AllCast marketing looks at the case of one small independent villa resort which has implemented a guest benefit program for travelers who book direct on its own booking engine. The article looks at Why Hotels Need To Offer Benefits For booking Direct and shares the strategy. It looks at how it avoids issues of rate parity and looks why depending on OTA business snot always the best route.
Capturing Guest Contacts
It is not important what booking engine it is so long as it captures the guest information up front – that is, before they check and leave. Its important that the booking engine does not carry the same heavy commissions of an Online Travel Agent (OTA) and that they do have room to offer a special direct booking rate to registered guests.
Avoid Conflict with OTA Contract
To avoid conflict with OTA contracts the resort does not display a Better Rate until the guest registers in the VIP program. Once they enter their email, which they must do to see the special rates, the guest is entered into the prospects database where hotel staff can contact them and nurture them along the booking path.
This is an important part of the sales funnel that hotels never control or have access to one the guest is booking with an OTA, and since most travel shoppers dont buy immediately, the hotel may never even knows they were interested in their property. The entire point of the Direct Bookings Benefit Program is to offer a combination of EXTRAs that are not available elsewhere.
It’s Not All About Best Rates
A better rate is definitely a great attraction but it is not all – In the case covered by AllCast Marketing, the extras are attractive on their own and the resort is actively working with nearby restaurants t prove things like a free bottle of wine for selected VIP guests who register.
The Poinsettia Villas Case Study is a good example of how to boost bookings. It illustrates how even small independent accommodation properties can win business back from OTAs by proving visitor offers that they cannot get elsewhere.
Perils of OTA Dominance / Why you Need Direct Booking Benefits
The AllCast article also explains “Why Hotels Need to Show Travelers the Benefits of Booking Direct“. In addition it outlines several “Disadvantages of OTA Bookings” for the very obvious “loss of revenue with commissions” to more subtle issue of loss of brand integrity and commodification of the accommodation as hotels and tourism suppliers loos their identity in a homogeneous channel that lumps all together. As it says “Often they display alternatives that not up to your standard of service, space ambiance or amenities. Being seen in association with lower quality product can hurt your image.”
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