Direct bookings bring increased value to both your property and guests due to the seamless booking process, aesthetic feel of the site and ability to save money. Guests are able to experience a higher quality of service and are able to reap the benefits of becoming a member, which equates in more loyal customers when booking directly from your website. Properties are realizing the value in increasing direct bookings and are encouraging their guests to book direct by providing mobile solutions, effortless booking and promotions through their websites. With that being said, here are five ways your business can increase direct bookings.
- Save money on commission fees– While online travel agents (OTAs), such as Expedia or Priceline, are appealing to guests as they can book everything at discounted rate when they bundle flights and hotel, the benefits are not as great as they once were for hotels. With commission fees reaching up to 30% of revenue, which a property could have kept if the reservation was booked directly, the cost is becoming increasingly unaffordable. By leveraging solutions such as WorldNXT Online Booking Engine, which can be directly embedded on your property’s website with a flat subscription fee, your hotel will no longer be susceptible to ongoing price increases as bookings rise. Whereas with OTAs, as bookings for your property go up, so does the amount of money you’re paying. Another benefit of direct booking for hotels is the strong communication between the online booking engine and their PMS system, which assures specific requests and preferences will be executed correctly.
- Customize your product offering – Guests trust a brand that they are familiar with and appreciate a seamless and aesthetic direct booking site. Direct booking engines, such as WorldNXT, allow each property to customize and brand their booking engine to match their website, which allows guests to book directly from their website with a couple of effortless clicks. In addition, mobility is a high priority to guests, as they want to be able to book from anywhere, at any time, and from any device. With WorldNXT, guests can easily do so, as the solution directly integrates into your mobile responsive website so that visitors will have the same great experience across any of their devices.
- Boost loyalty through direct booking – When guests book directly through a property’s website, they are encouraged to sign up for a loyalty program to gain points and gain access to exclusive benefits. This is less appealing for the millennial generation in comparison to the older generations as they tend to appreciate price and experience over staying loyal to one brand. However, for common travelers, loyalty programs are a high priority and they are more likely to stay at the same hotel due to their membership status. Guests are only able to gain points when booking directly, and therefore, they tend to avoid to OTAs. When analyzing loyalty programs there are specific categories that matter to guests when joining a membership loyalty program. Guests look for payback rate, first useful elite level, total chain rooms, price benefits, point value retention, credit card payback and airline partners. By offering a loyalty program, your property can directly influence direct bookings and keep guests coming back to your site on a regular basis.
- Convert Online Travel Agents into direct bookings – When guests are looking for a property through online travel agents, about 50% of the time they will click on the properties website to learn more before booking. This is an opportunity where each property can have both aesthetic and clear call to actions of the benefits of booking directly from the website as opposed to going back to the OTA. By offering competitive, or even lower pricing as compared to the OTAs, visitors will be encouraged to book directly from your website instead. WorldNXT online booking engine allows each property to add widgets throughout their site to encourage guests to book right then and there.
- Using Travel Agents to boost direct booking – The first thing to recognize is the difference between online travel agents and travel agents themselves. Travel agents are industry professionals that are able to assist guests with an extraordinary experience based on their knowledge. Properties that partner with these travel agencies reap the benefits of having them book directly through your website, as they act as representatives for your property and are able to highlight all of the incredible amenities your property has to offer. In addition, this will cater to all generations, as people are willing to pay a higher price for extraordinary experiences, which is what these travel agents are able to provide.