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Penta Hotels: A Successful Direct Channel Growth Strategy in 6 Stages

How a progressive hotel brand optimized the direct booking funnel with The Hotels Network



  27, Nov 2020

 Tags: Hotel Marketing Case Studies Personalization

Belief in offering a distinctive guest experience

Reinventing the hospitality scene with a neighborhood lifestyle twist, Penta Hotels offers the modern-minded and business traveler of today comfort and style in a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere. With a clear focus on the guest experience, the properties of the brand present unique and gleaming hotel designs and their very own “pentalounge;” a combination of lounge, bar, cafe and reception where guests can socialize and share their travel experiences. Penta Hotels currently holds 26 properties across Europe and Asia, and stands proud in their international background.

Penta Hotels have always prided themselves in providing their guests a superior experience and know that this begins from the moment website visitors land on their page. “The online experience plays a major role for consumers today,” says Heiko Rieder, Vice President of Revenue Management and Reservations at Penta Hotels. “At Penta Hotels, we want to make sure our visitors understand our brand, what to expect and also enjoy a seamless experience whether making a booking or registering for one our programs.”

With their understanding of The Hotels Network’s (THN) pioneering and customer-centric approach, Penta Hotels has partnered with THN since September 2019 to help enhance the online booking process and ultimately generate more direct revenue, even during today’s fluctuating times. 

The direct channel growth roadmap

The direct channel growth roadmap

From the beginning of the partnership to today, Penta Hotels has been working closely together with THN to enhance their direct channel strategy by building a clear and well-defined long-term plan. Following the direct channel growth roadmap while adapting to the current situation and the changing needs of guests, Penta Hotels implemented the plan in six stages, giving rise to impressive results.

Trial & A/B test

For Penta Hotels to be able to see the effectiveness of THN’s products, the brand tested the impact of the tools by running an A/B test on the website of a representative sample of six properties during one month. On the properties’ homepages and booking engines, Penta Hotels displayed a Smart Note to better highlight an existing offer to save 5% using a promocode, a Price Comparison widget to allow visitors to compare their direct booking rates against those of OTAs without leaving the website, and an Exit message to re-attract interest in booking. 

exit-pentahotelsTHN Exit message displayed on the booking engine

Above, you can see the Exit message shown after THN’s software detects that the visitor is about to leave the site. To capture their attention, Penta Hotels uses this highly effective tactic to remind users who are still undecided of the exclusive 5% discount, tempting them to confirm their booking. 

After just one month of A/B testing, the test results showed an average increase of 17% in website conversion rate thanks to the THN campaigns running.

Rollout across the group & on-going optimization

After witnessing the strong results generated by the use of THN tools and the experience with THN’s team, Penta Hotels decided to enact steps 2 and 3 of their direct channel growth roadmap: rollout and on-going optimization. During the rollout, the content of their campaigns were adapted for each market and translated into multiple languages when necessary. 

To better understand the brand of Penta Hotels and their objectives, THN’s Client Success team worked together with the chain in creating a selection of different campaigns and features to try out. From then to today, THN continues to support the Penta Hotels team with the gradual implementation of advanced campaigns catered to the brand, offering their guests a personalized online experience. 

Adapting website communication during the COVID outbreak

The COVID-19 outbreak shifted priorities significantly for Penta Hotels, but the team continued to believe in the importance of strengthening their direct relationship with guests. To support a steady recovery, the brand knew that they needed to adapt their direct channel strategy and communication with visitors within the new hospitality landscape. Whereas before the focus using THN was to increase the website conversion rate, during COVID the platform was also used to update messages on the website within minutes to keep visitors informed about the constantly changing situation.

Below, you can see an example of the type of messages displayed on the Penta Hotels website to reassure guests that their safety and comfort are the brand’s priorities. Understanding the increased importance of hygiene and COVID-19 prevention measures for their potential guests, Penta Hotels created a Layer to put their visitors’ minds to rest. Focusing on the chain’s fervent approach in providing guests the safest stay experience, the Layer presents a clear call-to-action (CTA) bringing visitors straight to their “BetweenUs” page where all preventative measures are communicated. This welcome layer generated a click-through rate (CTR) of 15% to the chain’s dedicated COVID-19 page. 

covid-layerPenta Hotels Layer communicating their COVID-19 prevention measures 

By taking the initiative in adapting their direct booking strategy and website communications, Penta Hotels experienced a clear improvement in the level of engagement with their website visitors. In today’s fluctuating times, the chain has been able to weather the storm and continue to attract guests despite the hit on the hospitality scene worldwide.

Leveraging machine learning

Today, Penta Hotels have begun applying intent-based targeting using THN’s Oraculo Convert, the first predictive algorithm for hotels in the world. By harnessing the power of machine learning, Oraculo Convert allows hotels to create highly-targeted website campaigns driven by an algorithm. With this product, Penta Hotels is able to launch campaigns specifically addressed to users with a low and/or high probability to convert, in turn incentivizing reservations from users who would have otherwise left without bookings, and upselling to those already keen on making a reservation.

In July of this year, Penta Hotels implemented a trial of Oraculo Convert with the aim being to generate additional revenue from website visitors with a very low probability of converting, while reducing overall promotional spend. The trial was set up on the website of three properties within the group, displaying a Smart Note with a targeted incentive to low-intent users within the booking engine. 

Penta Hotels Oraculo Convert trial

Through their Oraculo trial, Penta Hotels witnessed astounding results. In just one month, the chain was able to generate a 244% uplift in conversion for low intent users versus the control group, and an additional 11.700 € of revenue

Today, the Penta Hotels team continue to work with THN in rolling out and optimizing their Oraculo strategy. Convinced more than ever on the importance of personalizing the user experience and from the results of their trial, Penta Hotels have rolled out their campaign for low-intent users across multiple properties in their chain and plan to apply intent-based targeting for any campaigns with discounts moving forward to make savings on promotional spend. Moreover, the team is evaluating the possibility of using Oraculo Convert to boost revenue from high-value users by creating targeted upsell campaigns.

Want to know more details about the campaigns Penta Hotels implemented at each stage of their direct channel growth plan? Feel free to download the full case study to find out how they are successfully adapting their strategy to focus on direct bookings during today’s fluctuating situation.


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