About 6 years ago, I asked an industry consultant: “How do I get 100% direct bookings?”
The answer I received was “You can’t”.
And I said: “We’ll see!”.
I started to work in hospitality as a marketing specialist but, at that time, without the industry knowledge. Even so, I quickly figured what I wanted to achieve. And that was to maximize the direct bookings and save up to 20% of the total revenue.
During the following year I worked on a few verticals aiming to increase the direct bookings. Here are a few of the focus points:
- identifying and promoting our unique selling point through intelligent social media strategies – doing this right helped us create and nurture an online community rather easily. People like and share our content because they identify with what they see. When we post something, we get a reach of over 50% of our followers on Facebook. Free advertising!
- a functional and useful website – of course, we created an intuitive and appealing website. But the extra content that we published helped not only our guests but also tourists visiting the area. Google was pretty happy about it and showed some love in return.
- On and offsite SEO. We learned the risks and benefits of link building. Today we pop in top 5 results on Google when searching by the most used phrase to find accommodation in our area.
- Top notch customer service and guest experience. We always go the extra mile and make all our guests feel like they are special. This might not be directly related to digital marketing but generated tons of positive reviews. Our rating on booking.com is 9.7 and 5 on Trip Advisor.
These are just a few highlights, but in one year we jumped to about 70% direct bookings.
In 2019 – 9 in 10 bookings come through our website, Facebook and phone. We have an occupancy close to 100% during high and shoulder season.
2020 Update* – 5% of bookings now come trough TAs and less than 3% trough OTA. Only reason we keep some availability there is to get the free ads.
Of course, a successful business in hospitality is not just about marketing. All puzzle pieces need to perfectly matched.
I’d be happy to tell you more about my experience and hear about your business. Let’s continue the conversation!
Let’s make something awesome together