Are you relying on booking sites for all your reservations?
Recently I have had the chance to speak with several general managers of vacation rentals and hotels to find out how they are going about getting those “heads in beds.” I was shocked to hear that a whopping 25% of them relied on their website and booking sites alone for reservations! When asked if their goal was met, the answer was “NO” across the board. That, didn’t shock me.
I decided to dig into their strategy a little. First I asked if this was their sole strategy. They did make the comment, “Sometimes we post on Facebook.” And that was the majority of it. No strategy for their website to work better and nothing to really drive the traffic to them. Naturally I started to explain to them that they can’t rely solely on these methods for a number of reasons. Not everyone uses the booking sites was a start.
We all know that booking sites aren’t cheap, after all, for every reservation they make on your behalf, a nice size of your revenue pie, goes right into their pocket. I’m not saying completely disregard them, but I wouldn’t put all my eggs in the booking site basket.
Today’s consumer has a tendency to do their homework before deciding where they want to stay. This always makes me think of the Trivago commercial. First they Google and find places to stay. Then they check out their reviews. Next comes social media, “what are their fans saying about them, and how do they react.” Then comes the booking. This is a typical scenario of today’s travelers.
That scenario best describes the new guest. But how are booking sites getting past guests staying with you again? They’re not! A great source for the returning guest is email marketing and social media. Continue to delight your customer. Keep those memories in front of them and entice them to come back with special offers.
One tactic that I love is blogging. Blogging gets the newbies and the frequent stayers. Blogs help your website and can allow past guests to subscribe so they get a short story of where they have stayed and gives them more reasons to come back.
These are a few alternatives that you should add to your strategy and don’t just hope for the booking site fairy to deliver.