Offering a superior guest experience is a great way to make your hotel brand stand out from the crowd but in order to win and retain guests, focusing on the in-stay experience is no longer enough. Users today expect a personalized experience from the moment they enter the hotel website. This means finding a way to welcome every visitor onto your website as you would at your hotel. And then trying to seduce the user, encouraging him or her to trust you, before convincing them that your hotel is the perfect fit.
Dusit International is a hotel brand that understands the importance of the digital experience. For over 65 years, Dusit International has been synonymous with world-class hospitality, delivered with the service and artistry of Thailand. Today, effectively combining people and technology, each of their 29 properties across Asia endeavor to create a personalized experience that “enlivens the individual spirit, no matter the journey”.
Speaking with Ratchaya Termsilkanok, the Corporate Director of Revenue Management, he explained how Dusit International is committed to improving the direct booking experience and strengthening the relationship with guests. Despite seeing a growth in their direct booking channel in recent years, in part thanks to a compelling loyalty program, it was felt that the website conversion rate could still be improved.
For this reason, in April 2018, Dusit decided to test the direct booking solution offered by The Hotels Network (THN). He commented, “Guests today expect perfection from their digital experience. Dusit realizes this and so, in line with our philosophy to exceed guest expectations, we choose to work with the most innovative solutions on the market to make sure we do just that.”
To be able to measure the impact of THN tools, an A/B test was set up splitting the website visitors into two groups. Group A were shown the new messages and tools but they were hidden for Group B. For the purpose of the test, a series of personalization and conversion techniques were activated on their website for 9 of their 29 properties. Here are some examples of the direct booking techniques used:
As hoteliers know, reviews bring power. A recent study by Spiegel Research Center supports this belief, showing that almost 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that Dusit International decided to add THN’s Reviews Summary on their homepage to highlight the brand’s positive ratings on the main OTAs and review sites. Aside from reassuring potential guests that the hotel is the right choice, it helps to keep them on the hotel website as they don’t have the same need to leave in search of reviews to read.
To reinforce the positive message, Smart Notes are displayed on the homepage and within the booking engine, communicating what guests like most about the property. The Smart Notes also include messaging around the unique location features and services each property has to offer, helping to differentiate them from competitors.
Dusit also chose to use a live price comparison allowing visitors to compare hotel rates available online, once again without leaving the website. This technique enables brands to communicate the benefits of booking direct while reassuring visitors that they are getting the best available rate on the hotel website. And don’t forget the power of scarcity. To create a sense of urgency and give users that little nudge they need towards a booking, Smart Notes display crafty messages such as “Lock in a great price for your stay. Prices may go up soon.”
Save Your Search
When users are about to abandon the Dusit website, a pop-up opens with a “Save your search” message, encouraging them to provide an email address to receive their recent search details by email. Apart from making it easy for travelers to share information with friends or family, it’s a great way for them to remember the hotel. What’s more, when they click on the link in the email they are taken directly to the booking engine so they can easily resume their previous search and complete their booking on the Dusit website.
The results of the A/B test showed that by adding the combination of tools, the Dusit website conversion rate increased by 57.5% on average across the properties within the test. Following these impressive results, Dusit chose to partner with The Hotels Network and roll out the software.
Today, the Dusit team continues to optimize their direct booking strategy, launching new campaigns and implementing best practices to help boost conversion rates even further. One of the features within THN which they exploit most is the ability to change content dynamically based on segmentation rules. Ratchaya Termsilkanok commented, “Displaying personalized messages and offers based on the visitor’s location is key to providing a superior guest experience from the moment the user enters the website. Offering what the visitor wants at each point of the booking process is key to engage them.”
To get the full story, you can download the case study.