Four years ago, I asked an industry consultant: “How do I get rid of OTAs?”
The answer I got was “You can’t”. And I said: “We’ll see!”.
My journey in hospitality just started and I already knew I had a big problem to solve. We had only about 30% direct bookings and close to 20% of our revenue was going back to different online sales channels.
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 – for us it was not enough to have an intuitive website where tourists could book their stay. We created content that was useful to our guests and other tourists. This, of course, helped a lot with the onsite search engine optimization
- SEO, very important of course, both onsite and offsite. 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. To be honest, our services can still be improved. But as one of my mentors once said, “Perception is reality”.
There’s so much more to be said, 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 of 100% for 5 months in a row – not typical results for our area.
My name is Alexandru I. Marchis, today I’m starting a Hotel Marketing Agency with the desire to help independent hotels achieve the highest level of success they commit to.
Do you want to see your business grow? Let’s continue the conversation!
Let’s make something awesome together