The people are tired of the pandemic, and so are the hoteliers. However, the pandemic did bless the hotel industry with something valuable: a hike in direct online hotel booking.
With more searches initiating from personal hand-held devices, metasearch are getting a lion share of searches allowing customers to explore multiple brands with a few clicks
However, the rules of online hotel booking have changed quite a bit, and you need to understand the market to get with the times.
This article breaks down the current state of online hotel booking and sheds light on some ways to make them more profitable. Read on to find out!
Hoteliers are always looking for ways to cut distribution costs, and direct channels are the perfect way to do that.
Right now, most hotels rely on OTAs for their online bookings. OTAs are also at the crux of your online booking revenue, but there is little scope to control cost with them, as the marketing of your property is not in your control. Therefore, you invest in building your own website and booking engine with higher initial costs only to prepare for better returns later.
To delve deeper into this strategy, refer to the following section
Improving ROAS from Direct Bookings
Hotels costs in the current landscape are skyrocketing, and every hotelier’s primary focus is to offer the best price while controlling margins. So how do you offer the best price to your customers without losing money? The answer to this question is metasearch.
Build your own website and set your prices after thorough research on metasearch websites. This will bring down your distribution costs, since the money from direct bookings serves up only a tiny cut to metasearch websites.
To shed some more light on the topic, here is a breakdown of the importance of direct booking:
- Third party distribution is driven by a fixed cost model and provides lesser control in allocating funds to specific source markets
- However, if you go live with your own website, you are in complete control of the budget you allocate to ad spends
However, there are some things you must have for a successful direct booking streak. They are as follows:
- A booking engine: A well-optimized booking engine is like a lubricant to a well-oiled machine. You won’t be able to acquire direct online reservations effectively without your own booking engine. Make sure it is well structured and makes the booking process easy.
- Ability to drive traffic: Your marketing game must be on point as well. You should be able to drive enough traffic to your website to spread the word about your competitive rates. However, ensure the website is well made, since shoddy visuals and higher prices will drive traffic away.
- A competitive edge: Is anyone going to book from your website if it is more expensive than OTAs? Absolutely not! So, use parity tools and research well on metasearch websites to set competitive rates for your rooms.
Top Ways to Make Direct Online Bookings via Metasearch More Profitable
Here are some of the top ways to increase revenue through direct online bookings:
Optimize your website
The key to increasing online bookings is to have a well-optimized website. But this isn’t a wake-up call to include gimmicks to attract the eye. Instead, focus on the basics. Simplicity is key to a good website, and it should be easy for guests to book online.
Make your website easy to navigate, and introduce your own booking engine. Make sure it is well-structured and includes the following points:
- Is user-friendly
- Includes accurate room rate structure
- Offers seamless support on smaller devices (phones, tablets, etc.)
- Makes the booking process simple
- Includes a secure payment gateway
Furthermore, make sure you Include better copywriting and CTAs for better conversions. In essence, make sure you offer a better-looking experience than your competitors.
Choose the right booking engine
With the amount of booking engines currently available in the market, choosing one can be difficult. However, pick one that caters to your specific needs. Check their reputation in the hospitality industry and their reach.
Once you find an engine that satisfies both criteria, you can expect better traffic and higher chances of showing up on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).
Make sure you optimize your metasearch listing regularly
Keep optimizing your metasearch listing constantly for better traffic. You can do this by:
- Updating every single detail of your metasearch engine.
- Maintaining room rate integrity
- Listing all amenities available at your hotel
- Using high-quality images of your property
At the end of the day, it all boils down to what brings more revenue. In the current booking landscape, direct online booking is making rounds and is the key to successful online booking. So when we talk about the key to maximizing conversions, it all boils down to your website.
Ensure your technology stack is equipped, including elements like an efficient booking engine, a seamless omnichannel website, good booking infrastructure, etc.
Also, keep in mind that metasearch will only bring in qualified audiences (i.e. people who have already selected room, date, etc.). So, build a customer journey entailing competitive rates to send them off on a high.
If you too are tired of losing dollars on online hotel marketing, start your journey of making direct bookings profitable.
Myhotelshop, a RateGain company, provides solutions to increase direct sales of hotels and make it a profitable distribution channel by optimizing, managing and distributing hotel content and campaigns to demand partners and driving the online success of its hotel partners.