The growth of third-party intermediaries, including OTAs and meta-search sites, has cluttered the booking landscape in recent years, making it difficult for branded hotels and their websites to keep pace.
During the Hospitality Technology Europe show in London, a panel of experts discussed ways to increase conversion rates from brand.com websites by capturing not only bookings, but consumer data as well.
RJ Friedlander, co-founder and CEO of ReviewPro, and online analytics and reputation management firm, explained that one of the best ways to increase bookings from your brand.com website is by providing quality content. Friedlander’s example included relevant user-generate content, including social media postings and reviews from sites like TripAdvisor.
“Once you get people there (brand.com website) you need to provide the social content to help facilitate the decision-making process,” said Friedlander.
These are great content additions to make to your personally branded website, but without addressing the basics, the changes will be meaningless. With many small- and medium-sized hotels, the path is inefficient or the information is incomplete. “It is important to start with the basics to communicate the information I need to convince me this is where I want to go,” Friedlander adds.
Online channels are not the only place from which you should be driving bookings. Hoteliers should aim to win guests over during their stays by getting the basics right on-site as well. If a customer enjoys their experience, they are much more likely to book a brand.com in the future.
Bookings are obviously important to hoteliers and property managers because they drive the revenue process. However, acquiring accurate guest data is equally important for future marketing and promotions, as well as efforts to personalize the hotel stay.
Gathering information from intermediaries is difficult because the third party through which the transaction is made owns the information.
Companies like the Louvre Hotels Group are now trying to gather as much information as possible during the check-in process, but this has some drawbacks as well. During peak periods, efficiency is the key, and there is not a lot of time for “data grabbing”. With more companies moving towards check-in kiosks or mobile check-ins, the opportunities to obtain this information are dwindling.
Another way to acquire guest data utilized by Louvre is enticing travelers to sign up for its loyalty program as a means to collect information and stimulate future repeat bookings. Chinmai Sharma, the company’s VP of revenue and distribution management, explained that the success of this measure is “hit or miss”.
-Quality content, including review site and social media posts, is important for guests looking to book directly from your brand.com website.
-Acquiring guest data is important for a variety of reasons including providing a personalized travel experience and stimulating future repeat bookings. However, third-party intermediaries make it difficult to get this information because once a booking is made through them, they own the data.