Secrets to Increase Your Conversions on Direct Bookings – Part 2

On Monday I wrote part 1 of this article where I looked at the look and feel of your website and booking page and how that can help drive your conversions up. We also explored the use of testing and effectively utilising OTA’s and what they can offer you.

Today we are going to look deeper into using Social Media effectively as well as membership economy ideas to increase conversions even further. We start with something that should be familiar to most of us…

1. Points and Rewards

This is an excellent opportunity for you to increase your conversions. When people visit sites they want some sort of incentive to return again. These days there is a huge rise in the use of loyalty cards. This is something that can be done through your booking page or via an email after the booking is confirmed or as an ‘abandon cart’ email if they look but don’t book.

What does this mean? It means that someone comes to your page, they look through the rooms available and look at the restaurant menu for example but take no further action.  

Using readily available tools, you can set up an automated email so when the guest has looked at the restaurant menu but not booked, it will send them an email to offer them a discount at the restaurant for example. You can also apply the same to your booking page. If, for instance, they look at the rooms but do not book, they receive an email giving them the option to book with a small discount or some suggestions for events, or discount in the restaurant.

It’s all about relationships

The other scenario is that they actually book a room via your platform, they can then receive an email offering them the chance to take advantage of a loyalty card which will give them discount on future bookings or even a free nights stay after so many bookings have been made. This is an excellent way to automate the process of sending offers to people and increasing your conversions.

Of course, it is a great idea to display any seasonal discounts on rooms, group discounts, or discount in the restaurant when booking directly on the booking page itself. Of course don’t forget to have a pop-up or some CTA (click to action) box clearly displayed, asking the visitor to sign up to your blog (coming later) or to your newsletters about upcoming offers etc.

This is also a good opportunity to collect information on visitors and be able to keep in touch with them and retain them as returning customers. You can read more about email automation and how to effectively utilise it in my previous article “5 tactics for your travel email to take flight” Don’t forget to read the new GDPR rules (watch out for the article next week) to make sure you are sticking to the law for marketing content.

6. Social proof is king of the hill

Social proof is an increasing phenomenon and is becoming more and more important in marketing and sales as a whole, across all industries. So what is social proof? Well, the best example of this phenomenon is ‘the shed @ Dulwich’.

This was a young guy, journalist Oobah Butler, working for Vice magazine, who took the shed he lived in at the bottom of someone else’s garden in Dulwich and managed to make it the No.1 restaurant on Tripadvisor even though the restaurant did not exist and was not really a restaurant.

So how did he do this? Social proof. He posted pictures of ‘the shed’ on TripAdvisor and got friends and colleagues to write fake reviews on the restaurant in order to generate interest in ‘the shed’ This was then worked over a period of months, with facebook posts and other reviews until it eventually becomes the most wanted place to eat on tripadvisor. Now he did this as an experiment for him to report on, however, these same principles can be applied to your hotel.

How do you do it?

You take some good photos of people eating in your restaurant, or in the gym on your premises, or some people at an event in your hotel or near to your hotel. You then post pictures across all social media outlets and get friends and family and guests to make comments on the pictures and share them far and wide.

All of this generates interest in your hotel and drives traffic to your page, providing of course you include a link in the picture or in the comments section, encouraging people to take advantage of the good weather or if they want a fantastic night out, they need to book with you.

All of these things generate traffic to your page and then, providing you have implemented the other hints and tips here, you will convert people to becoming loyal, returning customers.

7. Blog it and then blog it some more

Blogs have now become an essential way to market your hotel and also the ‘kind’ of place your hotel is. If you have never read a blog or written one. Fear not. A blog is essentially a collection of personal thoughts and feelings. You can blog on anything. Blog about your food in your restaurant, about local events (before and after) with this option you can also look at including links to official pages for the events and or other venues.

Maybe go and review some local restaurants, clubs or activities. This way you can increase your revenue by striking a deal with them to give you a promo code, so when you bring custom their way, they pay you commission on the business you bring them, or allow you to offer a discount to your customers who decide to go there. Perhaps a free drink or free entry to local clubs for example. All of these things can be included in your blog.

In today’s day and age you really need to start thinking outside the old traditional hotelier model and start thinking like a marketeer. A blog is an excellent way to really get creative and give yourself the chance to include linkbacks etc in your blog posts which will increase your google rating and drive more and more traffic to your site.

If you publish your posts on your own site and also on somewhere like ‘Medium’ for instance then you increase the views and therefore increase traffic. You can also ask other businesses to pay you money for including them in your blog. This of course can only be done once you begin to have a following.

Be your own marketeer, be your own solution.

With all the information contained in this article, if you take advantage of all the things suggested and implement them, it will generate more traffic to your site and it will increase your direct bookings and therefore your conversions.

Remember things are different these days. People have shorter attention spans and need things to be completed quickly, efficiently, and with ease. If you can make your potential customers visit as pleasant as possible then you will soon see those visits increase and see your conversions go higher and higher. Be your own marketeer, be your own solution.

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