In this short article you will find out how to encourage your guests to book with you directly, in particular the guests that stay with you often but keep booking through OTAs (Online Travel Agency).
In recent years, OTAs have gained more and more market share in online sales. Although this gives the guest the advantage to compare different hotels and prices all through one portal, for the hotelier it’s a crucial loss of their direct sales and subsequently their profit margin. Winning over the online customer is becoming more and more expensive for the hotels. The prices that are payed for things like Adwords are no longer profitable for many hotels. SuitePad comes into play at a different point: When the guest is in the room. SuitePads are in-room tablet-PCs that replace the guest directory and are picked up by about 80% of guests. This creates a new communication channel between the hotel and their guests. Winning direct bookings doesn’t stop after the booking is finalised. On the contrary, it’s essential to win returning customers, turning them into direct bookers. We are convinced that winning these customers starts during the stay. But how does one inform guests about the direct booking channels without disturbing the guest during their day?
We believe that SuitePad is the ideal channel for this. With SuitePad the guests that come through an OTA can be targeted and informed about the direct booking channels. For example, an OTA-guest sees a welcome message like this on his SuitePad after check-in:
“Dear Mr. Mueller, thank you for choosing our hotel. If you book your next stay with us directly via www.hotelname.com you will save an average of 5€.”
“Dear Mr. Mueller, we are happy to see you again as our guest. We would like to reward your loyalty by inviting you to book your next stay through www.hotelname.com using the voucher code ABCDEFG to receive a free upgrade.”
This is a very elegant way to turn loyal customers into direct bookers with the crucial advantage that it’s fully automated. Since no staff member has to be trained to do this the staff can focus entirely on guest satisfaction which is great because increasing customer loyalty and winning direct bookers must happen during the guest’s stay.