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From lookers to bookers:
How to convert website traffic into guests

Direct bookings are becoming increasingly important for hotels as they seek to maximise their revenues following the economic hardships of the pandemic. Despite the fact that OTAs still provide a useful source of bookings, their high commission fees often overshadow these benefits, while the properties listed on them are directly competing with other listed hotels – something that makes it harder to stand out.

Regardless of these drawbacks, OTAs still accounted for a 66% revenue share of sales channels across the global travel and tourism market in 2021 ­– a sizeable percentage that leaves hotels with enormous potential to expand direct bookings.

But how is this done?

Improving first impressions and focusing on those initially landing on your website would be a widely used way of approaching the matter. But, whilst this has its value, perhaps the most significant area for improvement can be found in the final stages of the booking process.

The hotel industry currently has a whopping 82.7% shopping cart abandonment rate, meaning more than four in five online shopping orders will typically be abandoned.

So, how can you limit this abandonment rate?

A super-efficient booking engine that has all the necessary information to hand in as few steps as possible plays a crucial part in this, but there’s more hoteliers can do.

Some guests like to carry out their own background research on your website before then going back to book via the OTA. You need to dissuade them from this and help turn their curiosity into a direct booking.

Content is key
High-resolution images and video are really important. A good-quality image is worth a thousand words and a good video is worth even more. Despite this, a large number of hotels still don’t have professional imagery and even less have video content for their properties. People look across multiple platforms to build confidence in a booking – and imagery is integral in that, especially in an increasingly digital age where social media holds significant value.

Personalisation is key
When you combine CRM segmentation and automated messaging with powerful data-driven insights, this will undoubtedly help to drive revenue, nurture long-term relations and grow guest engagement. Simple and functional tools can make the personalisation process simple, allowing you to effortlessly maintain contact with guests by using their data to segment and automate relevant offers and content. A slick digital guest experience leads to profitable long-term guest relationships, providing a further boost to direct bookings.

In this increasingly digital age, there are still situations where guests will favour a phone call — either looking for more information on the hotel or wanting to plan a more complex itinerary. In every case, this is a great opportunity to develop a relationship and impress the guest. Yet hotel staff are often spinning multiple plates at the same time, especially during out of office hours or weekends – which is when many guests have more time to plan their travel and make the phone call.

Just a very small percentage of hotels, however, will actually confirm an over the phone quote in writing, let alone attempt to upsell or follow up on their offers. Doing this can really help you stand out, while also enabling you to illuminate attractive upsells that might pique interest and help to drive revenue.

Wow them with extras
The majority of OTAs only sell rooms, so focus your efforts on offering packages and extras. Many hotels call upon discount voucher websites to boost their ancillary services sales, however, guests are always looking for unique experiences. A spa or other leisure element is a really valuable asset, so it’s important you get creative in order to maximise the impact these facilities have on revenue. Offering additional customisable add-ons, such as champagne on arrival, can also present a real opportunity to increase revenue.

It’s about give and take
When a guest makes a booking with you, they provide invaluable data that can then be used to encourage repeat custom. It’s essential this data is stored safely within your database.

Our analysis shows that a hotel with an average ADR of €238 and average stay of two nights can add as much as €119,010 in revenue per year by growing their database by 12,000 contacts. Of course, this is easier said than done, but it’s achieved by collecting data as early and as often as possible.

Once the guest is on your website, you want to start the data collection process.

Special sign-up discounts are a brilliant way of encouraging the transfer of personal contact data, particularly if applied immediately in return. For example, offering a newsletter sign-up option to the guests and applying a discount instantly to new subscribers can really help encourage this.

There’s a huge opportunity to increase direct bookings – hoteliers just need to embrace it.

To find out how your hotel can start converting lookers to bookers, book a demo of Profitroom’s technology, here: Book a demo

Samantha Williams
Commercial Director
Profitroom, a provider of SaaS technology and hotel marketing services.

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