How to take control of the hotel's distribution?

Reading Time: 6 mins. 10/10/2018

It may seem difficult to regain control of the distribution of your hotel, especially if we consider that the intervention of OTAs and agencies guarantees a high percentage of the occupation and represents an important part of the income of the project.
It is true that there is a strange link, love-hate, between the OTAs and hoteliers, as it can affect negatively the results of online reservations and hinder the increase in hotel revenues, but at the same time it is a way to reach a large group of customers.
This problem is experienced mainly by independent hotels, which do not have the investment power of large chains and generally have to incur various expenses to boost direct sales. Due to this, what seems easier is to end up resorting to the OTAs in order to continue growing.
A harmful idea for the hotel sector is to think that OTAs offer a better deal than hotel websites. We must work more with our consumer and get them to see that what is best for them is the direct deal with the hotel.

The main hotel chains have recognized the importance of breaking that belief and have designed communication campaigns with a simple message: booking directly provides better treatment to the guest.
Another good idea would be to include breakfast or Wi-Fi, or offer the possibility of accumulating points from a loyalty program, if booked through the website. But do not stay there, you can still be more creative. If you manage a beach hotel, for example, you can offer a session of the activities that can be hired from your hotel: diving, kayak or jetski... Or if it is a hotel in the center of a city, include the service laundry in direct booking can come very well to the guests.
Also, if your hotel has a wide range of rooms, keep for your website the most exclusive and comfortable. This incentive will serve to boost the sale through your booking engine.
You can also create unique experiences: thematic packages that include tickets to a nearby festival in the city or a local fair. Likewise you could also create unique hotel themed packages or a local experience of the destination in which you travel. In this way, customers will see your hotel as a well-kept business and not as a selling machine.
It is about finding ways to encourage direct sales. Another very interesting way to reach the final consumer is through Google Hotel Finder. As many of you may know, this Google platform is very recent and offers certain limitations to hoteliers as it does not allow connection to new establishments. For this we recommend working with specialized platforms such as WIHP which offer a direct connection to this Google platform. Our booking engine is connected to WIHP, so we offer all our clients the possibility to have a presence in Google Hotel Finder.

But not only direct connections live direct sales, we must also take into account some very important aspects when promoting direct sales. We will review some of them and some tricks that may serve:
Guarantee a cheaper rate on the web.
Offer all the information that your customers need to book at the hotel at the best price can make the difference between deciding to book directly or through other platforms. It is important to give a guarantee of the best rate on your official website, but not only with an indicative stamp, but also give detailed and specific instructions on how they can avail themselves of this guarantee.

Persuade the web user with messages in real time.
The key is to create the feeling of compulsive buying, it is a sales technique that increases the chances that your client decides to book without thinking too much, because you do not want to risk losing the opportunity you offer. If you persuade him with messages that indicate how many people are looking at his same search or how many rooms are available, he will feel pressure and that in a short time he will be left without a reservation at the hotel. Another trick is to offer a price comparator that reflects the price of other channels and direct booking, with the extra benefits that the latter may entail.
Focus on what the client is looking for.
It is important that the official website has a reservation engine that is easy to understand and use. It must contain all the necessary information for the clients, detailing the qualities of the room and the services offered. It offers a location map, incorporates on the web the profiles of social networks of the establishment and allows that the comments of the clients appear to demonstrate transparency. It is also very important that the booking button is very visible.
Seduce the customer and create the sense of need.
This is one of the most effective ways to attract traffic to your establishment's website and therefore, it will increase the conversion rate and improve positioning. The contents, as we have repeated many times in other pills, is very important, since it is the factor that makes a client fall in love with the hotel or not. We must offer what you are looking for and also creating new needs by showing the hotel's strengths. Text, images and videos are essential to awaken your interest and adjust to what you are looking for, you can take ideas in the pills "The importance of audiovisual content" and in "How to be more "instagrammeable"?".
Offer advantages to the client by booking directly.
The added values ​​will be the ones that make the difference. It is very important that the client knows that there are exclusive advantages for booking directly with the hotel. A good example would be to offer on your website some packages with discounts, special attentions, greater flexibility in the reservation policy, etc. These offers must be exclusive by direct booking and never distributed by the OTAs.

There are many keys that can help you to recover definitively the control of the online distribution of your hotel. What we must always keep in mind is that Marketing techniques and new technologies will be your best allies in this aspect, in order to offer price parity between the official website of your establishment and the intermediaries.
To sell effectively and obtain greater benefits, it is necessary to achieve a balance in the distribution between the different channels that your hotel has.