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How Inbound Marketing Can Increase Your Hotel’s Direct Bookings

By Kate

The hotel is booked, the suitcase is packed and the journey is ready to begin – but what prompts that particular guest to book that particular hotel using that particular method like direct booking?

Today, technology has completely revolutionized the way people research, plan, and book their travel experiences. Travellers now expect to have everything at their fingertips and as a result, online travel agencies or OTAs have capitalised on this. 

Sure, it’s another room sold, but with a whopping 15-20% commission, bookings via OTAs can heavily impact your hotel’s bottom line! 

 

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To increase direct bookings on your hotel’s website, a robust Inbound Marketing Strategy that is tailored along your customer’s journey can help attract guests to your website and offer them valuable content that entices them to choose you over competitors. 

 

Sure, it’s another room sold, but with a whopping 15-20% commission, bookings via OTAs can heavily impact your hotel’s bottom line! 

 

It's All About Your Customer's Journey 

A traveller’s journey consists of a number of points of contact, each representing an opportunity for your hotel to create a relationship with your guest.

By following their journey, you will gain valuable insights into how you can work towards tipping the scales in your favour instead of losing out to the OTAs.

 

Stage 1: The “I NEED a Holiday!” Phase

 

The travel bug has officially bitten. Your customer might not know where they want to go or what they want to do once they are there. They just know they want to go.

At this awareness stage, your customer is not interested in logistics, instead they are conducting light research and looking for inspiration for their trip.

For your hotel, this stage is all about being discoverable and accessible. Inbound marketing tactics help increase awareness of your hotel and reach potential guests where they’re searching online.

Attract and capture their attention with valuable content that nurtures them through the holiday dreaming process. Content such as blogs, videos and travel guides offer great inspiration and are designed to awaken interest and awareness in your hotel as an option for their trip.

 

Stage 2: The “Time to Make a Plan!” Phase

At this consideration stage, your guest is getting serious about their travel plans and is searching for a destination to settle on. To help them in their decision in selecting one accommodation option over another,  they require targeted and valuable information. 

Typically, this stage is where OTAs tend to provide an edge to customers and hotels often lose out on a chance of a direct booking. 

To compete with OTAs at this stage, your website has to be strong

Building a Growth Design Website that is functional, SEO-friendly and optimised for all devices is vital. You should also ask yourself how clear and engaging your content is.

Be clear about your location, prices, and amenities and if there is something that makes your property unique or desirable like a beautiful ocean view or that vegan-friendly menu, highlight it on your website. 

The experiences of previous guests in the form of reviews can provide crucial information that can assist in deciding for or against a booking.

 

Stage 3: The  “Ok, Here we go!” Phase

By now travellers have settled on a destination and have narrowed down their options to your hotel, hurray! 

But, the deal isn’t sealed just yet...

At this booking stage, not only is it about how attractive your hotel offering is, but also how easy the booking process itself is for your guest. 

Website usability is crucial to converting visitors on your site to booking guests. 

Ensure your website is easy to navigate with minimal and clear steps for users to reach their goal. If you make the booking process too cumbersome or too difficult to navigate your site, potential guests will look elsewhere. 

 

Stage 4: The “Here We Come!” Phase

At this point you’ve got the customer right where you want them…at your hotel! 

You may have already won the sale, but your guest’s experience once actually at your hotel is extremely important for future bookings. 

At this stage, your guest needs to be reassured that they made the right call in booking their accommodation with you.  

Before their stay, send them valuable and relevant information, offer additional services, provide information on amenities in your hotel or advise them on things to do in the local area. 

Once at your hotel, it’s all about creating the best possible experience from the moment they enter with exceptional customer service. 

 

Stage 5: The “Wish You Were Here!” Phase

The ultimate goal of every hotel is to secure their guest’s loyalty. Not only do you want your guest to return but you also want them to promote your hotel to others. 

While the increase of choice today has meant that loyalty to brands has faded, many travellers will still return to the same hotel if they enjoyed their stay. 

At this final stage, your guest’s engagement with your hotel is so valuable to securing this loyalty and reaching new potential guests. 

Encourage guests to become content generators by sharing videos, photos and reviews of their stay via social media tagging your hotel and using your branded hashtag. 

 

We Can Help!

So as we have shown, supplementing your guest’s digital journey with a targeted and engaging Inbound Marketing Strategy can be the key to your guest’s actual journey to your hotel.

If you are interested in boosting your hotels direct bookings as well as guest loyalty and brand perception, we can help!  Book your free consultation with us here

 

Book a Consultation with us

 

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