profile of a human head on a circuit board reflecting the growing importance of technology and ecommerce trends for hotels to boost direct bookings

The digital age has brought hoteliers many new challenges.

NB: This is an article from Hotelchamp

Not only are travellers increasingly turning to online platforms to book their stays, but hotels also find themselves competing head-to-head with powerful online travel agents (OTAs). Direct bookings have become a desirable objective and for a good reason.

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With OTAs taking between 10-30% of the booking value in commissions, it’s clear that the stakes are high.

With eCommerce platforms being the experts in making sales online, hoteliers have plenty to learn about the best practices to increase conversion. Hotel websites and eCommerce platforms aren’t all that different. At their core, they both aim to sell a product or service online. By understanding and adopting strategies that have propelled eCommerce platforms to success, hotels can significantly enhance their online presence.

In this blog, we’re diving deep into three transformative eCommerce strategies that are making waves in the online sales world. We’ll demystify how these trends, often seen in popular online stores, can be seamlessly integrated into the hotel industry. More importantly, we’ll guide you on leveraging them to not only boost direct bookings but also to craft an unparalleled guest experience. Ready to redefine your hotel’s online journey?

1. Conversational Commerce and Chatbots

Conversational commerce is essentially the fusion of messaging apps and shopping, enabling real-time interaction between customers and businesses. This can be through chatbots, messaging apps, or live chat. While chatbots have been around for a while, conversational commerce is rapidly becoming a staple in online interactions. Today’s customers expect immediate responses, personalised touchpoints, and the convenience of real-time chats, mirroring in-store experiences. Interestingly, 41% of consumers prefer live chat support over other service channels like calls or email. And luckily for busy hoteliers, 40% of consumers don’t mind whether they talk to a person or a bot, as long as they get the information they’re looking for.

This 24/7 support isn’t just a boon for consumers; it’s a game-changer for businesses. Much like shoppers, hotel guests have immediate questions and needs. Whether it’s about room amenities, check-in procedures, or local attractions, timely responses are crucial. By using conversational commerce on their hotel website, hoteliers can ensure that guests receive prompt, tailored answers, enhancing their experience and making direct bookings more likely. For example, a family travelling with a pet will want to know everything about the hotel’s pet-friendly policies. And rather than searching throughout the whole website for every bit of information related to their furry friend, a chatbot can quickly and easily relate the information, and offer pet-friendly room options.

Implementing chatbots to your hotel website

So how can you incorporate conversational commerce into your hotel website? Start by selecting a chatbot platform that integrates seamlessly with your booking system. Start with common questions to train your bot. It might have a learning curve, but with AI’s help, it’ll get better over time. It’s also essential to provide an option for guests to connect with your front desk for more complex questions. And think outside the box: your chatbot can suggest special offers or packages, nudging potential guests towards a booking. Reducing doubts and hesitation, you’re likely to increase the number of direct bookings on your website and give the guests’ satisfaction a boost. Plus, with a chatbot handling routine queries, your team can focus on elevating the on-site guest experience.

Read rest of the article at Hotelchamp