The tourism and hospitality industry has undergone a profound transformation towards digital over the last few decades. With the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, the adoption of the online channel has been consolidated, so this trend has only accelerated. For your hotel to make the most of this new reality, it is important to understand the digital landscape of the sector, what the opportunities and challenges are, and how to increase your bookings and results.

When we talk about generating online sales, we can differentiate between indirect sales and direct sales. Indirect sales are those that are achieved through third-party platforms, generally through what are known as OTAs (Online Travel Agencies). They are a very powerful distribution channel that can generate a significant number of bookings, but the negotiating power of the platforms entails a cost, which is applied to each booking in the form of a commission. On the other hand, when we talk about direct sales, we are referring to those bookings that are made directly through our own marketing platforms: our website, our call centre or our own establishments. With this type of sales, our hotel keeps the full amount, without having to give up any of its profit margins.

It would be a mistake to think that both marketing strategies are incompatible. Hotels should rely on the great projection and potential of OTA platforms, but at the same time they should make an effort to build guest loyalty and promote their own sales channels to increase the percentage of direct bookings, and thus, their profit margins.

These are some of the main points to work on to increase your hotel’s direct sales:

  • Having a well-designed website. Nobody knows your customers better than you. When thinking about the design of your website, put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer and think of ways to facilitate the user experience on your website, ensuring that it reflects the image of your brand.
  • An optimised booking engine. To maximise the conversion rate of users, you will need to have an intuitive and optimised booking manager to reduce the number of steps needed to finalise a booking.
  • Positioning well in search engines. By strategically working on the content of our website, we will get it to rank in the top positions of our potential customer’s searches. We can support our organic positioning with ad campaigns in search engines (Search Engine Marketing) and thus reinforce our digital presence.
  • Build guest loyalty. Develop campaigns and programmes to build loyalty among your guests, both those who come from direct bookings and those who have found you through other channels. With a good strategy you can get them to agree to receive communications from you and get them to repeat their stay.

At MedPlaya Management Services we are specialists in developing marketing strategies that maximise your results, contact us for tailored advice.