5 tips to encourage direct sales

Reading Time: 6 mins. 29/08/2018

Strengthening hotel’s website has meant that those can generate more direct contact with their customers. This translates into an increase in direct reserves, automatically decreasing acquisition costs and increasing the benefits of the establishment.

As many hoteliers already know, the direct channel is the one that offers the greatest advantages, both economically and in terms of customer management, but the vast majority is asking the same question, how can I increase the direct sale of my hotel?
Obviously the first step is to have a web and engine sales oriented.
The website of a hotel should not be just beautiful, it should be easy and useful for the user. Here it is important to emphasize that when working on the web you should think at all times about the user, not what you think is more or less beautiful, if something, even if it does not seem the most beautiful, sells, do not leave it out!
It is important to invest not only in a good web design, but also in the content of it. This must be very well designed and written so that the user finds what he reads interesting and wants to know more. In turn, as we explained in our pill 'Content and SEO: The perfect marriage', one of the basic pillars of a good positioning strategy is the content.
The reservation engine should facilitate the steps to the user. Many of them offer very good conditions to the hotelier, but they are zero user friendly and they end up without converting, getting this user to go to one of the most popular OTAs. As always, you have to think about the user and make it easier for him to book.
But none of the above is useful if we do not work on a marketing and commercial strategy aimed at attracting users. We can not ignore that the OTAs, especially booking.com, have a very high power and we should be able to call the attention of the users interested in our hotel and convince them that the best option to book the hotel is through our own website.
That is why we give you 5 tips that can help you to capture these users and convince them that the best option is the direct channel.
1. Visibility in the network
One of the requirements to increase direct sales is for the hotel to be visible to the user when searching for vacations. It is true that the OTAs are a great showcase, probably the largest on the internet for hotels, but you have to take into account the user's reservation process and guarantee presence during this process.
That is why it is important to invest in a good positioning strategy SEO and SEM as well as strategies designed to capture the attention of those users who have visited the web without making a reservation because, according to various studies, 70% of users who come to the website for the first time leave without making a reservation. One of the most recommended strategies is the display retargeting, digital marketing technique whose objective is to impact users who have previously interacted with our brand.
2. Purchase incentive
It offers some incentive that captures the attention of the users, but that is not something that most users understand that it should be free in any hotel, such as WiFi, but something to which the potential client will give him enough value as to be a strong reason when making the decision to make the reservation.
A very good example is the Axel Hotels, who offer to the clients that they reserve through their website the free breakfast during all their stay. This is an incentive appreciated by all users and can be a differential fact when booking through the hotel website or another channel.

3. Exclusive non-refundable on the web
As we all know, the contracts that establish parity of prices between hotels do not allow us to offer a more competitive price on the website of the hotel, but we can offer more favourable conditions on the web compared to other platforms.
One of the strategies that work best is to offer the non-refundable rate only to customers who book through the web. In this way, the user who is convinced to book will find better conditions in the direct channel thus getting an extra motivation to book through the web.
4. Discount for your direct customers
Another way to offer more favourable conditions in the direct channel taking into account the limitation in the distribution pricing policy established by the contracts between hotels and OTAs is through discounts to a limited audience. In this case the discount can be applied through a promotional code and this can be promoted through the website itself or the different communication channels of the brand (social networks, blog, Google Adwords, etc.).
An example would be the Nakar Hotel of Palma de Mallorca, who offers a discount to all the clients who book through their website through a promocode, thus avoiding breaking the parity.

One of the key differences of the direct channel against the OTAs is that the client is from the hotel, so once this arrives at the reception, the hotel has an excellent opportunity to obtain data on the interests of its clients and thus be able to undertake future marketing actions.
As we discussed in our pill 'The importance of customer loyalty', a good loyalty strategy is essential for Build and maintain strong and loyal relationships with customers and potential customers.
Through a loyalty strategy we will improve the hotel's productivity, reduce the risk of customer flight and attract new customers for the advantages or incentives that the loyalty program itself can offer compared to other alternatives.
An example of this type of strategy would be Abba Hotels who, through their abbantage loyalty program, offer their members a direct discount if they book through their website and the accumulation of points for payment. of future stays without any type of restriction, offering the possibility of paying the entire bill with points. In this way, they offer a very attractive advantage to their customers while promoting direct sales.
All of the above will help you get reservations through your direct channel, but do not forget to be alienated with the market and watch the competition. The pricing strategy must be coherent and flexible, adapting to the market and its demand.
Strong bet for your brand and you will increase direct sales and, therefore, the profitability of your establishments.