Best Practices for Direct Bookings
Most hoteliers will agree that improving direct revenue is important for a hotel's profitability and to retain control of guest interactions. But direct bookings is a topic that seems to never be complete. There is no one trick action to take that will remedy direct revenue, instead it is a series of many actions that will result in improved direct revenue.
Over the years that I have worked in the hotel industry, as a General Manager and then in a hotel marketing agency, I've had a fair share of exposure to the problem with plenty of successes and probably an equal amount of failures.
A few years ago, together with another hotel marketing consultant, we put together a series of steps that must be checked to optimize a hotel's chance of increasing direct bookings.
I recently came across the chart and decided to republish it here. The thing with this chart is, you need to do the steps with intelligence. The quality of how you do the steps is what will make the difference in the result.
I recently had a chat with a hotelier who was telling me they had tried all these actions but none of them worked, when I started looking into that I realized that some people stop at checking items on a list - this isn't a list. These are headlines, it isn't that you did them but how you did them.
For example, we know giving guests perks for booking direct will make them book direct, but what perks? If it was free wifi you might as well not have done it, free wifi is expected.
If you're doing these steps and it's not working, review how you are doing them, try something slightly more radical. And tweak until you get results.
The Direct Booking Guide Chart
This chart isn't meant as an end-goal for hoteliers and hotel marketers, rather it should be the bare minimum to be in place. The amount of creativity that can be added to this is up to you, but if you're at least doing this - your chances of success will increase.
As I said above, there are countless ways you can put this to work, the very heated topic of Rates for example, doesn't mean you must give a cheaper price on the website. I'll be candid here and tell you that is the most efficient way, but, the downsides can outweigh the upsides so get creative.
Each action is not equally important, and some actions might work better for you than for someone else. It's really up to you to implement them and tweak them to get the best results for your hotel.
Don't hesitate to email me if you have questions or suggestions.