We understand that it’s difficult to rely on direct bookings, rather than the travel websites. So we wanted to find out if there are more ways that you can promote booking with you directly instead? We asked B&B, hotel and guest house owners, what they do get more direct bookings, and here’s what they told us:
It’s all about your website
Make sure your online booking is clear on your website. Also if guests book through another distribution channel, email them after their stay to ask if they had had a good journey home, and if they would like to stay again they can book direct on your own website – Sue Pember, Ironbridge Town House.
Keep your web site up-to-date and attractive to potential guests. And follow up as part of your customer service to encourage guests to book directly if they plan to return – Alison Morgan from The Agent’s House Bed & Breakfast.
Make sure that your website is on page one of Google and your website is up-to-date with pictures and is reasonably priced. The latter being very important to the business man and you have to give single occupancy rates to get them in – Shona Turner from Shire Lodge.
Always make sure price on your website is the best deal. In the end you are not losing profit because you are not paying commission. You can also advertise your business with flyers, taking part in social events that will give you the opportunity to make an appearance in newspapers and social media; cooperate with local businesses, even your competition might be your friend – Judy from The Huddersfield Hotel.
Turn guests into regulars
Give them a card when they leave and simply ask them to book directly – Judy Keep from Tinkers Furze B&B.
Make sure that there are enough cards and guest house leaflets on display. Also, satisfied guests can easily become regulars and advocates, so why not give them a loyalty card – Barry Peters, The Knoll Guesthouse.
Accept that many will book online and treat that as an ‘introductory’ fee. We have a lot of repeat business and talk to our guests so we know why they are in the area and what we can offer to suit them so they come to us directly in the future – Erica Tiller from Number One.
Be honest and tell them how it helps you if you think they’ll return – Mike Hailston from Rylstone Manor Hotel.
Offer discounts to repeat guests
Give them a card with your website on offering discount on further bookings – Gen Royston from Old Coach House at The Golden Lion.
We give them a key ring with our details and telephone number on it and ask them to ring us direct for a possible discount – Lesley and Kevin Glover from The Tudor.
Offer a discount to returning guests who book direct. You can even offer a free bottle of wine or box of chocolates (costing £5 but saving up to £25 in commission fees) for direct bookings – Greg White from April Cottage.
Promote yourself everywhere
Make use of local websites to promote your business, retain your customers and convert them to direct bookings. – Frazer Bell from Arbour House.
Get friendly with your local tourist information office staff and keep them updated with your availability – Maurice Williams from Parkside Holiday Flats.
We have pictures of our rooms displayed on our signage outside the B&B so passers by can see how great they are. We also give out business cards to our guests to keep or pass on to friends and we use social media to raise our profile. Oh and great reviews on Tripadvisor. – Vanessa Gummer from Rosslyn House.
And with eviivo suite, the original ALL-in-ONE booking suite, it’s easy to set your rates and promotions to help maximise your website bookings. To help you generate more commission-free direct bookings on your own website we offer two powerful promotion features that allow you to set a wide range of offers and discounts that are exclusive to your website.
- Instant Deals: These are your secret weapons to getting more direct bookings! Exclusive to your website, customers will need to simply click to “unlock” the discount. And while your guests will find this incredibly simple, your competitors will be none the wiser.
- Promo Codes: It’s easy to offer return guests, loyalty members and group bookings special discounts with eviivo suites promo code function. Only visitors who know the code are able to access the discount and it’s only completely exclusive to your website.
Find out more by clicking here.
And that’s not all eviivo suite can do to help you to run your business your way. We also connect you to all the leading travel websites, allowing you to manage ALL bookings from one leading-class diary. With one click you can update your content, your rates and your policies, so you’re always 100% in control. We can even give you a FREE website that is google-friendly and mobile-friendly and ready to take bookings online.