Online travel agencies (OTAs) like Booking.com and Expedia are taking a growing share of hotel profits. Last year, they captured 39% of the US online digital reservation market. Phocuswright predicts this trend will continue, reaching 41% market share by 2020.
But the good news is that hotel marketers are fighting back!
It took years of investment, mistakes and hard work, but hotel marketers are now quickly catching up with the digital sense of OTAs.
The digital counterattack is well underway for hotel marketers.
And the main weapon of this counterattack is your direct booking hotel website. We believe this technology platform should be viewed as a software application, not a brochure to set up and forget. That’s why we are constantly developing (at our expense) new features, functionality and upgrades to our guest’s hotel websitesâ¦ we treat them as constantly evolving applications, not one-off projects.
Remember, your hotel website is not only the source of your most profitable bookings, but also the nerve center and crossroads for several other critical technologies (retargeting, CRM tracking, social media, etc.) .
In the past we have published many articles on hotel website best practices, but today we wanted to share some real-life examples of recent collaborations with our clients that have led to some exciting hotel website innovations. hotels:
1. Put teeth in the best price guarantee (BRG)
Consumers are generally unaware that your hotel is offering the exact same price as OTAs for the same rooms. So it’s up to you to constantly reinforce the message that direct booking is in their best interest.
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to just have a Best Price Guarantee on your website. This has very little impact on the average consumer (and often requires them to fill out a form just to take advantage of it). Customers today are all about convenience, so the smartest tactic is to integrate your BRG into your booking engine itself, where OTA rates are displayed next to your own rate, proving to the visitor that only direct booking allows him to obtain the best prices. This type of feature will also automatically match the cheapest OTA tariff if they are out of parity.
Here is an example of a website / booking environment from one of our clients where the BRG is automatedâ¦ preventing abandonment to OTAs for price comparison.
2. Video + Subtle animation
Video and subtle animation are great ways to make your hotel website more vibrant.
Video takes storytelling to the next level, giving your potential guests a taste of your brand and a sense of belonging. Unfortunately, many websites slow down and accuse too much animation. Using smart technology to compress video without losing quality is essential, so your page load times remain lightning-fast and your guests don’t lose interest.
Check out practical examples on the website of Farmhouse Inn in Forestville, Calif. And JW Marriott Turnberry in Miami.
3. Personalized interactive maps
For customers, your property is only part of the experience.
After all, they probably won’t be making a trip just to stay in your hotel. They also want to enjoy the best of everything OUTSIDE your property. Local / regional maps can bring your locator page to life by showcasing your brand personality and what your area has to offer. This is also a feature that OTAs are unlikely to have.
Here’s one we did recently for the JW Marriott Nashville:
4. Instagram API integration
Integrating the Instagram API is another way to keep your site up to date with fresh, experience-rich content. You can leverage the power of social validation and encourage new bookings by showcasing authentic customer experiences right on your home page, further encouraging potential customers to book directly.
Here is an example of the Dalmar in Ft Lauderdale, Florida.
5. Dynamic rate calendar
For the Hermosa Inn in Scottsdale, Arizona, we’ve made it easy for guests to find the best available hotel rate by creating a search feature called the Dynamic Rate Calculator. This delivers value to your guests by making the vacation planning process easierâ¦ by showing travelers a monthly view of rates that helps them save. This improved user experience makes them more likely to stay on your website and book directly.
Tambourine continues to rock the hospitality industry with integrated, customized marketing solutions for hotels, resorts and destinations around the world. The company’s emergence as a market leader for branded hotels and independent hotels is a testament to their core values: putting customer service at the center of the scene, setting the standards for hotel website design and making the easier and more profitable performance digital marketing for its valued partners. .
For more information on Tambourine, visit www.tambourine.com
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