Written by Shri Lildharrie, hebdigital
A Caribbean hotelier recently asked me an extremely on-point question: “How do I get more direct bookings and not be so dependent on OTAs?”
This hotelier understood that their small hotel can’t possibly go head-to-head with the big guys, but still wanted to get a larger slice of the pie by engaging and retaining guests at the lowest cost-of-sale possible.
Hoteliers today are facing a high cost-of-distribution. They’re struggling to reach today’s multi-device travel consumer directly. Further, they lack the resources needed to focus on strategy, planning, and digital optimization. So, how DO hotels get more direct-bookings and be less dependent on OTAs? Two words: Website Performance.
How can hoteliers get started? Even the smallest of hotels can make an impact through an elevated hotel website. More than just an innovative design, a hotel website needs to be powered by hospitality focused content management system that leverages a responsive design with a focus of generating direct-bookings.
A hotel website should not be viewed as an expense or forgotten. Many hoteliers wrongly find it difficult to justify new investments in their website due to a history of poor ROI. However, it’s extremely likely that the past investments made in their websites were not built to perform.
Hoteliers, think of your websites as digital employees. As with any employee that does not perform, costs you money, and negatively affects your business, you simply fire and replace them. As a digital cashier, every page of your website should do one thing: Sell rooms.
Let’s look at this case study: A 25-room hotel with an ADR of $90, running an occupancy of 80%, paying OTA commission of 25% with an OTA distribution of 90%. A 25% increase in direct-bookings means $16,836 USD every year to their bottom line. A new fully responsive state-of-the-art website, with strikingly beautiful design, and, most of all, best-in-class book-direct technology can cost as little as $295 USD/month.
Without the right technology powering your website, you will not only fail to engage, retain, and acquire past and future guests, you will also seriously jeopardize your revenue in this trying time of flattening occupancy rates, emerging competition (i.e. Airbnb), and increased distribution costs. There is no better time than now to replace your non-performing digital employee to increase revenues, lower cost-of-sale, and decrease dependency on OTAs.