Armin Gögele, last updated on June 24, 2023
Direct booking refers to the booking of a hotel stay through the hotel's own channels. These include the website, telephone, email, but also enquiries made through online marketing activities such as newsletters, social media ads, organic social media marketing, search engine advertising or on landing pages.
On the other hand, reservations are made through third parties and online travel platforms (OTAs) such as booking.com. These offer hotels a wide reach and the opportunity to attract potential guests. However, a commission is charged for each reservation.
To avoid these additional costs, which significantly reduce profit margins, and to minimise reliance on OTAs, hotels would do well to actively increase their share of direct bookings, for example by
- Making the booking process easy and clear
- Integrating reviews to build trust and reinforce the booking decision
- Using open communication to encourage guests who have booked through an OTA to book directly next time
- Incentivising and rewarding direct bookings with small gifts
- Using clear call-to-actions (CTAs) that encourage action at all points of contact with potential guests.
The most important questions about Direct Booking
Why is direct booking important for hotels?Direct booking is a way to maximize profit margins and reduce dependency on OTAs. Hotels have more control over the booking process and can manage the relationship with their guests directly. Additionally, it allows for control of guest data, enabling targeted segmentation, personalized marketing campaigns, and a better understanding of the target audience. Direct bookings can offer more flexible cancellation and modification policies as well as special amenities that are exclusively available to direct bookers.
How do I increase direct bookings for my hotel?Hotels can increase their direct booking rate by optimizing the booking process, integrating customer reviews and targeted marketing. Personalized communication should be promoted and incentives for direct bookings created, such as exclusive discounts or free upgrades. In doing so, the benefits should be clearly communicated on the website. Likewise, it is advisable to make your hotel website user-friendly and clearly present transparent prices and attractive offers. Pay attention to appealing pictures and informative room descriptions, accompanied by an uncomplicated booking function. Also, rely on online advertising and social media marketing, and emphasize special benefits such as best price guarantee to encourage guests to book directly with you.