This week, we’ve found some articles with great advice to improve your book direct strategy. Robert Rauch, President of RAR Hospitality, writes about finding the right tools to invest in for your hotel’s success. Econsultancy takes a look at 4 ways hotels can increase their direct bookings, taking tips from Premier Inn’s success.

We’ve also rounded up articles on driving direct business via your Facebook page, the omnipresence of Google for hotels (and everyone else), and responses from Marriott and Hilton to a controversial recent study from Piper Jaffray.

Revenue and Cost Strategies for Boutiques, Independents

With many moving parts and no brand systems or guidance to assist, it is essential to a hotel’s revenue success to invest in the right tools, most of which will save dollars.

A savvy sales team can make or break your hotel as group business generally books well in advance to provide the ideal base business. Without the power of a brand sales team and the tools that they provide, your independent hotel’s sales efforts need to ensure that they are utilizing the right channels to effectively capture transient demand.

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Four Ways Hotels and Accommodation Sites Can Increase Direct Bookings

A new study from Barclays Corporate Banking has found that 37% of British holidaymakers plan to book their stays directly through hotel websites or self-accommodation providers this year compared to 17% in 2007 and 30% five years ago.

Along with these findings, other research also suggests that certain hotels are experiencing a surge in direct bookings. Take Premier Inn, for instance, whose website accounted for 87% of all its bookings in 2016. That said, at other hotel chains, like Hilton, direct bookings are far lower as they struggle to compete with aggregator sites.

So, what can we learn from Premier Inn? And how can both UK and international hotels increase their direct bookings? Here’s just four factors that could make a difference.

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How to Get More Direct Bookings Through Your Hotel’s Facebook Page

Within the travel world, nothing is more powerful than the social connection between people, particularly through Facebook.

If travellers aren’t sharing photos and videos of their trip, then they’re probably looking at one their friends have posted.

Facebook is an especially vibrant platform for discussion and sharing between friends about the destinations they visit and the properties they stay at. An open slather for comments, messages, images, and multimedia, Facebook is on par with the likes of TripAdvisor.

Hotels should be engaging strongly with guests on Facebook, to secure direct bookingsbuild loyalty, and optimise online reviews.

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Who’s Afraid of Google?

Google is almost omnipresent in our lives these days. We use it for all sorts of online searches, whether it’s trying to access arcane information or find our way from A to B.

The European Commission though recently took the giant to task — slapping a 2.4 billion euro anti-trust fine on the internet giant at the end of June, following a seven-year competition investigation. It concluded that Google had “denied other companies the chance to compete” by placing its own comparison shopping service prominently and demoting those of its competitors.

What then of the hospitality sector? What’s the impact of Google – good and bad – on the industry? Sit in a hospitality-related conference these days and the subject of Google is bound to raise its head. One general line of questioning has been: will Google come to dominate the industry, leaving online travel agencies and others in its wake?

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Hotel Giants Insist Booking Direct is the Superior Option

Hilton and Marriott maintain that direct booking continues to be the best deal for members of their loyalty programs.

The hotel companies responded to a Piper Jaffray study that found travelers often have a better chance finding lower hotel prices on OTAs and travel search sites than on the hotels’ own websites.

According to the study, OTAs/travel search sites offered the lowest price 21% of the time, while hotels’ own websites offered it just 13% of the time. In about two-thirds of the cases, room pricing was the same across distribution channels.

“While we can’t speak to the validity of this report, direct booking continues to be the best way that Marriott loyalty members are guaranteed the lowest rate with benefits and services at one of our hotels,” Marriott said in a statement. Hilton made similar comments.

The hotel trade group American Hotel & Lodging Association had more pointed comments about the Piper Jaffray study, calling it “flawed from start to finish.”

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