Your own website: direct bookings are king

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gecko's picture
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10/26/2018

Bookings made directly from your own website are the most valuable bookings you can get. Period.

  • You pay no commissions to third parties on direct bookings.
  • Your own website allows you to grow your own brand, rather than feeding the OTAs.
  • Direct communication with potential guests enhances the services you offer.
  • Direct bookings create loyalty to you, not to third parties.

Getting to the point where over 95% of your bookings come  directly from your website can take time, but should, in our opinion, be the ultimate goal of any resort, B&B or rental. 

Below are some pointers that we hope will be useful for those setting out on the path to reclaiming their booking funnel. Whilst clearly not exhaustive, we hope that they will be helpful.

A few suggestions on reaching your goal of maximizing direct bookings would include:

  • Keeping control of your brand and domain: register and own your individual domain. Yes, services such as Wix, Lodgify, Promotemyplace and other companies make the process easier for you, but you can easily get tied in to their services. You need to be the ultimate owner of your domain/website address, and have the option to host it anywhere you choose.
  • Build a responsive, mobile-friendly website. Optimize it. Promote it. And offer the best rates on it.
  • Sell an experience, not just a bedroom. Your website needs to provide details of the rooms and services you offer, but beyond that needs to be a valuable guide to all that your immediate destination offers. Guests are looking for a great experience, not just a nice bedroom.

With your website up and running, do then:

  • list with all the major OTAs and any niche online sites that match your property. Many potential guests who see your brand listed on these sites will also google your brand to find your own website and compare rates or any special offers. Take advantage of this!
  • Register your website with Google Analytics and Search Console. Act on any recommendations made and learn how to use these tools to improve.
  • Use Screaming Frog or similar software to frequently check your site for broken links.
  • Link from your site to your dedicated social media accounts such as facebook, instagram, twitter etc....and vice-versa.
  • Make sure your property is listed on Google maps etc.

Channeling guests to your own website may appear to be a daunting task. Whilst learning HTML, finding out about hosting options and security certificates, or getting to grips with  FTP software may not be your cup of tea, you could always outsource these things - but climbing a hill yourself always gives you a better view! Just bear in mind how much you have invested in your property, and calculate your annual commissions to third party OTAs and software providers: the comparative investment in your own site will fade into insignificance.