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Brooke Whistance
by on January 16, 2020
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The OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) are the best option for hotels and to what they are attached to ensure occupancy. However, they are also the worst nightmare of hoteliers when, at the end of the month, the bill arrives with the high commissions that have to be paid. Therefore, hotels must strive to implement strategies to increase direct sales, notwithstanding continuing to make their rooms available to OTAs.

We reached out to Farah C. Jaber, a Lebanese hospitality management leader, investor, and podcast host. He hosts a podcast called “The New Investor Podcast,” and has also published a book “Becoming An Investor: The First 100 days”. Farah is the founder of Investors Media LLC, an American media company established in 2019 and is headquartered in Delaware, serving customers globally.

He also happens to be a Cluster General Manager for luxury hotels currently in Asia with Minor Hotels.

Here are 6 tips that can significantly increase the income of your hotel:

 

1. Grant discounts to a limited audience

Contracts that establish price parity between hotels and OTAs do not allow offering a more competitive price on the hotel’s own website. However, hotels can drastically improve profitability by giving discounts to a part of the audience, using, for example, their own social networks. On Facebook, the most popular social network worldwide, the hotel can, for example, offer a limited discount only to its followers. It can be applied through a promotional code.

 

2. Offer value-added services

Including value-added services on the website itself is another effective way to improve the offer without breaking the parity contract established with the OTA. The hotel must use its website to offer potential customers extra services that motivate them to book through this channel. Among the most popular extra services that hotels usually offer are free Wi-Fi access, free parking and breakfast included.

 

3. Maintain regular contact with loyal customers

To retain customers and get them to book through the hotel’s website in the future, it is essential to maintain regular communication with them. There are many ways to do it: you can send a mailing once a month informing of the activities that are carried out in the hotel or offering them a special rate depending on the occupation. Sometimes you can also send them the last entry posted on the hotel blog.

With the emergence of new technologies and a large amount of information that is received through email, traditional mail is regaining strength and there are many hotels that use this route to maintain contact with their customers.

 

 

4. Implement a website designed to sell

Although it may seem quite apparent, it is not so obvious: the website is the sales channel that most hotels should promote to increase their direct bookings. But they often neglect it or offer such a negative user experience that in practice the reservations made through this channel are non-existent.

The reservation process through the website has to be simple and fast. As much or more than the reservation process through the OTA.

It is also essential that the website be available for mobile phones, tablets and any other type of support, and that the booking engine be usable from any of these platforms.

 

5. Manage user opinions to increase traffic to the website

When booking a hotel through an OTA, users get a list of similarly priced hotels and, frequently, to decide they consult the opinions of other users on opinion pages such as TripAdvisor. This is a great opportunity for hotels to increase traffic to their website.

For this, it is important that there be a large number of opinions and comments about the hotel and, above all, that the hotel personally answers each of the comments published by users. Personalized attention is highly appreciated by users and will help increase the number of people who go to the hotel website to get more information and, eventually, to book.

 

6. Work with OTAs to achieve optimal results

It is important that the hotel sell through its own channels and use all the tools at its disposal to increase direct bookings.

One of those tools, oddly enough, are the OTAs themselves. These are a great showcase, perhaps the oldest, to present our hotel and get the visitor’s attention. It is key that the hotel information in the OTAs is updated and manages to arouse the interest of the potential client, who can end up booking on the hotel’s website.

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