In the modern world’s extremely competitive hotel market, every dollar counts. Hotel owners seek any semblance of competitive edge, translating to more substantial efforts, while they remain subject to the highest evaluation standards. In the current landscape, costs have become directly proportional to new guest acquisition, primarily through third-party platforms.
To remain at an advantage, hotels continue to look for the most effective booking channels, all the while helping them maximize business through their own websites. That poses a challenge to hoteliers, as driving bookings directly on their websites has decreased. There are ways to counter this, however.
Here are some of the best ways you can maximize direct bookings:
1 – Keep the online booking button highly visible
Your call-to-action (CTA) is an essential element of maximizing your direct bookings, and the best way to utilize this is through your booking buttons. If yours isn’t visible (your user has to scroll down or zoom in the screen), you will be missing out on potential sales. Redesigning your website to make it more aesthetically pleasing is one thing, but never forget about form and functionality as well.
2 – Ensure that your website remains functional
As discussed in the first item, an aesthetically pleasing website just won’t cut it. A good user experience is a key to attracting direct bookings, even more so than good design. Plenty of hotels direct all focus on ensuring that the website is beautifully designed down to details, which could leave no room for user experience planning. Here are some questions to ask as you redesign your website:
Does it load fast enough?
Will my potential guests be able to navigate through the content properly?
Is it necessary to include videos on every single page, or will that hinder a great user experience?
How long will it take for them to book accommodations?
3 – Cater to mobile users
According to a recent analysis, 50 percent of last-minute bookings are done through mobile devices. With that in mind, you ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. Most of your guests will likely book through their phones, meaning that everything should be automatically-adjusted to fit any screen size. Moreover, guests will want to complete bookings as quickly as possible—don’t place too many barriers between them and the final page containing the costs and payment options. Ensure that your CTA booking button remains highly visible. All other extras, such as promotions, should be done after the completion of the booking confirmation process.
4 – Make security a priority
Cybercrime is rampant nowadays, which is why you should regard data privacy protection with the utmost importance. That can be made possible through a PCI-compliant online booking system, which helps keep your customers’ credit card transactions safe and secure. That functions as a certificate, wherein a little padlock icon will appear next to your URL, ensuring the user that you are protected. Such things add to your credibility as a brand, and people will be even more encouraged to do repeat business.
As you shift your focus on maximizing direct bookings, know that it might take a while before you see any results. After all, booking platforms are currently dominating the hotel market industry, which drives potential customers away from your website. As long as you continue using the tips above, you’ll soon witness an increase in direct bookings, ultimately leading you to become an established brand with a loyal customer base.
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