keyboard with word online booking reflecting importance to hotels in developing direct booking strategies that actually work

There’s no instant way to improve your direct bookings, but these hotel direct booking strategies can enhance the guest experience from pre-booking and beyond.

NB: This is an article from Fuel Travel

Employing industry-leading technology can provide customer-first, focused tactics to give your hotel the edge over OTAs and third-party sites. Read on to learn four strategies to improve direct bookings with first-time guests and brand-loyal travelers.

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If your hotel is losing online reservations to OTAs, it’s time to adjust your strategy, beginning with your booking engine.

Most customers research a property directly before making a reservation, which means you likely have them on your site and ready to book, so why aren’t they? It is likely your booking process is not as intuitive, easy-to-use, or informative as it should be.

Updating your software to a mobile-first, optimized hotel booking engine can provide key decision-making information and an intuitive reservation process. Fuel’s booking engine integrates seamlessly with your existing site to provide a better experience for mobile and desktop users with an interface that eliminates second guessing and early exits.


Tapping into customer FOMO (fear of missing out) with marketing strategies can grow direct booking conversion rates and increase advance reservations. Social proof, urgency, and scarcity are main drivers behind purchase decisions.

A hotel booking engine integrated with real-time property management system (PMS) data can help you deploy FOMO hotel direct booking strategies to encourage bookings on your website or mobile app. Here are some examples across booking platforms: 

  • Use your website or the Fuel booking engine to highlight limited room availability with a countdown message (“Only 4 rooms left!”) to drive guests to book due scarcity and demand concerns. This tactic can also encourage guests to book further in advance than usual.
  • Include social proof messages in push notifications for your mobile app to engage customers by showcasing a surge in popularity for a property or room they have been browsing. This message can be as simple as, “This property is very popular for these dates” or “This room was booked 7 times today.”
  • Send personalized marketing emails with deal deadlines to increase booking urgency. Limited-time discounts sent directly to prospective guests gives them a feeling of exclusivity and encourages them to act, in order not to miss out.


Providing relevant, timely digital communications is a hotel direct booking strategy that keeps your brand top-of-mind to boost reservation rates with prospective and returning guests.

Employing a guest message solution for hotels allows you to create individual profiles and personalized audience segments for your direct marketing campaigns. Accurately tailoring SMS or email marketing strategies to these audience profiles allows you to create custom messaging to build a relationship using touchpoints before, during, and after their stay.

Not only can a successful communication strategy increase brand loyalty and drive repeat direct bookings, but the data from Fuel’s guest messaging solution’s analytical reporting can give you valuable insights into customer habits and performance metrics to inform future campaigns and promotions.


Offering a hotel mobile app to guests is one strategy that can improve direct bookings by eliminating the clutter of online search engines. The Fuel hotel mobile app features an embedded hotel booking engine that works seamlessly with your PMS to give guests tools to plan and book their trip.

An intuitive, capable mobile app can become guests’ preferred reservation method. The app also provides a VIP experience that improves guest engagement with your brand and enhances their stay with contactless check-in, digital room keys, and a portal to additional services.

Push notifications in the app provide additional strategies to engage guests long after their stay to build loyalty and offer promotions for direct bookings.

Read more articles from Fuel Travel