Online hotel bookings are looking to rise in 2017, but so too are third parties, like Online Travel Agencies’ (OTAs), share of the marketplace. In fact, OTAs are poised to enjoy a majority of hotel bookings in 2017. Given this rise, now, more than ever, hoteliers need to work to drive bookings directly to their websites.
Direct bookings aren’t just great for maximizing your bottom line, they can help you grow loyalty and repeat bookings. Here are our top four reasons for why 2017 should be the year of the direct booking:
1. Own the relationship to maximize the experience
Third party websites are a great way for consumers to find the best hotel for them, but it means that they own the relationship with the guest, not you. Waters become murky if a guest needs to amend a reservation, as they’ll have to go through the third party, subject to their terms and conditions. Direct bookings are key to providing your guests with the best experience at all stages, as they can contact you directly.
2. Turn knowledge into power
Direct bookings give you a swath of data about your customers, including contact information, demographic data, and guest preferences. With this, you can engage them in a more meaningful way, before, during, and after their stay.
For example, knowing that guest has booked a stay with you for leisure purposes means you can send them helpful messages before their stay recommending points of interest or great restaurants nearby.
3. Excel at the upsell
When customers book direct, you have much more information with which to tailor offers pre-stay and encourage rebookings. If a guest booked a spa appointment on their recent stay, send them an offer with a spa voucher to entice a future booking.
4. Lower your costs
There’s a misconception that third party sites are the only solution to getting exposure in a crowded accommodation market. While they can be helpful to raise your property’s profile, they can also take a big chunk out of your bottom line with high commission rates.
Hotel Online reported last year that direct bookings are around 9% more profitable than through third parties.