Turn Top Direct Booking Trends into Smart Conversion Strategies
Ready to turn the latest direct booking trends into winning conversion strategies? Then the following post is for you.
Just recently, we held a webinar with thought leaders from Travel Tripper/Pegasus, TrustYou, and The Guestbook. We discussed how hotels can drive more direct business by using the right tools and applying the latest marketing tactics — informed by a host of research and industry-focused studies. Topics included:
- The booking behavior of digital natives and the relevance of hotel reviews in the booking process
- How to increase direct bookings by offering rewards vs. discounts
- The common hotel website mistakes to avoid and a comprehensive best practices checklist
- What ROI hotels can expect from implementing these new marketing and conversions tactics
How hotel reviews influence digital natives
Digital natives (sometimes referred to as “Gen Z”) are rising up as the next big group entering the travel industry. And when it comes to the hotel booking process, this tech-savvy generation rely heavily on reviews to inform their decision.
A study by TrustYou revealed just how important reviews are to digital natives when they’re researching hotels. For instance, a huge 99% of digital natives read at least one review. And 68% look at six reviews or more.
When it comes to the influence on their booking decision, 83% of digital natives say that online reviews play either an “important” or “very important” role.
As you might expect, the trustworthiness of a review matters greatly. In order of importance, digital natives attributed trustworthiness to a review based on its writing style, how recent it was, and if it was sufficiently detailed.
Images are influential
The TrustYou study also looked at the power of imagery in reviews. A substantial 80% of digital natives said that professional or consumer images are “important” or “very important” when they’re making a booking choice. Read our previous post to learn how to choose the right photos to boost engagement.
Based on the TrustYou hotel review study, here are five top tips and takeaways to consider:
- To instill booking confidence in digital natives, embed a review widget on your hotel website. This will also save them the hassle of having to separately navigate to review sites.
- Make sure you show your hotel’s overall review score.
- Add summarized information about your hotel (e.g. “great service” and “good location”) so guests get the best overview of what to expect.
- Use surveys to collect more reviews and increase your overall rating.
- The higher your review score, the higher price premium you can promote.
Our webinar includes more key insights from this review study, including which review widgets and review styles are preferred, and the best place to position reviews on your website.
The best incentive to increase direct bookings: rewards vs discounts
The OTAs have dominated the direct booking space for years. But now, hotels have almost caught up. Last year, the hotel industry captured 49% of direct bookings. By 2022, it’s predicted that number will grow to a 50% share.