Five ways to get the most out of your website booking engine
In the world of hotel distribution, direct sales are king. Bookings coming directly from your website typically have the lowest cost of acquisition and give you the ability to own the relationship with the customer.
However, the art of balancing the business mix is one of the greatest challenges faced by revenue managers and hotel marketers today. Here are five easy ways to power up your website booking engine:
- Regularly review the booking process, as well as imagery, room descriptions and rate offerings. Include packages, upgrade options or loyalty incentives to encourage consumers to book direct. Be sure to leverage social media integration and include trustworthy reviews from sites such as TripAdvisor on your website.
- Build a powerful presence thru SEO/SEM and remarketing. The penetration of keywords will increase your organic positioning in search engines. Be sure to purchase keywords that advertise your hotel's name to drive traffic to your site. Also, use remarketing banner ads as a strategy for visitor recovery.
- Sites such as TripAdvisor, Kayak and Trivago are changing the way that customers search. Previously, OTAs ruled the metasearch space, but hotels that leverage meta in their favor will reap the rewards. Feed these sites with rates from your website and offer rate parity or differentiators that will encourage consumers to book directly.
Monitoring these sites is also important as some wholesalers have taken to offloading their inventory by showing their discounted rates there. If a consumer calls your hotel direct about the lower rate, honor it and book them directly rather than sending them to book through another channel. Make sure you follow up by addressing the issue with the wholesaler and having the rate removed.
- Online reputation has an enormous effect on your conversion. Statistics show that up to 80 percent of consumers read reviews before making a booking decision. A best practice is to respond to all guest feedback, whether good or bad, as it doesn't take long to develop a pattern focused on the same shortcomings. If you receive a complaint or negative review, address it promptly and describe how you resolved it. Reviews drive scores and rankings on metasearch sites, so it's a good practice to request reviews from your guests. Post-stay emails with links to review sites are an excellent platform to solicit feedback from your guests.
- Dynamic content will soon be central to hoteliers' ability to earn and retain customers. Customers expect online shopping experiences that are personalized to their needs, and hoteliers have the opportunity to provide these experiences based on guest profile data and shopping behavior. The hotels and chains that give guests deeply-personalized shopping experiences will be positioned to capture more direct bookings and build long-term loyalty with guests.
Getting the most out of your booking engine isn't an easy job, but now is the time to take action, build a better customer and drive more revenue to your bottom line. Learn more about SynXis Booking Engine, and fill out the form below to request a demo.