What to offer your guests to book direct during the Coronavirus crisis

Welcome to Boostly Podcast Season 8 Episode 19. This is a recap of my Facebook live video where I discussed the things that you can offer your guests to book direct during the Coronavirus crisis.

Here’s the audio for this episode:

Here’s the video for this episode:

Timestamp

03:50 About Sabrina and Rosberg House
08:50 Let’s dig in the website
17:10 Quick check on social media
20:30 Quick look on Google

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Transcript from the Episode

Sabrina actually won this marketing review, part of being in the hospitality community. Just like Hari did the night previously, the episode previously.

Tonight, what I wanted to do is I wanted to double down on TripAdvisor, I’ve spotted something on TripAdvisor. And it just confirmed something to me my research for doing this marketing review what Sabrina isn’t doing and I’m looking forward to showing you this because I pretty much guarantee will be at least one person watching this that will also be suffering this as well.

Help your customers book direct

First and foremost, what I want to do is I want to dig in to Sabrina’s website, as she fully admit That her website was one that she did herself. It was created over three years ago in 2017. coming on and looking at it from a from a first time review, the website looks like something that somebody has put together themselves. Now I’m not saying that DIY websites are a bad thing, what you’ve got to remember, when you have your homepage of your website, more often than not, this is the first impression that you are given to a guest or a potential guest.

You have to envision it as though it’s somebody walking in to the Rosberg house for the first time. That is the impression and the feel that you want to give to somebody with the homepage of your website. Now your website looks like a DIY rush job.

That’s what the homepage of your website looks like. There are some good things and I’m going to focus on the good things very soon. My big recommendation and you know, I know that you admit it yourself is that you need to get a new one. My my big advice would be I would get somebody to do it for you, I would definitely look at getting a professional to do it. What I would recommend is make sure you get somebody who knows what they’re talking about when it comes to websites for the world of hospitality, but what I really would be looking to do and think this is a Wix website. I believe this is a Wix website, I would love for you to let me know otherwise, but a Wix website. One of the beauties of a Wix website is that they’re free. The reason why Toki give you a free website is the reason why most of these PMS give you a free website is that you feel like you don’t have to go and pay someone to get one done. But just like with everything in this world, if you you get what you pay for. And if you buy cheap, you got to buy twice.

What I would recommend, number one would be to spend this downtime to spend this lockdown period looking and putting the research in getting a new website done. I would look to do if I were you would be to get in a walk. through tour done.

Now, I don’t know if you have got one because it doesn’t stand out. But one of these walkthrough tours in a property like yours from what I can see from the pictures, you’ve definitely got that old school, you know American vibe, too. I mean, the outside of the building is is like so colorful, and it’s so stand out. And that’s the brand. I think that with a walkthrough tour, then it would really really make your property stand out from anywhere in the local area anywhere in the local county, but even the state, I’m going to go on why your business stands out from everywhere else I’m going to talk about in a second.

I really think if you’re looking at here, it just needs so much more. I mean, I’ve just scrolled down here, and that’s the end of the website has to handle the homepage and I say this a lot. You want to have 80% of the all of your website information on that homepage because what you’ll find is that people won’t dig and look around other places.

So yeah, that would be the the main thing that I would say to you right now, it doesn’t have to be a lot to get a good website, I wouldn’t be looking to spend any more than $1,000. Literally, I wouldn’t, because you can get such good websites done now and not have to spend a lot of money doing it. Now I know right now $1,000 may seem will will be a lot of money and sounds like a lot of money. But you’re future proofing the whole marketing here by doing so. So when we do come on the other side, you can get even more people booking through your website, you can get even more people you can still stay with with your PMS potentially. And this is something that I’m going to circle back to in a second. I think that a front end website, a really good website will do you a lot of good.

Now there’s some things that I do like and this is again something that Tudor farmhouse didn’t do on the homepage of the website, it states clearly the benefits of booking direct why customers deal direct with the owners Best Price Guaranteed with No booking fees ever, local knowledge secure payment options now I would be adding in Some thinking here which would be early check in again a nice little benefit from booking for the otas.

All of the good work you do here you will outweigh it with this down here. So you’ve got the widget for TripAdvisor that will link off to Trip Advisor and you’ve got these things here widgets from booking.com amazing what you’ve done here talking about book direct and save you outdo yourself your own due to good work by having these widgets in so I would remove these straightaway I’ve spoken about this at length booking comm TripAdvisor Airbnb a super clever with these awards that they give out they don’t do it to tell you a good job they do it because this is branding.

