Properly promoted your own website is your most direct and cost effective on-line marketing tool.
Potential guests can find out about your hotel from all kinds of places such as OTA’s, recommendations, SEO, local or other paid advertising and review websites to name just a few.
Once they are interested though, one thing that is almost guaranteed is that they will check at least one or two OTA’s such as Agoda and booking.com, maybe a review site such as TripAdvisor and always your own official direct marketing website.
By treating your own website as a key part of your marketing strategy, this gives you a great opportunity to convince on-line visitors to book direct.
There are lots of things you can do to help with this; some of our favorite ideas are below:
Be Competitive With Yourself
Be competitive with yourself by making sure that your direct rates are as good or better than the best deals available on OTA sites.
As long as you keep the promotional rates no lower than your OTA pricing, then any OTA ‘price parity’ clauses should not be affected.
Set your standard room rates to be your standard rack rates and use promotions to discount them down to the rates you actually want.
It’s a great way to visually highlight your great direct booking deals and of course everyone likes a discount!
Use promotions to offer non-monetary benefits for booking direct.
So for example offer free airport transfers or free breakfast or another one we really like is offering a discount on consumables for direct guests as it also encourages guests to use your hotel facilities instead of going outside.
In effect this strategy means you are offering a ‘package deal’ so it falls outside of OTA ‘price parity’ clauses which are based on the room price only.
Use Promotional Voucher Codes
You can create any kind of promotion and require that a voucher code be entered when booking to activate it.
You can create as many of these promotional voucher codes as you wish and then use them as part of your direct booking promotional activities:
- To encourage new business:
- On printed literature and brochures;
- On your website and Facebook pages;
- In adverts and locally distributed guides and media;
- To encourage repeat business and recommendations:
- On a handout given to guests at check-out;
- In after departure and other scheduled emails;
- In social media shares;
- And many other suitable places.
Using this strategy is also off the radar for OTA ‘price parity’ clauses.
Allow Guests To Customise Their Stay
Use tickets, optional extras and room extras to allow guests to book more than just a room.
You can allow them to pre-book tours, excursions, activities such as diving or bike hire, breakfasts, dinners and much more.
Statistically people are far more likely to book extra services and tours in advance and being able to do this via your website will encourage them to book direct.
Offer Fixed Package Deals
Packages give you a way to offer something unique as a fixed deal for guests. Whether that is a three day golfing getaway, a two day shopping trip or just a relaxing all inclusive time by the pool being pampered and massaged, the only limit is your imagination.
Something a little bit different especially with some added local knowledge can often appeal to guests looking for a short break in a new place.
Offer Useful Hints, Tips and Other Information
Offering free useful information about your destination will only serve to increase website visitors and engage the interest of those looking to book or price check.
If a potential guest feels that you have the right information and local knowledge then they are more likely to book direct.
You could also offer something extra such as a short travel guide that they will receive once their booking has been made.