There are a million ways for guests to find your property, this is the start of every guest’s journey. Optimizing your property’s distribution strategy has become a vital part of every organization’s technical infrastructure. A property distribution strategy is a plan of action for selling rooms profitably through a variety of channels. A mix of direct channels, such as a hotel’s website, and indirect channels such as online travel agents, Global Distribution Systems and wholesalers are typically used.
In a highly competitive market like the hospitality industry, it is also important to determine if your distribution strategy is profitable enough by evaluating the cost for acquiring guests (CAC – Customer Acquisition Cost). Bookings via indirect channels often come with a significant cost, which impacts the volume of revenue properties are able to secure from each guest. Controlling and reducing the cost of distribution and customer acquisition is therefore an important part of a property distribution strategy to become more profitable.
In other words, properties can reduce the cost of guest acquisition by increasing the amount of direct bookings. The most cost-effective channel for properties is still its own websites. The objective is to increase direct website bookings by effectively market your product to potential customers.
A strong online presence is the path for more direct bookings. In order to do this effectively it starts with increasing the traffic on your website by practising advanced search engine optimization strategies (SEO) and online marketing campaigns. A strong and responsive website should be modern in its design and easy to understand, search engines friendly so it can be easily indexed and should reflect what you want to radiate as a property.
After you caught the attention of a potential guest it is important to convert those website visitors into buyers. The most important part of this journey is the property booking engine, this booking experience should be as simple and effortless as possible. First of all, the booking engine should be compatible and optimized for all kinds of devices, like laptops, tablets or smartphones. A smooth and seamless booking engine should entail clear pictures and descriptions, have a good structure workflow and must be easy to use and trustworthy.
Mews Booking Engine has been designed with this intention and has been proven increases conversion.
Offering added values compared to indirect channels will stimulate the conversion even more. Properties can add value by offering some advantages that are only available for those clients booking direct. Examples of those added values are early check-in or late check-outs free of charge, more flexibility on changes or cancellation, complimentary welcome drink or any additional services your property has to offer. This gives your guests a tremendous advance compared to making that booking via an indirect channel.
Adding value for a guest that book via a property own website using the booking engine also becomes more loyal to the property or brand. The guest had a great experience making a simple and effortless booking that is considered to be the best available offer accommodating their needs. Properties can expend this loyalty by offering loyalty programs or discount codes available only through the property’s own website.
You may also want to check the Book Direct campaign launched in 2015 from the Hotrec Europe Hospitality.