Direct Bookings: Facts vs Myths

Honest article by Hotelogix
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Hotels just can’t get enough of direct bookings, it’s no secret. In a day and age where OTAs dominate the online market and hotels pay for each booking with a hefty commission, the importance of the native website has never been greater.

Having said this, it’s imperative that you recognize the importance of all booking channels and implement a balanced distribution strategy. Despite all their shortcomings, even expensive portals like OTAs do have their benefits – leaving them out of your distribution strategy will turn out to be a costly mistake.

Myth: Direct bookings are always your most profitable

Fact: Your profitability depends on your channel costs

When it comes to evaluating the effectiveness of your distribution strategy, it’s important that you measure the performance of each booking channel. A great way to start is by collecting objective information about every channel – revenue generated, demographics, costs associated with each channel and so on. Once you have this information, you may uncover some surprising facts. In the real world, it’s highly unlikely that a hotel can sell all rooms via its direct booking engine. It’s a bad idea to rely on such an unstable platform – that’s why the best distribution strategies optimally divide rooms among all available sources. So while it’s always great to attract as many direct bookings as possible, don’t invest all your resources to this end.

Myth: There’s no need to invest in your website if you’re present on OTAs

Fact: Optimizing your hotel website for traffic and conversions is essential

Why would guests visit your website in the first place? Aren’t they more likely to discover your hotel on an OTA? The answer is yes. 
However, guests often visit a property’s own website after seeing it on an OTA. They may do this to learn more about the hotel, its amenities and other details because online agencies don’t typically list all the property’s facilities. Make sure your website is well-designed with plenty of pictures of the real-estate, amenities, rooms, lobby and so on. Don’t skimp on details either, ensure that every single service your hotel provides is listed.

1. Optimizing for traffic:
Google prioritizes value so provide users with informative, relevant content. Any black hat strategies can severely harm your website’s position. It’s best to educate yourself on the latest Google algorithms and stay updated;

2. Optimizing for conversion:
Ensure that your call-to-action is clearly visible, yet not obtrusive to the visitor. Design attractive packages and if possible, throw in a ‘reward’ for booking direct. 

Remember that the most important aspect in your hotel’s success is the guest experience. When you provide guests with an unforgettable stay, they’re more likely to remember your hotel – and more likely to book direct the next time, even if they came through an OTA.

Even guests that booked direct aren’t going to visit again if they weren’t satisfied with the experience.