9 Habits of Hotels with good Direct Booking Business

The Owner/Manager has a passionate desire for direct bookings.
Over the years we have generated Checklists and Self-Assessment Forms and even participated in staff training to educate people how to drive direct bookings, but many of these initiatives simply run into the sand. What we have noticed over the last 10 years is hotels that get the most direct bookings are the ones that are owned or managed by someone who has a passion or strong desire to driving direct bookings.

They invest time and effort in their own marketing.
Sales and marketing does not seem to come easy to the Hotel Industry. Into this gap comes the OTA's who will happily do this for you, but at a cost. The choice is simple; Either do your own marketing or pay someone else (the OTA's) to do it.

They give inventory to OTA's only when they need them
Why sell through 3rd parties when you can sell the rooms yourself at drastically reduced commission ie on Busy weekends and Bank Holidays.

They offer best value through their own website.
Rate Parity or 'price fixing' is illegal in France and Germany and under challenge in other jurisdictions, freeing hotels to sell cheaper through their own website if they wish.

They offer incentives to Book Direct.
ie Free Breakfast, Free Wifi, Free late Checkouts etc.

They advertise 'Book Direct' everywhere in their hotel.
ie 'Pull-ups' in the reception, Notices on the check-in desk, messages on Reception TV screens, marketing literature in the rooms, messages on their breakfast menus etc etc

They invest in Google Adwords.
Search for your hotel name on Google right now. You will find that your hotel is lucky to be listed number 3 or 4, your potential customers being diverted by companies (normally OTA's) bidding on your property name. Unless you have unlimited money to pay OTA costs, you have to compete with these companies by having your own Adwords Campaigns.

They have a TripAdvisor 'Business Listing'
We hear estimates that 80% of New customers to your hotel will check you out on TripAdvisor first. So utilise this key gateway by ensuring that you have on your TripAdvisor Listing all your contact details ie Phone Number, Website Address, E Mail along with some sort of offer to get the customer to come direct to you.

They use FaceBook Paid Marketing
We would subscribe to the view that Social Media can be over-hyped in the Hotel Industry, especially for properties that only really have rooms to offer. However one platform that stands out for its ability to generate targeted databases is FaceBook. For example, where else could you go to get a database of 'customers within a 100 miles radius of Heathrow Airport that have an interest in Golf' ?