We’re well and truly into the digital age, and with everything having an online presence, it’s important to keep up with the times. For hotels, this translates to getting more direct bookings via the hotel website, but how? From smartphones and laptops to tablets and TVs, there are hundreds of devices out there that now link us to the internet – and consumers everywhere not only love it, but need it. So how can you profit from this ever-important swing in consumerism?

Think how often you see a person scrolling down their iPhone or clicking away on their keyboard – it’s almost all the time. The real trick is in knowing how to make the most of this massive landscape, to better your hotel business.

Lucrative market

Evidently the Internet is the most powerful tool going when it comes to your hotel’s exposure.  With audiences almost everywhere having a frequent, if not constant connection, it’s crucial to get properly involved. What’s more, as the generation matures, so-called Millennials have become a particularly lucrative market in the travel and hospitality industry.  They are so tightly, almost exclusively, hooked on the digital world, that it is no coincidence that most major brands are currently vying for their attention, in this informal digital space.

With more than 85% of Millennials owning smartphones and 90% being active on Facebook, it’s really important to consider setting up social media accounts too. A whopping 84% of them don’t trust traditional advertising either, which gives even more support for the digital space.

Declan Ward, Triptease, author of this blog about direct bookings
Our guest author Declan Ward, Triptease, smiling here!

Go online – go direct bookings

In a recent interview between Triptease’s Chief Tease Charlie Osmond and GCH Hotel Group’s Director of Digital Promotion and eCommerce Manager, Daniel Wishnia, Daniel explained:

“Websites simply have to be responsive, not only for PC and iPad, but for mobile, where in a growing number of cases, we’re seeing customer journeys conclude in a booking”.

It’s simple. Including a “book now” feature specifically for mobile will increase your booking rate.  This increases your revenue, so no wonder it’s becoming more and more of a must-have, rather than an elusive nice-to-have. In addition, Charlie and Daniel talked about SEO and its significance in pushing hotels further up the search engine result pages, thereby saving users from scrolling through lots to find you. Google is without doubt the most-used search engine universally, so spending on search-ads is also highly advantageous, when done correctly.

Master the customer Journey for financial success

Daniel also highlighted the importance of understanding the customer journey, with a view to improve the accessibility of booking. Once having established a website, it’s paramount that it looks visually pleasing to your target market, and is easily navigable for the user. The use of HD images, attractive fonts, clear navigation and a smooth path through the booking process, are all key to creating trust and transparency.

Ultimately, this can only improve a hotel’s relationship with it’s guests, which in turn follows a logical path directly to the financial success of that hotel’s business model.

Stay hungry, stay foolish?

Talking of bettering your booking rate, tech startup Triptease is hosting the very first Direct Booking Summit on 30th June, 2016. At this event, speakers will be talking about hotel distribution and direct bookings; not to mention a whole lot about google, meta-search, chatbots and many more digital initiatives that hoteliers should be aware of, in order to drive more direct bookings. If we’ve convinced you to really go digital, then this event would definitely be worth a visit, as it could well offer you all the advice you need to know, before starting out on your own.

If you cannot attend in person, be sure to follow along via the #directisbest hashtag, or the @bookingsummit twitter feed.



Our quick-tip for success

To recap: having a great website is just one step. Just as important is driving traffic to it. An up to date marketing plan is essential.

Our tip for the best way to broadcast your brand, and boost your bookings at the same time?  Not just by being online, but also by being clever, and mobile, online. Lacking a credible digital presence in this day and age means falling behind the industry, and losing out on this very real and valuable global marketing opportunity.

It’s simple: if you haven’t yet gone digital, go digital! Remember to stay informed, and keep checking your progress along the way (benchmarks, anyone?).

You could do worse than signing up to the inside.protel blog right now (click above), to get the latest thought-provoking ideas, along with tips and tricks of how to implement them profitably in your hotel operations.

Check out protel´s Web Booking Engine!

More info wanted? No problem at all! Have a look at these protel blog posts:
What do I need to consider when getting an internet booking engine?
Is this online booking scenario strategically flawed?

 

Outreach Coordinator at protel hotelsoftware GmbH, Germany.

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