You put the certificates in your property of branding for them so they know you they the guests know that you’re with them by doing it here they know that you’re on booking.com and they’ll just go about booking.com I’ll go and check out then because of the marketing, the things that they do and again with TripAdvisor by having this widget on here you may think this is good social proof for you but when they click on to there, it will load up TripAdvisor. And when they go on to TripAdvisor, TripAdvisor throwing up so many different options instead of your property, it’s encouraging them to use it the guests to book with everybody else book you. So I would definitely move in them straightaway.

You talk more about book direct to tell people about why we should book direct, but keep pushing people to your booking engine 87% of people, they all agree on a poor user experience, they will leave the website and never come back. And it’s just it’s just a fact. As soon as somebody leaves your site, they just don’t come back because when they go through to booking.com and TripAdvisor and speedier and Airbnb, these big companies, they spend millions hiring core teams to just focus on the user experience. They spend so much time and effort focusing on every single click, doing a B testing and really making sure that their whole process is like a mousetrap you know, so as soon as somebody goes onto the booking.com, they grab you like a mousetrap and they won’t let you go.

I’m going to set a scenario here, where you’ve got checking is 1pm. Now it’s 1pm. If somebody books direct with you, okay, now you have that same check in time all over the internet. Now what my advice would be is keep your checking time at 1pm. I’m not saying move it forwards an hour to 12pm. Because I don’t want to rush your cleaning process. We don’t want to do that. But what you’re going to do is you’re going to keep your checking time at 1pm when people book direct, but you’re going to move it back to say three or 4pm, on booking.com, Airbnb, etc. What you’re doing is you’re punishing people for booking via a third party. And then in the email confirmation goes out to everybody, when they book it gets sent from your PMS, that gets sent out on a confirmation. You’re gonna have the following type of script and you can personalize it for you and how you talk but it would go along the lines of Hey, name, thank you very much for your booking. Just to confirm these are your dates, the price of your stay is here and then you put pretty much in bold or capitals important check in information, please read and reply.

So you want them to read it and reply in bold capital, it will grab their attention check in time, if you have booked directly with us, your check in time is 1pm. And you can even have in brackets direct his email, phone or via our website, if you have booked via a third party, ie booking.com, Airbnb etc. And your check in time is 3pm 4pm whatever you want to put it, if you would prefer to have an earlier check in time, please contact us as soon as possible on this telephone number.

Now the reason why this works is that people don’t like to be punished. People like to have all of the benefits they want to have all of the features. You know, the reason why so many people book by these third parties is that they are very clear with the marketing message best rates guaranteed, you know, data data all the nonsense so We know it’s not true find more ways than just best rates of appealing to your guests.

Use social media to book direct

So we’ve gone through the website I think we can pretty much all agree that the website is the place that I really would be dressing to make amendments as soon as possible. Let’s just go quickly over to social media again, what I really love is that you’ve got the same image this main image of your property is the main one that people see it really does sell it you’re making full use of the cover photos I would have a little relook at the pictures that you’re using because they look blurry or they just don’t fit the screen etc.

The profile pic again I mentioned this with Tudor farmhouse hotel last night, I would get this picture being of you and your family, you know, when you have a b&b you’ve got a very sociable business they meet you, you know, so what I would be doing with your social media is putting your profile picture here keeping it personal, keeping it social, so Have your picture in here.

I like that you’re doing the don’t cancel your travel, change the date save tourism. This is this is all real cool. The problem is that post was done nearly a month ago, we need to be a bit more consistent. And again, Sabrina you’re a member of Sorted. You’ve got 30 plus days worth of content for you right there that’s in it, you can go and grab it, use it, post it and put it into into your business.

So again, I’d be looking to do that make it a bit more personal and the beauty of this will be people don’t come and stay at the Rosberg for the the amazing structure of the house, you know, the painting and all of that they don’t come because you’ve got comfy beds. They come in because of you and I know this because everybody can go and find it for themselves. But you’ve got certain keywords that get picked out when you’ve got reviews left on TripAdvisor.

