stars How to boost your direct bookings

Chances are, that you are interested in getting as many direct bookings as possible and that you are eager to know how! Do you need some tips on what can help you achieve just that? Have a look at our recommendations below:

Mobile friendly website and booking engine

A lot of travelers are searching for accommodation from their mobile devices. With BookingButton you are offering a mobile-friendly booking engine. This is important to make the booking process as smooth as possible for your guests, offering them to book from different devices. A mobile friendly booking engine alone might not be enough. If you embed BookingButton into your website you should also make sure that your website itself is mobile friendly and has a responsive design. Website visitors who look up your accommodation from their mobile device might otherwise leave your website before even getting to the booking engine.

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Increase customer service

Which information do you think your guests should have before they get to your property? Can you already inform them about activities in the area? Is it recommendable to know more about transportation from the airport or train station to your accommodation? Put yourself in the shoes of your guests and imagine what information you would consider handy to know before your stay. With providing the needed information, before guests even ask for it, you instantly increase the level of the customer service, helping your guests to be prepared for their stay.

Newsletter

To keep the relationship with your guests before and after departure you could for example set up a newsletter. This could be monthly, in relation to summer and winter season, or be send biweekly. It is important to keep newsletters relevant for the subscriber. Otherwise, guests will not read it or might unsubscribe. Newsletters should contain information such as changes, link to blog articles, reviews, special offers or for example a list of things to do around your property during the guests’ stay. It is also recommendable to link to your booking engine or include a ‘Book Now’ Button so guests could start making a reservation directly when reading the newsletter.  

Email marketing

Besides newsletters, you can use emails for a lot more purposes. You could also send follow up emails to your guests after stay to invite them to leave a review or to provide them feedback or you could send a voucher or special coupon which the guest could use for a future stay. Emails are also a good opportunity to link out to your social media channels and invite guests to have a look at them and follow you.  

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CTA implementation

A CTA (`call to action) on a website or within an email can be a powerful tool. A CTA is often a button with text on it. CTAs invite the website visitor or email reader to react to a certain button or text. It can be a button such as book now, text such as Subscribe now, Download the PDF here or follow us on social media. There are plenty of options and you can use a CTA whenever you want the reader to take a certain step. CTAs should benefit you and make the reader interact or engage. You can have different CTAs on your website or in your email. When implementing CTAs on your website, such as for example the book now for your BookingButton, it is important where you place it. You can put different CTAs on every page if it makes sense. The more CTAs the higher the chance that the website visitor converts one of the actions at some point. Please keep in mind though, that you also do not want to overwhelm your website visitor or email recipient with CTAs. However, if there is the option to let the visitor or reader do something, you can add a CTA. Preferred spaces on a website to place a CTA are headers, the end of the page, side panels or within posts. You can always experiment with your CTAs and try out different placing to find out what works best for your visitors.

Special incentives and perks for direct bookings

Did you ever think about what you could offer your guests as a perk if they book through your website instead of an OTA? You can use tempting incentives to help to convince your guests to use your website or social media page for booking. Possible incentives could be a treatment in your wellness facilities, discount on your restaurant menu or a specific activity, some chocolates or a drink as a welcome. Maybe you offer something that nobody else in the region could offer to the guest? There are no limits to your creativity in letting the guests know that they are rewarded for booking with you directly.

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Virtual tour

What could you show on your Facebook business page or website, what you couldn’t show on any other booking platform? Use your endless possibilities of showcasing your property the best way possible. Think of a virtual tour for example, which provides your potential guests with a detailed overview of your property, facilities, and views around. 360-degree images give a better idea of the space than regular photos. Virtual tours will also increase the time spend on your website, which can ultimately benefit your website listing on search engines because it is been recognized that you provide content that keeps website visitors interested.

Offer relevant languages

Always be up to date on where your guests come from and which languages they are speaking. Make sure that you offer the most relevant languages of those on your booking engine and website. Not sure how to add languages for BookingButton? Have a look at our step-by-step guide in this article. With providing the booking engine in the guests’ language you give them the chance to understand all the details of the booking process fully. At the same time, you minimize the risk that this booker will abort the booking process and book through a different channel like an OTA instead, which offers all information in the language preferred by the guest.

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Display reviews

Did you ever buy or book anything online yourself? Most likely you have found an online review on the site where you made the purchase. Maybe that `review` consisted of a typical star rating or maybe it was another customer complaining about his regrets of buying the product. It is totally possible that the review did not exactly give you the information you were looking for. Never mind the thoroughness of a review, they still do have a lot of power and influence on a customer and therefore, impact your brand. A booking or purchase decision is likely to be influenced by reviews as the majority of online purchases is made after reviews have been read. You can, for example, display your Google reviews on your website. You can do that directly from your Google account. Another option could be to embed the reviews you have on your Facebook business page, TripAdvisor or Yelp. Chose the option most suitable to you and your website. Besides providing information to customers, review websites such as TripAdvisor take the entire business into account instead of just reviewing one product or booking. Even if you probably do not like negative reviews about your property, they are still relevant for the credibility of your reviews in general. A combination of positive and negative reviews increases the trust in your business and are perceived as honest. Of course, you should aim to have more good than bad reviews.

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Messaging

Engaging with your guest during their whole customer journey creates engagement and the feeling of being taken care of. Think of being available to the guest before arrival, and exchanging, for example, pre-arrival or pre-stay messages through services like WhatsApp can help to make the guest feel welcome and already gets them in touch with your brand. During the guests stay, you can promote your facilities and services to them, just check on how they are and if there is anything they need. That cannot just help you to sell add-ons and services but it also gives you the chance to spot potential complaints before they escalate or turn into a bad review. After the departure of your guests, messaging can help you to increase returning direct bookings. Think of sending customized messages, alerts about a special offer or thanking them for they stay and inviting them to leave a review. 

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