Although it’s good to have both direct bookings and Online Travel Agent (OTA) bookings, driving more direct reservations is every bed & breakfast owner’s dream.
Increasing your direct bookings means one thing – no commissions paid, and therefore higher revenue.
We have assembled some of the most successful ways you can get direct bookings for your property to increase your revenue margin.
Effective ways for you to drive direct reservations:
1. Google AdWords
Google Adwords is a great tool for small accommodation providers to get guests onto their website.
When a prospect guest is looking for a bed and breakfast, they will most likely start with a Google search. For any small business, AdWords can be a very successful method of driving traffic directly to your website.
AdWords leverages your Google listings to come up higher in the results list, even onto the first page of results, if you choose your keywords wisely.
The higher listings work based on the keywords that you bid on that your guests would use in their Google search. It’s a pay-per-click advertising model, where you have to pay each time a guest clicks through directly to your website.
Because guests who click on ads are more ready-to-buy than other search engine users, this in turn results in an increased chance of direct reservations.
Here’s a guide for small hotels on how to get started and use AdWords like a pro.
2. Social Media
Facebook is another great platform for growing your bed & breakfast’s revenue. It not only raises awareness of your bed & breakfast, but includes tools that help to increase your paid reservations.
Using Facebook’s full potential, your guests could book their stay directly from your Facebook page. Make it convenient for potential guests who are browsing your Facebook page to book directly with you.
Many other booking engines also have this functionality, you can allow guests to book with you without ever leaving the Facebook site.
TripConnect is part of TripAdvisor’s offering. Essentially, you pay TripAdvisor for the right to manage your bed & breakfast’s TripAdvisor listing.
TripConnect allows you to cut out the OTAs to compete for more direct reservations, using a pay-per-click advertising model.
The higher your bid, the higher your property’s listing will appear in TripAdvisor’s Hotel Price Comparison Search box, increasing the likelihood that TripAdvisor users will click the link to visit your property’s booking page. So it’s possible to outbid major OTAs and have your listing appear first in the results.
If you’re not already listed, you can learn more or add your property.
A metasearch engine is a search engine, that sifts through content on other websites that are on the internet and shows the combined results, all in one place. Some common meta search engines are Tripadvisor, Trivago and Webjet, to name a few.
Metasearch engines allow bed & breakfast properties to be on the same playing field with larger hotels or chains.
Direct bookings are increased significantly with meta-search engines. Information about the small property is presented directly from the hotel’s website as a part of the customer’s search results.
Guests tend to see direct bookings as more reliable, which means there is a better chance that a guest will book directly.
To succeed with metasearch sites, they need to be managed regularly and not forgotten!
Retargeting is online advertising that allows you to show specific ads to people who have visited your website.
After people drop off your bed & breakfast’s website, they can see your ads across the web.
Each retargeting platform will have signed up websites who agree to serve your ads. The websites become a part of the retargeting platform’s display networks.
To get started with retargeting, you will have to do the following:
1) Choose a retargeting platform
2) Create your segments
3) Create your advertisements
Don’t have anyone to help you create those ads of yours? You can use software like Bannersnack. It’s an easy to use ad maker for non-techies (ie. perfect for time poor small bed & breakfast owners who don’t have digital design skills).
6. CTA Button
A CTA (call to action) is a button that does exactly that – asks visitors to click it to get to information the website visitor is looking for.
The button must have a relevant offer to your potential guest that would encourage them to click on it.
Make sure the copy is compelling, action-oriented, and simple to understand. Guests should not be confused about what information they will get if they click the button.
A CTA needs to stand out, and capture your guest’s attention. Put the CTA button into action and more direct bookings are just a click away, literally!
Do you have a reservation system to manage direct reservations?
Managing direct bookings isn’t easy, especially if you don’t have a way to distribute your bookings. A booking engine, can automate the entire process for you.
If you want more tips on how you can create an engaging online presence for your business, follow the IAA Bed and Breakfast Blog and our Facebook Page.
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