Beyond outstanding service and warm hospitality, hotels must also possess exceptional marketing skills. Being marketing savvy will help your hotel in the long run, giving you higher profits and more direct leads. 

Online travel agencies (OTAs) are a huge competitor for hotels right now, so having a leg up on digital marketing will give your hotel the advantage it needs to increase direct hotel bookings. Let’s take a look at four ways to make it happen. 

1. Metasearch 

Metasearch is one of the fastest-growing channels for hotel advertising. With metasearch, travelers can compare the hotel rates of various OTAs, agencies, and even your website. 

When consumers find a deal they like, they are taken to the source to book their stay. Your hotel will pay the metasearch company a referral commission or cost per click (CPC) fee for sending the consumer to your website. 

Although the bookings are generally coming from OTAs, the metasearch route is a great way to book new guests and convert them into direct bookings in the future. 

Don’t ignore your OTA guests. Instead, use this opportunity to offer them direct booking benefits for their next stay. 

2. Direct Booking Benefits

Incentives are key to direct bookings. Something OTAs often provide are booking benefits. Compete with the OTAs by offering bigger discounts, better flexibility, and excellent amenities.

ELMNTL recommends 1-3 direct booking benefits such as waived resort fees, upgrades upon availability, complimentary continental breakfasts, or free hotel Wi-Fi. Keep in mind, benefits don’t always have to be monetary but do need to provide perceived value to guests.

3. Mobile-Friendly Website 

Take advantage of the rising popularity of mobile use by highlighting your hotel’s unique selling points on a mobile-friendly website. 

According to Little Hotelier, about 45% of travelers use mobile apps to book their stay. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you are potentially losing bookings. The more accessible your website is, the more opportunity there is to acquire direct hotel bookings. 

ELMNTL recently worked on a mobile-friendly website for our client, The Allen Hotel, an NYC hotspot for international travelers. The landing page design immediately draws your attention to the ‘Book Now’ button, strategically placed in the center of the screen. Our team designed the website to be easily navigable and straightforward. Beautiful imagery optimized for mobile is displayed throughout, and the details for rooms and inquiries are laid out efficiently. 

4. Social Proof 

The term’ social proof’ has adapted in 2021 to refer to the idea that consumers will behave according to what others are doing. The question is, how does this help your hotel? Social media channels like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook act somewhat like a review site. 

Real-life photos of your hotel that guests share offer proof that your hotel is not just a beautifully staged photo on your website. This user-generated content helps give your hotel the clout you need.

It’s essential to not only be active on your social media channels but also to remain authentic. Be true to your hotel when sharing guests’ photos. If your guest happens to leave a nice testimonial in their Instagram or Facebook caption, include it in your own social media post. 

Final Thoughts

Direct booking is a crucial component in the success of a hotel’s bottom line. ELMNTL can help with all aspects of direct booking beyond what was mentioned above. Feel free to reach out to the ELMNTL team to chat about your hotel. We are happy to answer any questions and work with you to increase your direct bookings!