While J.D Power reports that customers who booked via an OTA such as Expedia were 45 points less satisfied than those who booked directly through a hotel’s site, hotels continue to make it difficult to book direct is exacerbated by the fact that OTAs make it so easy to book and spend so much more money on advertising and technology. As they continue to capture bookings and grow their loyal customer bases, hotels remain laggers and are missing a crucial opportunity for acquiring more business.
Whether your guest is preparing for their stay, checking-in at the front desk or engaging on your hotel’s Facebook page, he/she wants the same things:
- To be consulted about changes to your business, which makes them feel invested
- To learn information about your local area, which makes them feel prepared
- To experience personal contact with management, which makes them feel empowered
- To feel like an insider, which makes them feel special
- To have a valuable online experience, which makes them want to follow you
These are qualities that OTAs cannot deliver as effectively as your hotel’s website, social media presence or reservations team. Once they become paramount priorities at your hotel, acquiring more direct bookings will follow. Building brand advocacy and deepening loyalty has never been easier to achieve through social media; by using the same approach when managaing the direct booking process, your property will reap the same benefits and garner higher revenues to boot.