Nowadays, competing for customers online is harder than ever with so many options out there for guests to choose from. The growth of the OTA booking — and the subsequent commissions charged — over the direct booking channel is an ever-present challenge for any hotelier.
Given the vast share of third-party booking sites, it is critical for hotels to work towards maintaining the right balance between distribution platforms and their own bookings. Successful direct booking campaigns help maintain this equilibrium, along with hotels better equipping themselves with the right solutions and marketing tactics to compete with OTAs and draw customers back.
Tailored incentives and promotional campaigns have worked well to attract new guests, and hotels have subsequently seen a revenue increase as the cost of these campaigns falls short of commissions paid for bookings through OTAs. What’s more, customers are happier with the complete service provided when dealing with the hotel directly, and the properties have worked hard to add more informative elements to brand websites with the aim of offering clients a completely customized experience.
Here we showcase three hotels who have seen a significant uplift in website conversions thanks to the implementation of effective direct booking strategies working together with The Hotels Network.
Citywest Dublin’s newest 4-star property, the Kingswood Hotel, is a city retreat near the center of Dublin. Due to its location, most of the guests staying at the hotel are business travelers. For this reason, the property decided to create tailored offers addressing this specific target audience.
As part of their strategy, the hotel encourages direct bookings from the moment the user arrives on the website, showcasing unique selling points relevant to corporate travelers. A welcome Smart Note with a hyperlink that takes them to the corporate offers page is displayed to attract these types of travelers: “Traveling for business? Click to enjoy our corporate room rates with breakfast”. In the page users are redirected to, corporate USPs are highlighted, tailored packages are offered, and notes are displayed showcasing the convenient location of the property — “Conveniently located near the Citywest Business Campus with easy access to all major routes”.
Welcome messages the hotel displays
Another successful strategy that the hotel carries out is showcasing different welcome messages depending on the user. If a new user is visiting the website, a welcome Layer appears featuring the offers the property has. For returning users, the message is completely different. Aware of the fact that most of the time returning users have already explored the website, the welcome layer displayed takes the user directly to the booking engine, speeding up the booking process and guiding users to complete their reservation.
Nobis Hotel Stockholm
The luxurious Nobis Hotel in Stockholm is well aware of the need to have a direct booking strategy. The property is known for owning the culinary hotspot in the city center of Stockholm and so to embrace dining reservations, a welcome note on the homepage draws attention to the renowned restaurant. “Need a dinner or breakfast reservation? Enjoy highly recommended, NOI. Make a reservation”. What’s interesting is that, using targeting rules, this note is only shown to local visitors. They are then able to book a table directly from the hotel’s website, saving time and facilitating the booking process for both the hotel and the client.
Another approach that has proven to be effective for Nobis Hotel is offering a 24-hour special offer during weekends. With the aim of increasing the ADR for short stays, the hotel promotes an exclusive deal for those visitors searching for a 1-night stay on a weekend. The offer is targeted based on the booking search dates (weekends), the length of stay (1 night) and the number of travelers (2 adults). When a search matches the established targeting conditions, the “24 hours in Stockholm pack” is displayed so that those guests who are only spending one night in the city can get the most out of it. This campaign has been well received by the clients, since the offer was launched three months ago, the property has doubled their uptake during the weekends while increasing ADR.
"24 hours in Stockholm" upgrade
The Hotel Brussels
The relaxing property located in a prominent street famous for high-end fashion shopping in Brussels, The Hotel, is another great example to take inspiration from. The strategy the hotel is following, showing impressive results, is to focus on personalizing the experience for each website visitor.
Smart Notes based on booking lead time
As part of this approach, messages are displayed related to the hotel’s activity and the search dates, creating a sense of urgency and pushing users to finalize the booking process. For example, Notes are shown based on the booking window. Whenever a user is looking for a last-minute stay, a message communicating the low availability and time left is visible, encouraging visitors to complete the reservation as soon as possible.
Smart Notes based on search dates
To provide a fully personalized website experience, Smart Notes based on the visitor’s search dates are also displayed. Users are notified about events, concerts and festivals that are taking place in the city of Brussels during the days they looking for and special offers are showcased so they can get the most out of their stay. The purpose behind this strategy is to drive an uptake of these special offers and increase revenue.