Good news: According to PhocusWright’s recent survey of US Travelers, consumer preference is growing for booking direct with your hotel vs an OTA or third party site! If your direct bookings are not growing in sync with this stat and your OTA revenues continue to outperform your direct online revenues, consider these three immediate steps:
1. Rate parity: Make sure rates on your own hotel website are consistent with the rates you are publishing on the OTAs, then create value-added packages (free parking, free breakfast, etc) to incentivize shoppers to book direct and spare you the high cost of another OTA booking!
2. Clean up your “store:” Website and ecommerce technology changes rapidly. If you want to increase your direct online sales, consider upgrading your site to ensure its compatible with the latest best practices. Take special care to ensure mobile/tablet compatibility. If users can’t easily navigate your site on their phone or tablet, they can’t book!
3. Own your search results: OTAs often use Google’s pay-per-click platform to advertise your hotel name and siphon off bookings from searches on your hotel name. As the actual property owner, its much cheaper for you to advertise on branded keywords and capture your rightful bookings than allow an OTA to grab it and pay them 20% plus!
Consumers are showing a growing preference for booking direct. And the future is looking bright for smart hoteliers who take action now.