Direct booking represents a substantial part of any hotel’s booking revenue. With the rise of the internet and smartphones, digital marketing is now playing an increasing role in getting people to book their hotel stay. While traditional forms of marketing such as TV ads and billboards still exist, they need to be supplemented by the newer digital marketing if hotels are to thrive and survive.
One aspect of traditional marketing that is easily comparable to its digital marketing counterpart is the hotel lobby. Lobbies can lure in guests who happen to walk by and is, thus, a source of direct booking revenue. Hotels spend significant amounts of money to make sure their lobby is attractive and well maintained.
Your hotel website is similar to a hotel lobby in cyberspace. When someone searches for a hotel on the internet, the first thing they will probably see is the hotel website. The hotel’s site will create a strong first impression that can influence whether a person directly books with a hotel or moves on to a competitor.
The appearance of a hotel’s site is not the only thing that matters. Hotel sites must be easy to use and navigate. A website that is difficult to use or not mobile friendly will lead to lost bookings.
One highly effective way to find out which version of a site works best is to conduct A/B testing. This lets hotels test different pages to determine which ones resulted in more bookings and visitors to the site.
Investment in marketing dollars must also be analyzed. It is not merely enough to invest ever-increasing amounts into advertising and hope that it will raise direct booking revenue. Marketing studies have shown that up to 58% of ad campaigns are ineffective and are run for too long. These campaigns actually lead to a loss of revenue instead of an increase.
Analyzing the results of your campaigns more deeply reveal which projects generated a return on investment. This can help you trim unnecessary expenses and help you create and continue the campaigns that have produced increases in revenue or return on investment.
Hotels should focus heavily on increasing their conversion rates on their websites. A/B testing described above and more effective campaigns can all substantially boost direct booking revenue. Even tiny increases in the conversion rate on a hotel website can lead to hundreds of thousands to millions of more dollars in revenue.
Besides A/B testing and using the campaigns that work determined by marketing analysis of results, hotels can increase their booking revenue by increasing repeat stays. Hotel rewards programs, marketing emails that offer information to the guest, encouraging the sharing of positive experiences, and educating guests on the services available at the hotel can all encourage direct booking revenue and repeat stays. It can also lead to the sale of additional hotel services and amenities.