If you are already doing really well and don’t have any availability for 2018, you can skip this post. However, if you would like some help on how to get more direct bookings, then read on…
Tip 1 – Email Your Past Guests
90% of hospitality owners don’t do this. They are missing out on a huge market.
A wise man once told me, “You have hundreds of people who already know you, who have already given you money, who know your property and you are crazy for chasing new bookings.”
It’s true! Too many hospitalities fixate on acquiring new bookings when they already have contacts with those who have previously stayed with them. Why not reconnect with those guests?
I think a big reason they hold back on doing so is that they fear they will seem annoying. However, email marketing is still one of the best forms of marketing there is.
What I recommend you do is sign up for MailChimp. Get started today.
“What do I send them?”
Keep it social and conservational. Chat about what’s happening in the local area and your property over the coming months.
I recommend this as a way of keeping your business fresh in your guest’s memory. Just because they stayed with you a year ago doesn’t mean they are going to think of you first thing when they want to go on another holiday. By sending a monthly or quarterly email, you remain fresh in their mind.
At the end of every email, I post a little link to my booking engine. The beauty of MailChimp is that it tracks when people open an email and who clicks on the links in an email. This is how you can focus on the people who are clicking on the booking engine and turn them into future reservations.
Tip 2 – Stop the online booking agents from advertising on your name
A large reason that hotels lose direct bookings to online booking agency websites is that OTAs spend MILLIONS with Google to appear at the top of the search results. There’s nothing we can do when they pay to show up first in a search for “Hotels in [insert your town name]”. However, what really annoys me is when they pay to appear in search results for your property’s name.
For example, go to Google now and search for [Your Property Name] in [Your Town]. You’ll probably see that a few big OTAs are using your name to advertise for their own service.
There are two options here:
1️⃣ Trademark your business name so that nobody else can advertise on your trademark, or…
2️⃣ Fight fire with fire and set up a Google Adwords account. Bid on your brand name so you will appear in those search results.
If you choose option 2, it’s important to be strategic about your ad wording to ensure that people come to you directly. If you want to read more, then I have a post for you.
Tip 3 – Make your booking process on your website EASY
I see so many hospitality websites that make it IMPOSSIBLE for a guest to book. You have FIVE seconds from the instant someone lands on your website to direct them to your booking engine before they get fed up and leave.
When someone leaves your website, they are not coming back
It’s essential that you work with your website designer to implement the following:
▶️ Make sure that a link to your booking engine is always visible in the top right corner of your site.
▶️ Make sure your site is mobile friendly. If your site has not been designed to work on mobile phones, you might as well close your holiday rental.
▶️ Make sure your phone number is readily visible at the top of your website on every page. That way if a guest has a question they can’t find on your site, they can call you straight away. Again, if they can’t find your number, they will leave your site to see it.
If you would like to find out more tips, I have created something that will help you.