Our three cogs approach has long been a part of our thinking and it does seems to help when trying to change operators' thinking towards on-line marketing.
Build your site; Develop your relationships, Maximise your conversion.
It sounds simple and in actual fact much of it is simple. You can't rely on any one area of your digital presence to do everything for you but create a focussed and achievable plan and you can build more of that all important low cost DIRECT business.
Plan B have been Scottish partners to Bookassist Booking engine for more than a decade now and in that time the message has always remained wholly consistent with simple rules of on-line engagement - ALWAYS
- have your Best Rate DIRECT
- have all your off line offers and availability bookable online and DIRECT
- Reduce Friction for the site visitor
Implement these three basic rules and there is little doubt that you can start moving the customer away from those pesky, expensive OTAs back to booking more rooms DIRECT.
Best rate and maximising availability are maybe more easily understood but what does Reduce Friction mean and how do you do it?
Well, basically it means taking the customer from where they are to where they want to be as simply and quickly as possible. If we use an example of an event package within your property "reducing friction" would include the following.
- You are selling a new series of music based packages with dinner, bed and breakfast to fill shoulder rooms.
It is all about content and in this context that is both booking engine content and webpage content. You must have both - a dedicated Music event page is needed for search and focus whilst without online availability it will never convert.
- Ensure the priced package is live in your booking engine with best rate and maximum availability
- Create a rich content web page with details and images of the offer
- Create a direct booking "deep link" from the web page to the actual package on sale on your site
- Promote the "deep link" from your email marketing campaign taking the visitor from the email straight to the booking page
- Promote the same link via your Facebook, Twitter, Google + and other channels and see the click throughs increase
- If you have local partners or PR sites that you use engage with their site and social media to promote the link to the page and a Book Now link
Tick the above and you will have reduced friction quite dramatically and if the product and pricing is right you will see increased uptake and conversion.
However as we all know, not all booking engines are equal. Yes it may integrate directly with your PMS or even be good for managing channels but in all honesty is it easy for the customer to book or for you to create packages like the one above?
Use your Booking Engine Effectively
With Bookassist the above scenario couldn't be easier with the use of Price Groups that allow you to link directly to:
- Specific packages and offers
- Room types - standard, suites. single, executive.
- Specific dates
- Groups of packages sucj as a Special Offers page
- Room packages - B&B, Room Only or DBB
Your Bookassist online manager will provide you with a list of your "price groups" and web links connecting to each offer directly for you to drop into your online marketing campaigns.
Simple and effective and at every stage reduces friction and increases the chance of conversion dramatically.
Have a look at exactly this with one of our favourite hotels in Scotland, the five star luxury Lochgreen House Hotel overlooking Open Championship venue Royal Troon.
Click on the Feature to the right and maybe you'll even Book a night out in Ayrshire!
If you recognise that you need to take your own bookings back, and to paraphrase a rather large hotel group stop your customers clicking about, then give us a call on 01294 233713 or email us directly
to find out how Bookassist can improve your conversion rates.