All right, and you can go and find this out right now. So if you go to your TripAdvisor page, and this is what I wanted to show everybody when you come down certain section here, which is popular mentions, or popular keywords, and I’m always looking for the reviews that are left that mentioned the host’s name. And as you can see here, Sabrina, so you’ve got things like breakfast was the main and Lincoln rooms Swedish pancakes. So breakfast gets a good mention. And then you’ve got Sabrina so that means that you as the host is getting Special shout outs on these reviews, which is exactly what you want. They look so good. They almost look like drawings. In fact, I can’t tell if that’s a drawing or not.

This is another shout out to why I would be getting one of those walkthrough videos. I don’t know if there’s anybody in the day or in your area that does does virtual reality walkthroughs but you’ve got such a distinct building, you’ve got such a unique layout here that I’d be showing it off and it would be the first thing that I will be talking about. And again the the walkthrough video, definitely something that I know booking.com are working on TripAdvisor Expedia, Airbnb so that’s where their their mindset is at the moment they’re looking to put these virtual reality walkthrough videos in on their listing sites.

So if that’s where their mindsets at the moment I will be looking for you as hosts be looking to do this as well. So the reason why I wanted to look at these keywords was just to see what people love most about staying with you. And guess what? It’s you put a little bit more about you let’s put more about your families put more about what you’re doing in on the business page and just share about a bit more because people will come and come back and stay because of because of you because of the stories and you know and and what you’re doing.

Use Google to book direct

Let’s have a quick look on on Google search Google business page listing that first image all important really well. I love how you’ve got this as the consistent image for out which is which is great. Again, you’ve got reviews on here, which is which is awesome, which really does help and just to get more visibility. You know from the great work that you’ve been doing on TripAdvisor, you’re ranked number one of free bnbs In the area that you’re in so keep that up if I was to suggest anything else would be Have a look down at the bottom like we do all the time and just have a look to see what other people are typing in when they’re looking in this or the Lindsborg area.

I’m guessing from this that it’s it’s not a big big town I will I will be very honest my my geographical knowledge of Kansas isn’t the best is it such a big state of I have lived over in the states what I would be looking to do is I’d be using your social media to talk about what’s over here what’s what’s what’s in the area to what is there to do in Lindsborg. Why do guests come through here what what is going on around here? Talk about the general area. I always massively advise not to do this for for one reason, when you’ve got your website and when you’ve got your booking engine, you want it to be separate. So the PMS will be with a with somebody like that. Free to book I’d recommend for you to book for you, for example, book alette, zebu super control. There’s so many of them. But the reason why you don’t want it to be under the one platform is that for whatever reason, save it, you lose access to your Wix account, say it gets hacked or somebody breaks into it changes the password, that’s it, you it’s gone, you know, you cannot get access. So that means you’ll be able to get access to your bookings, or just for whatever reason, say the server drops out and you just literally cannot get into it, then that means you can’t get access to your bookings. That means you can’t get access to your guests or date or anything.

So this is why I always advise for your booking engine for your property management software for the most important part, the engine of your business, have it separately.

We went through social media, we went through Google we shot we looked at TripAdvisor. We featured heavily on the website here. I know that they’re going to be people that are watching this are in exactly the same position. They’ll have a website that’s a couple of years old that they’re thinking about changing. They’ll be thinking about the booking processes and what they’re doing and what they’re enticing guests with book direct. This is really what We’re all focused and about here.

So what I want for you to do in the chat, whether it’s live right now or in the replay, put in what you’re going to do to your current market and to fix it. This is a perfect time, you know, you’re on lockdown.

You can’t leave the house, you’ve got time to look at your market, and you’ve got time to improve what you’re doing. But you need to have a little think about what needs to improve. And then look at fixing it. If you’re struggling, if you’re looking at your current setup, and you’re thinking, well, I don’t know what I need to improve on. And you want a third party to have a look at it. Someone from the outside in, let me know put hashtag audit below.

So if the main thing that I want you to get from this is I want y’all to try and pick 1-3 things that you can be doing potentially with your marketing based on what you’ve seen with Hari last night at Tudor farmhouse in Gloucestershire, or with Sabrina, over in Kansas in America.

We’ve heard b&b and vacation rental, have a look at that. Have a look at both of these put into plan for yourself. And then let’s Most importantly, put a plan on how you’re going to fix it.

What to offer to your guests to book direct during the COVID crisis

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