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5 Techniques to Boost Your Direct Bookings This Summer

Summer 2021 is almost upon us… time to get your hotel website strategy on point!

  26, Apr 2021

 Tags: Insider Hotel Marketing Direct Bookings

Although we continue to be surrounded by uncertainties, for the vast majority of the world’s population, summer vacation is just around the corner. As a hotelier, it’s a good idea to start getting your hotel prepped and ready for this out-of-the-ordinary summer, so you can take full advantage of any opportunity to get those reservation numbers up. 

The very first place to take action is on your hotel website. Across the industry, studies are showing that travel is heating up for summer. But what’s more, there seems to be a clear uptake of direct bookings. Guests are eager to book directly as they crave clearer information, better deals, flexibility, and of course a summer escape! Therefore, in order to capture your fair share of reservations, you must ensure your hotel website communications appeal to these travelers and nudge them towards a direct booking.

Looking for ideas and inspiration to get you started? Read all about these five compelling ways to market your hotel to make the most of this unique summer season.

1. Focus on your local market

Layer displaying a staycation promotion with a countdown clock

As the global situation inches towards reopening, most guests are still skeptical or unable to travel internationally. As a result, targeting local travelers who are eager for a staycation provides a great opportunity for your hotel. 

You can promote these types of summer special offers as soon as local visitors land on your hotel website, giving them an extra reason to book directly. These special packages can include any of the services or facilities your hotel has to offer on property or discounted tickets to nearby attractions or tours. Make sure these offers are shown to the right visitors by targeting the messages towards your local traffic. 

In the example above, the hotel is using a Layer to communicate their special summer staycation packages. Targeted based on the user location, the hotel is able to show this offer only to local visitors. Combining exclusive and appealing perks with an eye-catching countdown clock, the hotel is able to grab the visitors attention, create a sense of urgency and effectively nudge visitors down the booking funnel.

2. Encourage longer stays

An example of a long stay deal promoted using an Inliner

In the current market situation, while keeping your rooms occupied is important, encouraging less turnover in guests may be beneficial to your hotel business. A clever way to achieve this is by curating special offers that encourage longer stays. Long stays are not only a great way to increase revenue, it also leads to reduced housekeeping costs and improved sanitary conditions.  In addition, as people currently tend to have more flexibility in their schedules or working habits, why not entice them to extend their holiday or work from your hotel? 

Promoting deals that allow guests to stay 7 nights and only pay for 6 or stay 4 nights and pay for 3 are a great way for destination resorts to encourage week-long stays and city hotels to entice guests to book extended weekend stays, boosting revenue and filling up your rooms. As seen in the example above, the hotel is promoting a special long stay offer with a cleverly positioned Inliner. Displayed on the booking engine as native content, the message is shown to all users who are looking for a 2 to 3 night stay during the weekends of summer. By encouraging potential guests to stay a little longer, the hotel is not only able to increase the ABV but also ensures shoulder night dates get booked as well.

3. Cleverly highlight flexible rates

Layer displaying flexible cancellation policy with a compelling CTA

While the hope is that all guests who make a reservation at a hotel end up actually staying there, cancellations or changes are an inevitable part of the hotel business, especially during summertime this year. To reassure visitors, it is essential to clearly communicate details on your hotel website about your flexible rates or cancellation policy.

Including an extra direct booking perk within these website messages is even better - it could be just the right incentive visitors need to stay at your hotel! Using an irresistible CTA with the right wording can help tempt guests to complete the desired action. In the end, it’s all about seducing the user and nudging them towards a reservation.

In the example above, The Ibiza Twiins hotel is displaying a Layer showcasing their flexible cancellation policy. The message includes a discount for booking directly, along with a powerful CTA. By showing the message at a critical point in the booking funnel - within the booking engine - the hotel is able to provide peace of mind to those guests who still have hesitations, removing any uncertainty around dates and showcasing their eagerness to provide a singular stay.

4. Use social media contests to create a buzz

An Instagram contest being promoted using a Layer on the hotel’s homepage

Social media is one of the best tools to reach new guests and promote your hotel, and Instagram is becoming the main hotspot. This platform allows you to post beautiful pictures, stories and reels to create excitement and engagement around your brand. Boosting your Instagram presence by tagging and reposting user generated content, such as sharing your guests’ stay pictures, is a great way to attract new travellers. So, why not get creative on Instagram this summer?

One idea is to run a summer contest for your followers, giving them the option to participate by tagging other users on your post, reposting or sharing their pictures to win a free meal, night stay or experience. Why not take inspiration from this example by Cocoon Maldives? The luxury brand is hosting a best picture contest on Instagram, giving visitors a chance to win free nights at their hotel by posting their best photo from their stay. To help spread the word, the contest is promoted using an attractive Layer on the hotel’s homepage. With this initiative, the hotel not only aims to create excitement and chatter about the brand but also to bring together beautiful user generated content to inspire trust among potential future guests.

5. Promote gift cards & vouchers for future stays 

An example of a Gift Voucher offer displayed on the homepage

When we think of gift cards we usually think of retail or restaurants, but why not hotels? In these uncertain times, vouchers & gift cards are one of the best ways to generate immediate cash for your hotel and encourage future stays. Allowing guests to buy these solely from your direct channel creates a unique opportunity to capture that business and promote direct channel bookings in the future. 

You can also promote gift cards as a gift option for any calendar date you decide, so why not create some for summer?  Above, we can see a hotel showcasing a summer voucher on the homepage. Valid during the summer period, this can be the perfect gift for any occasion and will allow you to capture more business and encourage guests to get excited about your summer reopening.

As mentioned, this summer is a great time to capitalize on the growing popularity of the direct booking channel as opposed to third parties. By making your hotel website messages as personalized and attractive as possible, you will be able to boost direct conversion rates and help ensure that the season is maximized to the fullest potential. Need some more inspiration or ideas around how to grow your hotel’s direct bookings this summer? Don’t hesitate to contact one of our direct booking experts today. 

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