It is certain that OTA services have been proven beneficial on a large scale. However, it is also important to put an effort for increasing revenues by attracting more direct bookings. There is various plus points of direct bookings, such as:
- Enhancement in brand image
- Build up a strong group of loyal / regular customers
- Avoid paying commissions to OTA service providers
Following are some practices for improving direct bookings simultaneously along with OTAs:
- Offering discounts and add-ons for selective / targeted audience:
OTAs do not allow offering deals publically. However, they will allow you to do it for selective group of customers. Running a loyalty program would help to keep customers coming back and book in your hotel in future. Free drinks, gift cards, discount on meal are some other options.
- Have a good website:
Website representing your hotel must be free from poor graphics, grammar and spelling mistakes. These would easily put people down quite quickly. Other than visual and content, navigation of your website must be smooth and user friendly. On payment page of your website, there must be some most widely used payment methods so no one feel troubled.
- Put some efforts in digital marketing:
SEO, PPC and blog post are some of the important techniques in digital marketing.
SEO: Well optimized site with quality content would fetch organic traffics to your website who are your potential customers.
PPC: Pay per click campaigns would also bring you significant traffic; however, it requires a decent budget to invest.
Blog: Keep your blog updated with latest information. It is important for SEO and also keeps your audience engaged with latest and insight information.
- Providing contact details on front desk:
When attracting customers with OTA, you should make sure that next time they visit you through website directly instead of through OTA. For that your front desk is a great tool to use. All information for contacting to you directly should be present there.
- Participating in conversations on review sites:
Review sites would help you to get traffic directly to your website rather than through an OTA. Responding to each post positively would keep the potential customers engaged. They would be more comfortable when booking into your hotel. More further steps can also be taken like offering gifts for first bookings, etc.