Importance of Driving Direct Bookings for Independent Hoteliers
In our 2019 State of the Hotel Industry report, 60% of independent hoteliers said that driving direct bookings is their number one challenge.
NB: This is an article from Sojern
“Everyone understands that direct bookings are important. But if you ask me why, I want to make sure that if one day when the distribution playing field is controlled by a few big players, I’m not the first big hit.” – Maverick Mak, Managing Director, Marketing & Distribution, APAC, Best Western Hotel Group
But let’s go back to the basics today: Why is it so important in the first place?
Direct Bookings Kick Start Your Relationship Building
When travellers book directly with you, you own the relationship with them. This is your chance to prove that choosing your brand amongst your hundreds of competitors is worthwhile. It also gives you the ability to engage them in a meaningful manner before, during, and after their stay.
Plus you know you have checked all those boxes when they leave your hotel telling you that they will be back — but are all these efforts worthwhile? Google found that the top reason travellers choose the brand they travel with, is customer service.
Best summarised by Andika Praba, Corporate E-Commerce Manager at Blu Zea Resort by Double Six, that “while we partner with third parties on one hand, we’re in competition with them for direct bookings on the other.” Find out how Blu Zea Resort by Double-Six managed to inspire travellers to visit their brand.com here!
And as agreed by Carter Sowers, Head of Technology at The Residences at Biltmore, where they “struggled in the past with third parties over-promising, (where) guests would arrive feeling disappointed or mis-sold. There’s no better way to have that direct line of communication and build a relationship with your guests than through direct bookings.”
Direct Bookings Decrease Cancellations
Were you ever positive that this month’s revenue forecast was accurate, until a couple of last-minute cancellations came in, and there’s almost no hope in booking the remaining rooms? But this is part of being a hotel marketer as nearly 40% of booked revenue from third party sites was cancelled before arrival, as compared to 18% from your hotel’s website. And since we can’t sell tonight’s room tomorrow, that’s a reason to consider improving your direct booking efforts!
Find out how we’ve helped hotels like Kilkenny Hilbernian Hotel decrease their cancellation rates through an Always On strategy focusing on driving direct bookings.
Direct Bookings Yield Higher ADR
A study revealed that direct bookings are around 12% more profitable than those made via third party sites. However, once you unlock the potential of your brand.com and upselling tactics, direct bookings can indeed yield a higher average daily rate (ADR), and ultimately, your RevPAR.
A great example of this in action is Walkerhill Hotel & Resort’s partnership with Sojern. With the goal of driving direct bookings, “the ADR from Sojern-generated bookings are a bit higher,” explains Mr Jino Jang, Director of Marketing, “which is about 8-10% more than our average ADR.”