Increasing conversions on your hotel website is vital for maximizing booking revenue and owning guest relationships. However, a lot of hotels rely heavily on OTAs to drive occupancy and deliver new business.
In order to win as many direct bookings as possible, hotels need to think of their websites as e-commerce platforms rather than digital brochures that look great but just aren’t conversion focused.
In the following post, we’ll discuss some of the key e-commerce principles that all hotels can apply to their own websites. We’ll also explain how your hotel can gain even more direct bookings with two innovative conversion-driving products.
Convincing travelers to book direct: the mindset of the modern shopper
The digital revolution has created an entirely new consumer mindset. We live in an online world of shrinking attention spans and a desire for instant gratification. This mindset has been largely cultivated by e-commerce giants battling it out for consumer attention. Tailored ads, personalized recommendations, and a host of conversion-driving tactics are now deployed to ignite interest and motivate purchases.
These same consumers are your own hotel’s potential audience. Is your hotel website optimized to influence their behavior and booking decisions? Just like the OTAs, you can implement an array of proven conversion triggers throughout your website.
Countdown timers, strikethrough pricing, urgency messaging are simple but effective ways to motivate users to take immediate actions.
Displaying “Rooms Remaining” information is another great way to ramp up urgency and promote popularity. If a guest sees a message, such as “Only 3 rooms left!” or “25 people are currently looking at this hotel,” they’re less likely to delay their booking decision through the fear of missing out (FOMO).
Guest reviews and ratings on the Rooms page and checkout page can also add social proof and booking confidence at key points in the decision-making process.
In addition to the tactics mentioned above, Travel Tripper has two cutting-edge products that can give hotels a competitive edge in the battle for more direct bookings.
Rate Match is an innovative price-checking and rate-matching tool that automates a hotel’s best rate guarantee on their own website. It gives hoteliers the advantage of guaranteed rate parity with OTAs, which in turn gives guests the confidence to book direct with you.
Most price-checking tools will simply tell guests to call the hotel to get a price match offer. But today’s travelers are used to instant gratification. Calling the hotel takes more time and adds hassle.
Rate Match eliminates this unnecessary step and automatically adjusts the Best Available Rate to match any lower rate it finds, which then becomes instantly bookable. Hotels can also set Rate Match to offer additional best rate guarantee discounts to further entice customers.
How does Rate Match work?
Rate Match works in four easy steps:
Step 1: Rate Match launches into action the moment a guest shops your booking engine for rates.
Step 2: Our price checker first checks the major OTA sites to compare rates to your hotel website’s rates.
Step 3: If a lower price is found on another site, Rate Match automatically adjusts your hotel’s published rates to match or beat that price based on your configurable settings.
Step 4: The guest never sees that you’re out of parity and can confidently book the lowest rate directly through your site.
Rate Match insights: understanding parity performance
We compared four hotel prices with OTA prices using Rate Match searches. Here’s what we found:
Direct prices were cheaper than OTA prices in 51% of cases
OTA prices were in parity in 27% of cases
OTA’s were on average out of parity in 22% of cases
Overall, we found that OTAs maintain parity with major brands significantly more than independent hotels, especially in the US set of hotels that we analyzed.
In general, OTAs were observed to contribute to a higher disparity issue when their prices were over 10% cheaper than the hotel. This is good news for revenue managers! By using a tool like Rate Match and playing with as low as a 10% threshold to match OTA prices, most issues like this one can be addressed. Furthermore, Rate Match has proven to help the hotel increase direct revenue and conversion rate.
The art of converting lookers into bookers is becoming increasingly about personalization. Clearly, not all visitors who land on your hotel website are the same. Their stage in their booking journey and awareness of your hotel will be different. If they’re using a mobile, they’ll be browsing your site differently than a desktop user.
Therefore, it doesn’t make sense that your hotel website treats every visitor the same. Yet many hotels still do that. To drive more bookings, a more tailored approach is needed.
That’s where Conversion Plus comes in.
This new tool delivers customized offers and messaging to each guest based on their history, behavior, device, and geography. Dynamically tailored marketing messages are then served to each visitor, helping to drive visitors down the booking funnel and capture lost sales on your hotel website.
Conversion Plus takes advantage of Rate Match technology to conduct automatic price checks with OTAs. It can also match or beat lower OTA rates to encourage direct bookings. In addition, it can retarget consumers with enticing offers if they seem likely to book based on their search engine activities and prior site searches.
Conversion Plus in action: a guest scenario
Imagine Joe revisits a hotel website after searching for dates last week, On a website with Conversion Plus, Joe instantly sees a banner displaying the rates for the stay dates he was looking at. When he clicks ‘Book Now’, his stay dates are automatically highlighted. And if he decides to change those dates, the rates are automatically updated.
The promotional banner that Joe sees is present on every page and embedded in the website experience, but it disappears if he scrolls so his browsing experience isn’t hindered.
In addition, if Joe clicked on a special offer in an email or an AdWords RLSA (remarketing lists for search ads) campaign, he will see that same offer when he visits the hotel website.
A New York hotel successfully doubled its conversion rate after launching Conversion Plus within a short period.
Time for an e-commerce mindset
A pretty brochureware hotel website just won’t cut it in today’s competitive travel landscape. It’s time for a new generation of hotel e-commerce platforms that utilize conversion-driving tools and products to boost direct bookings and increase ROI.
Using urgency-based messaging, time-sensitive offers, social proof, and best rate guarantees, you can drive action and instill booking confidence throughout your hotel website.
Instead of a static, one-size-fits-all experience, the modern hotel website needs to be dynamic and responsive. The battle for direct bookings will increasingly be won by hotel websites that are tailored to the unique preferences, behavior, and booking intent of each and every guest.