Increase direct bookings by bundling products and more

Your website is your digital business card and it should be one of your best-converting access points as well. There are various questions you need to ask yourself to find out why you receive more reservations through online travel agencies instead of your website. 

1. What is the difference between an OTA and your website?

2. Why do people not book directly? Does my website transmit enough trust?

3. Are my offered prices on OTAs and my website the same?

4. Is my website up to date?

5. Is my website attractive?

6. Do my website buttons work smoothly?

7. Did I list all of my USPs?

8. Do I need better pictures?

Let’s start with these questions to obtain an overview of where improvements can be made.

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1. An online travel agency platform lists thousands of different hotels on its website. All of the hotels have ratings. The list can be filtered for the lowest price, amenities, free Wi-Fi, free parking, welcome drink, one free water, and much more. The OTAs make it very user-friendly to obtain a big picture of hotels in a specific city. Many people that book through an OTA have an associated account with it. The more often they book, the more points they receive. If they book through your website they may not receive any points, but perhaps only a cheaper price for the stay.

2. Some people do not trust hotel websites. They stick to experiences they have made through OTAs. People do not want to insert their name and address again to make a reservation on a hotel website if their data is already saved on an OTA. They ask themselves why they should invest time and effort again if they just have to click on a button while being on their favourite OTA. It is the same with Amazon. People who have already an account on Amazon are willing to buy through Amazon instead of going to the company’s website to purchase the product over there. Amazon is facilitating the shopping experience enormously. In the same way, OTAs are facilitating the reservation process.

3. Check if the prices that you offer on OTAs are the same as on your website. Usually, your website prices should be cheaper than on OTAs to lure a website visitor to make a direct booking. However, you do not always have to offer cheaper prices, but have a coupon ready to be used by your website visitor. You can post the coupon on your website or let your visitors know that a coupon is waiting for them as soon as they sign up for your newsletter.

4. Go through your whole website and make sure that everything that you have posted is up to date. Check for spelling mistakes, incorrect information, wrong news, etc.

5. Let some friends look over your website and let them tell you their opinion. Find out if your website is attractive and trustworthy. Try to find out if the majority of your website visitors like your website or not.

6. Test all of your website buttons to be certain that your website does not have any functional issues. Check your reservation button and especially everything that is connected with it.

7. Your USPs are crucial to show your visitors where you rock. Therefore, list your USPs on your website and let them convince your visitors to make a reservation at your accommodation. Use your USPs to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

8. Your pictures are what your visitors want to see the most. They want to know what kind of rooms you offer. They are eager to know how your accommodation looks inside. If you do not have nice and attractive pictures of your accommodation available, then direct bookings will simply not take off.   

When you have answered all these questions and fixed all issues that arose, then it is time to make the next step to increase direct bookings on your website. 

It is time to create product bundles to make a direct booking more worth it. Here are some product bundles that you can offer:

A. Offer one free night if guests stay for three nights

B. Offer 50% discount on the first night if they stay for three nights 

C. Provide one bottle of wine free of charge

D. Book a single room and receive a double room

E. Get 13% discount

F. Free breakfast plus free parking

G. Free breakfast plus free parking plus 20-minute massage

The more amenities you have, the more product bundles you can create. You need to let your imagination flow and try out combinations that are attractive. If you cannot figure bundles out then ask your guests what they would love to have as a combo. The answers of your guests are often the ones that make the most sense. However, only make product bundles that do not decrease your profits. Calculate your bundles and decide which ones are possible to realize. It is important that you test your product bundles and offer them from time to time. Make them look special and do not promote them throughout the whole year. Instead, use your bundles during low seasons. 

By and large, product bundles are great to boost direct bookings, due to the fact that these special product bundles are only available on your website and nowhere else.