Inspire Direct Bookings Like These 3 Leading Hotels
Direct bookings are great, right?
Direct bookings are preferred for a number of reasons. You establish direct contact with guests, and a direct relationship. There is minimal friction in coordination, without a middleman. Perhaps most importantly: hotels save big when they don’t have to pay commissions to OTAs like Booking.com and Agoda. All in all: it’s just better.
Due to this, it’s often well worthwhile to offer little perks and incentives to guests to help inspire them to book direct.
So here’s the key question: do your guests know that?
As obvious as it is to hoteliers, the website — where most direct bookings are made, or inspired from — doesn’t always explain things well. Often, hotel websites don’t clearly offer incentive to book direct. If they do, they don’t make a strong, clear case for it.
Take a moment to check out these top hotels’ websites, and get inspired by their approach to direct booking incentives.
The Shores offers clear options.
A few incentive options are presented, to prompt response on the site for The Shores Resort & Spa.
The direct booking incentives that a hotel offers are best when they are clear, straightforward, and appealing. Attention spans grow short online. It helps enormously to place the incentive in a high-profile spot: in the header of the homepage, for example. The appeal of each incentive should be obvious at a glance. The call to action (eg. “unlock offer”) should be colorful, eye-catching, and easy to engage with.
As an additional point of allure, visitors may be more likely to interact if an option is offered. Simply by offering a selection of 2 or 3 different choices, the user may shift their mindset from “yes or no” to “A or B”.
The Kahala motivates guests with tiered incentives.
Three tiers of incentives are associated with different room types in the site for The Kahala.
Taking the idea of options a bit further, the differing incentive choices might be associated with different levels of direct booking. With this sort of framework, a guest may feel inspired to book a room of higher caliber in order to earn the larger incentive.
Four Seasons attracts with mystery.
The general appeal of booking incentives is clear, but the details are hidden behind a “reveal offer” call to action on the site for Four Seasons Seychelles at Desroches Island.
If done effectively, mystery can be a motivating force for booking incentives. The risk is that site visitors may lose interest if the offer is vague, or if it’s cumbersome to reveal the information that piques their interest. If the offer explains enough, and presents a compelling reason to continue, curiosity can draw site visitors to explore direct booking options quite readily.
After clicking through, site visitors are prompted to sign up or sign in, on the site for Four Seasons Seychelles at Desroches Island.
One useful thing to note is that booking incentives may present an opportunity to grow the hotel email list, for newsletters, etc. Since the information is valuable to potential guests, they may be willing to provide contact info in order to view it. The downside is that some visitors will bounce, declining to continue. A substantial upside is that the emails that you do collect are associated with visitors with an active interest in the hotel, and who have a demonstrated motivation to earn incentives. What a great chance for follow-up!
Which direct booking incentive system works best for your hotel?
There are a number of things to consider when looking at different approaches. It’s important to consider the specifics of what you can offer, how you can communicate it, and how to present it most effectively throughout your entire site (and beyond). Hopefully this quick tour through some examples has served as some food for thought!
We love helping hotels with this sort of thing, since it’s one of the more pivotal elements in a campaign to increase direct bookings. Don’t be shy about asking us some questions to see what might work best for your hotel!