You can develop a pricing strategy that maximizes direct bookings while lessening your dependency on OTAs with the help of an innovative property management system. A PMS that offers interfaces and integrations allows accurate real-time rates to be reflected back on your hotel’s website where you can incentivize direct bookings. You can also adjust your pricing and offers to increase direct bookings, without ending your relationship with OTAs altogether. Here are some simple ways to do that.
Eliminate Cancellation Fees
Many OTAs charge cancellation fees, or don’t give guests the option to cancel. You can add incentive to guests who book directly through your website by assuring them that they won’t lose money should they decide to cancel their reservation within a certain time frame. You can further propel hesitant guests to book directly on your site by not requiring credit card information at the time of booking.
Offer Seasonal and Geo-Targeted Promotions
The psychological appeal of a promotional code cannot be underestimated—deals can steer potential guests away from OTA sites and directly toward your own if that is the sole place promotions are available. You can distribute promotions through a seasonal email marketing campaign, a targeted banner on your website or even through a pay-per-click campaign based on booking trends and other intel from your PMS analytics. You can also make the promotional code exclusively available in-room to offer current guests deductions on future stays. Having guests’ attention on-site is an opportunity that OTAs don’t have, and should be used to your advantage.
Develop an Excellent Loyalty Program
If your loyalty program is incredible, your customers will have no need for an OTA. Use a PMS that is able to integrate and customize incentives, and give the loyalty perks generously. Loyalty programs are the best way to gather data on guests and their preferences, which are generally lost when the guest books through an OTA. An amazing loyalty program will use this information to further customize offers and give guests exactly what they want.
Give Upgrades that OTAs Can’t
Offer extras like free wifi, complementary breakfast, drink tickets for the hotel bar or even a room upgrade exclusively for those who book direct. These are cost efficient ways to allure guests without having to actually cut the cost of the rooms that affect your ADR.
Offer the Best Possible Rates
If you can afford to match the deals offered by OTAs, make sure that potential guests know they are getting a steal. Guests will be far less likely to look elsewhere if you make it clear on your website that the very best deal available is direct. You can even add a pop-up ad when a user is about to leave your site reminding them of the benefits of booking direct.
While direct bookings are ideal from a profit standpoint, OTAs fill rooms and play a part in your success throughout certain seasons. The pain of their fees can be assuaged by marketing tactics that benefit both your guests and the bottom line. Your customers will always be on the pursuit of the best deal, but with strategic pricing, promotions and incentives, you can be the one to offer it to them.
Learn more about how you can use RoomKey PMS to create pricing strategies your guest won’t be able to turn down.
Photo: Shutterstock / Kzenon