Last week, HeBS Digital hosted its third webinar in its “Direct is Always Better” series.
Speakers from HeBS Digital discussed where the industry is heading in 2017: towards an inevitable decrease in occupancy in most major markets due to supply outpacing demand, Airbnb “stealing” demand share from hotels, and occupancy rates flattening—even declining (STR.)
How can hoteliers improve the bottom line? In the webinar, HeBS Digital outlined how, despite this bleak picture of where our industry is headed, hoteliers can successfully arm themselves with tools to increase direct website bookings and lower distribution costs for the remainder of 2016 and in 2017.
Key topics covered in this webinar included:
- Tools to increase direct website bookings:
- Reservation Abandonment Applications: with information being so readily available to travel consumers, it is not surprising that 98% of website visitors do not book upon visiting a site. Reservation Abandonment Emailers and Lightboxes display “Come Back” or “Book Direct” messages, enticing users to complete the booking.
- Smart Personalization: delivering real-time, relevant content leads to higher conversions as consumers have pertinent information placed right in front of them while they browse your website and look to make a purchase.
- Smart Data Marketing: by utilizing both “owned data” (otherwise known as CRM Data, which includes past guest data, website analytical data, etc.) and layering Intent Data, hoteliers can effectively reach in-market users during the travel planning process.
- An ‘Instant Rewards’ program: a great way to drive direct bookings by unlocking real-time exclusive rates and promotions on the hotel website.
- A/B testing: testing variations of different elements of the website helps improve user experience, page performance, and most importantly, drive more conversions.
- How to implement a ‘Direct is Always Better’ top-down strategy on property
- Ways to adopt an effective Merchandising Strategy to sell on value and not just on rate
- The “Distribution Optimization Manager”: a new on-property role, which should be rewarded on the blended cost of distribution (OTA vs. Direct) and incentivized to lower distribution costs YoY.