How to get more direct bookings?

As Google, and other searching services take over the hospitality web landscape, more and more hoteliers get tired of paying OTA fees. If you are one of them, you might want to go through these steps to make sure you get as much directly booked guests as you can.

1. Have a well-designed website with integrated booking engine

This is the most important of all: without your own website, potential guests won’t be able to decide whether they like what your hotel has to offer, and without an integrated booking engine they will not be able to book. Okay, you probably already ticked these boxes, but it’s always good to look at your site again: does it look good? Does it work well on mobile? Do visitors get enough information? Are there clear call to actions that direct them to booking?

2. Choose your booking engine wisely

A good booking engine lets your visitors to book their stay and get some kind of confirmation. A great booking engine lets users check the availability of rooms, includes payment and can handle special offers and coupons as well. The best ones like Mews or Sabeeapp have a lot of integrated features and user-friendly mobile interfaces. If you prefer to have personal contact with those who maintain your booking engine, you can find local companies with excellent products, like Res’n’Web in Hungary.

3. Rule metasearches

Metasearches are a thing: more and more users turn to these in the hope of finding the best deals. If you have a properly updated profile and run PPC campaign on the metasearch sites that enable you to do so, you can get more direct bookings for a reasonable price. If you haven’t, you should try Google Hotel Ads — knowing the company, this service will certainly outperform Trivago or TripAdvisor very soon.

4. Use your guests’ feedback for your own good

98% of travelers read hotel reviews. Yes, you’ve read that right. Moreover, 80% of them don’t even make a reservation before reading other travellers’ opinion about a hotel. So if for whatever reason you haven’t cared about your ratings before, from now on you should grab every opportunity to kindly ask your guests to rate their stay, and showcase these good reviews on your website as well.

5. Be active on social media

This advice never gets old. Just be there and be kind. Facebook users can be such a grateful community and audience, it’ll be worth it. Once you have their trust and attention, you can give them games, special offers, anything. If somebody looking for a place to stay visits you facebook page, they should see that you care about people, even those who are not even guests so they’ll want to see how you’re caring about your actual guests!

6. Work on your OTA guests

Someone booking your room through an OTA doesn’t mean they can’t become direct bookers later! Providing them with great service throughout their stay builds the foundation of a long-term relationship. If you can get hold of their e-mail address, you can use their first stay as an inspiration, and give them personalized offers to get them book their next stay at your hotel directly.

7. Use a chatbot to answer every question ASAP

Once you have your website and booking engine up and running, you may turn your attention to how you can further improve the booking experience and build a better reputation. A chatbot can make all the difference for people asking about the hotel. Moreover, the conversational nature of a chatbot feel more personal than an FAQ on your site, which helps in turning guests into loyal customers. You can save time for your front desk as well, so they can focus on the more challenging tasks.

If you use our Bonomi Assistant, you can also save the time and cost of developing your custom chatbot: all you need to do is answer a bunch of questions, and we’ll do the rest!

So, this is what you can do to avoid paying OTA fees. If you want to see what our Bonomi Assistant is capable of, see our other blog posts, or book a live demo!