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Increase Direct Bookings With These Promising Tips

Online Marketing 6 Minutes
Booking platforms and OTAs such as or Expedia are omnipresent when it comes to vacation planning. They advertise wide reach and international presence, but unfavorable cancellation policies and unwanted discounts reduce the benefits. Another major drawback to using OTAs is the high cost of commissions and limited availability of guest data. 
This lack of data makes it difficult to communicate with guests throughout the customer journey and presents a challenge in delivering personalized content. This limits up-sell and cross-sell opportunities even before the guest arrives and reduces the effectiveness of online marketing. For these reasons, driving direct bookings is becoming increasingly important to deliver value to guests before they arrive. Read more about why direct bookings save hotels money here.

How can hoteliers increase direct bookings?

To increase the number of direct bookings and enable targeted marketing based on guest data, hoteliers have several options:

Direct bookings on the hotel's website

The hotel's website is the hotel's flagship, so an appealing and attractive design is essential. In fact, a smooth booking process with user-friendly booking tools and a clear booking form lowers the threshold for direct bookings. To further increase the appeal of booking through the website, special incentives and exclusive benefits can be offered to direct bookers. These incentives can include free upgrades to higher room categories, additional services such as complimentary breakfast, a spa voucher, or discounts at the hotel restaurant. A clear reference to the "best price" also has a positive impact on guests' booking decisions. In addition, the integration of authentic and positive guest reviews helps to gain the trust of potential guests and provides them with valuable insights into the experiences of other travelers.

SEO - From Google to the hotel's website

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) improves the visibility of a hotel's website on search engines such as Google and Bing. This is achieved by using relevant keywords and optimizing the content of the page. This includes clear and appealing headlines, meaningful descriptions and regular content updates. In addition, providing multilingual content and seamless mobile optimization play an important role in increasing visibility. As a result, more potential guests become aware of the site and are more likely to visit and book directly. Adding regular content to the website, such as a blog with information about attractions, local events or insider tips for travelers, is also beneficial. This not only makes the site more attractive to visitors, but also improves search engine rankings. A Q&A section that answers frequently asked questions from guests provides valuable content and demonstrates the hotel's expertise.

Customer relationship management systems for the hospitality industry

Using a customer relationship management system (CRM) is also an effective way to generate more direct bookings. A CRM system helps manage guest relationships and interactions, allowing for better personalization and customer retention. By collecting and analyzing guest data, it is possible to better understand guest booking behavior, preferences and past vacation habits. This information can be used to create personalized offers, recommendations, and targeted advertising campaigns based on guests' specific needs and interests. Regular, automated communications ensure that guests receive relevant and helpful information at the right time to build trust and encourage them to book directly through the hotel's website.

Newsletter marketing for hotels: Added value for guests

Newsletter marketing provides a continuous and personal connection with potential and existing guests to strengthen the relationship and maintain their interest. Measurable results such as open and click-through rates allow to evaluate the success and to adjust the strategy accordingly. In addition, an appropriate newsletter system can be used to track inquiries and bookings. 
Newsletters are particularly suitable for sending attractive offers to increase direct bookings. Guests can be informed about news or upcoming events in the hotel and its surroundings. Local insider tips, points of interest or special events can be presented in a way that attracts the interest of readers and increases their curiosity about the destination. 
Newsletter marketing offers hotels the opportunity to enhance the guest experience through cross-selling and up-selling. Cross-selling allows you to offer guests additional products or services, such as spa treatments or restaurant vouchers, via email. Upselling, on the other hand, provides guests with an offer to enhance their booked package, such as a room upgrade that meets their needs. These personalized offers increase guest satisfaction, encourage the use of additional services, and increase the likelihood of direct bookings.

Social Media - more visibility and guest loyalty for hotels

Having a presence on various social media channels also increases a hotel's visibility and builds trust with potential guests. By posting organically, hotels can build an active presence and share engaging content. At the same time, offers and benefits can be brought closer to potential guests to establish a personal communication. Responding to comments and questions builds trust with guests.
Paid social media advertising can be used to highlight the hotel's benefits and offer incentives such as vouchers or discount codes. By targeting their audience, hotels can reach potential guests who are interested in what they have to offer. This increases the likelihood that bookings will be made directly on the hotel's own website.
Interacting on social media will help build strong relationships, retain guests and drive more bookings through the hotel's own website. In addition, by using incentives such as special discounts, packages or upgrades in the ads, hotels can encourage potential guests to book directly on the website.

Marketing Automation for hotels

Using marketing automation, hotels can take advantage of an effective way to increase direct bookings. Prospects are targeted with personalized content at the right time and through the right channel. Targeted and individualized communication across multiple channels is encouraged, while minimizing the effort required for recurring standard tasks. For example, guests who have visited the hotel's own website can be reached with personalized offers or reminders about the booking process.
To maximize the benefits of marketing automation, ADDITIVE+ MARKETING AUTOMATION was developed specifically for hotels. With this data-driven software, hotels can not only collect valuable contact information from prospects, but also engage with potential guests through multiple channels, such as email marketing and social media.
As a result, guests are guided before, during and after the booking process and encouraged to book directly through personalized offers. In addition, ADDITIVE+ MARKETING AUTOMATION provides the ability to build long-term customer relationships, increase repeat guest retention, attract new guests through lead generation and deliver measurable results from all marketing activities.
Simon Bruker, General Manager of SAXX Hotels & Apartments, on ADDITIVE's online marketing system: 
Within a short period of time we have been able to increase our direct bookings by around 25%. This reduces our dependence on booking portals and saves us commission costs.


To sustainably increase direct bookings and reduce dependency on OTAs, hoteliers have several options at their disposal. These include optimizing the hotel's own website, actively using social media channels and newsletters, and implementing marketing automation. It makes sense to combine several of these options in hotel marketing to maximize the effectiveness of marketing efforts. In addition, a comprehensive marketing and sales strategy along the customer journey is likely to build strong relationships with potential guests and generate more direct bookings in the long run.
A free consultation provides hoteliers and hotel marketing professionals with an overview of how to increase direct bookings. Schedule a no-obligation consultation: