Saahil Mehta, managing director, Resnet World gives his insights on how hoteliers can up their game to secure more direct bookings online through clever marketing and good apps.
What steps can hoteliers take to encourage travellers to book directly on their website?
Business and leisure travellers still believe they will get better deals on OTA’s over booking with the hotel direct. So hoteliers must ensure they give the confidence to a potential guest that they are getting the best price through icons or price comparison widgets – it is key that rate parity is in place, otherwise trust will be lost. The hotel can also provide website exclusive packages or rate types that the guest will not find on other platforms.
Statistics from Sabre Hospitality Solutions highlight:
- An open reservation console converts 9% better than a closed console.
- A prominent colour used in the reservation console resulted in a 15% increase in click-through rates into the booking engine and a 16% increase in revenue per visitor.
- Change the reservation console call-to-action verbiage to see which one has the highest click-through, and found that ‘search’ (check-availability came second) gave the best results in 60% of the sites tested and ‘reserve’ decreased the click-through by 5%.
How can hoteliers utilise mobile apps to the full capacity to engage guests?
With so many apps clogging our phones today, it is extremely important to have an app that will enhance the stay of the guest rather than just an installation for the purpose of getting free internet or coffee. Providing great information such as the weather; Dubai Metro Map; Ask the Concierge feature; Ordering room service; Being able to change the TV channel and stream music will engage guests more.
What are some of the mistakes hotels make online and how can these be rectified?
The two biggest mistakes in the region is speed and Arabic compatibility. We know from Google that 61% of hotel searches in the MENA region are now on mobile devices and we also know that the percentage of searches in Arabic is higher on the mobile than on the desktop, for example, 64% of searches from Saudi Arabia are in Arabic on a desktop and 81% are on mobile devices. Google has also informed us that a one second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.