Direct bookings through your small hotel’s website are the best type of bookings you can get. They’re easy to execute for you and your customers, and best of all they are commission free. Although booking sites are necessary to promote your business to a wide audience, you should get as many free direct bookings as possible. Read on to discover the ultimate tricks to getting more direct bookings.
1. Don’t leave bookings to fate
If the aim of the game is to get direct bookings, you want to make the process as easy as possible. Your staff may be great at replying to emails and following up enquiries with phone calls but nothing compares to booking in real time. Utilise a booking engine so that your guests can book when they want to, and get that confirmation instantaneously if they so desire.
2. Get connected
Your booking engine, together with your front desk software and channel manager, are your main protection against double bookings. Double bookings are bad because they incur a penalty if you’ve booked through an OTA, and worse yet, annoy your guests. It’s one thing to have to cancel their booking online, but another thing to have them turn up at your property when there are no rooms available. Not only is it a hard situation to manage, but it damages your brand. Your integrated products will also protect against rate disparity across your booking channels which confuse your customers and discredits your hotel.
3. First impressions count
Picture a potential customer who has heard about your hotel through a friend. They’re going online to check out the site and potentially book a room. If your site is sluggish and outmoded with blurry pixelated images, they’re most likely going to click away. But if your website looks good, they’re going to get a good first impression of your hotel and be more likely to book. Don’t underestimate the value of a professionally designed website with professional photography. This investment will pay for itself by giving you more direct bookings.
4. Be mobile
In today’s day and age, not only do most people shop, browse and book online, they do these things via mobile. If your site isn’t mobile responsive, it’ll be a pain to use, and it’ll cause customers to click away. A secondary repercussion is that the site will get a terrible ranking on Google search because Google, like any reasonable person, prefers mobile responsive sites. Make your website mobile responsive and increase your direct bookings.