Effective Call-To-Action 

Your target audience has arrived on your website and browsed through its beautiful gallery and detailed service pages. However, it is still an unfinished task if the audience is not directed to a booking page yet. An attractive Call-To-Action is what you need to accomplish this. This refers to the booking box or the "book now" button. So invest in a catchy Call To Action copy on hotel websites so that that will attract visitors to make a booking.

Here are a few points of consideration to come up with effective CTAs:

  • Copy - Make the message clear and highlight its value. Your audience should know what they are getting. CTA buttons should have complete and clear sentences such as "Book Now," "Receive Special Offers," "Check Availability," etc. 
  • Design - Once you have finalized the CTA copy, you need to create the button. Choose the right colors that contrast well with the website's color palette so that the CTA button pops out well. Opt for a perfect size that stands out without distracting completely from your page content.
  • Placement - Consider both the flow of the page and your customer's journey through your website before finalizing the right placement for your CTA. The CTA should appear in a space that seems natural for its placement, and customers should feel that they have arrived organically at it. 

Leverage social proof

Shift resources towards garnering positive reviews and highlighting them on your websites. Potential guests imperatively check hotel reviews, ratings, rankings, client testimonials, etc, before making a booking. So augment social proof to enable guests to develop a positive feeling towards your hotel and its services. After all, this is an integral part of online reputation management for hotels. 

Use widgets and tools

Increase the possibilities of converting your website audience into bookers by engaging with them at every stage. For example, you can highlight pop-ups such as "discounts for direct hotel bookings". Travelers do prefer perks and offers while making a booking. 

Opt for a booking engine that offers built-in plug-and-play widgets, including quick notifications, pop-ups, and welcome boxes, to name a few. This is a great way to engage with visitors, pump up their curiosity, and finally make a booking. 

Leverage chatbots and instant support

Become a savior for your audience by addressing all their queries then and there. Install chatbots on your site to help visitors with their doubts and support them at every step. If visitors do not get instant replies to their queries, they are likely to leave your website. Chatbots aid in providing much-needed support to guests to enable them to make quick decisions. 

Use metasearch engines to your benefit

Metasearch engines gather information regarding the availability and rates of hotels from various OTAs and websites and compile them in a single dashboard. So make sure you get your hotel listed on popular metasearch engines to enhance your online visibility. Once your audience finds your hotel's website rate on metasearch engines and if it matches their price point, they will definitely book directly with you. 

Targeted marketing strategies and personalized guest experiences

Today’s cloud-based Hotel PMS lets you access detailed guest data and helps you to know your customer segments, their likes and dislikes, and roll out targeted marketing campaigns. This helps in attracting more guests via increased direct bookings. 

The strategies curated here are just the tip of the iceberg. No rule is set in stone when it comes to generating incremental direct online hotel bookings. The crux here is to be loud and clear enough in educating the audience on the kind of benefits they will gain if they book directly with you.