Before talking about the tips to increase direct bookings, perhaps it is important to clarify what they are.
Direct reservations are those made by the guest directly to the accommodation without booking through OTAs (Booking, Airbnb, Expedia), or other types of 3rd parties.
We all know that direct bookings are super convenient for our accommodation, considering the following benefits: it helps you to maximize profits per booking, no commissions to be paid to OTAs or 3rd parties, it helps you build customer loyalty, among other points.
Check out these tips! They can help you improve your direct channel:
1- Be the first answering your client’s message
Yeah, we all know it seems obvious, unfortunately, on a daily basis, this can be a failure. If you receive an email, a WhatsApp, or Social Media message and it takes you a few hours to respond, then that client will surely book with your competitor, if they answer first.
Also, it’s important to clarify that your response must be clear, with enough information, and answering to what the client asks.
2- Have a window of your product
There are at least three important legs. It is super important to have a website, or at least a landing page where the client can find all the information needed, and the possibility of booking online (or at least sending a reservation request).
Secondly, social media, Facebook or Instagram, or both, are excellent showcases for your hotel or accommodation property. Of course, if you’re planning to add these channels, then you should also think about the strategy and the communication plan to follow.
The third leg is Google Business, we consider it a must in your channel. This tool will help your clients to find you on Google Maps, but also when they search for accommodation on Google, as well as being a great collector of your client´s reviews.
3- Mailing campaigns to be connected with your clients (or potential clients)
This is where databases play an important role. We suggest you start saving your clients’ emails (previously they should agree on receiving your communications not related to their reservations). Building a database will help you to get closer to your guests. Being able to send them an email when you have new rates, when you launch a new product, or when you want to thank them for choosing you on their vacation. These are all good opportunities to engage with them.
4- Implement an online booking engine on your website: of course that this will require a tech effort, but there are multiple tools to use for it. Offering online reservations on your website will help you to be available 24/7 without being 24 hours in front of the computer. In addition, it is an excellent strategy to implement promotions, offer the best-guaranteed rate, special discounts, and more.
If you have other lessons learned or good practices, please share them with us, so we all contribute to improving ourselves.