NB: This is an article by Jean Francois Mourier of RevPar GURU
According to Phocuswright, 74% of independent hotel reservations in Europe come from an OTA. As such every hotelier’s 2016 new year’s resolutions should include boosting direct revenue for your property. As you know, by increasing direct revenue, you can decrease the cost of acquisition and increase repeat business. It’s a win/win situation for every property – no matter the property type, location or star rating.
So to ensure that you are fully prepared to start boosting your direct revenue this year, I’ve compiled the top six tips that you can (and should) implement today:
Ensure that your room rate is the same on your own website as on the OTAs
A surprisingly large number of hotels continue to offer their best room rates through the OTAs rather than their own website. Because most consumers are price-conscious shoppers (meaning that they will most often choose the room with the cheapest rate), it makes sense to offer the same rate on the OTA channel and the direct channel (where your property keeps 100% of the booking amount), to ensure that less consumers will choose to book through the expensive OTAs.
Use loyalty programs to incentivize repeat customers
As I mentioned earlier, it is much more expensive to secure new business (6 to 7 times more expensive, in fact!) than it is to keep an existing customer. Marketing Metrics also demonstrated that “the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70%… the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5 to 20%”, once again making it a more profitable business practice to secure repeat business from prior customers, instead of searching out new ones. One of the best ways to secure repeat business is by implementing a loyalty program and letting customers know that they should book directly in order to earn and/or redeem points. By doing so, you are converting guests who started out as OTA customers to direct customers on future bookings.
Ensure that the booking engine on your site is easy-to-use and accept all of the different forms of payment
This one is pretty self-explanatory…