6 Ways To Boost Hotel Direct Online Booking in 2017

Hotels in Southeast-Asia have a lot of room for improvement in 2017 when it comes to converting direct online traffic. Most of the hotels still very much depend on OTAs (Online Travel Agency) like Agoda and Expedia to bring in sales for their hotel. OTAs services are very beneficial, more so if your hotel is not in a well-known tourist attraction where the location is not popular with tourist.

Another reason why hotels in this region prefer to list their hotels on OTAs is because OTAs are taking care of maintaining the website and the stuff that might seem complicated to many hotel owners who have used to run a traditional business.

Companies like Softinn Solutions are providing services which include building an interactive and modern looking website complete with booking engine for free for small and medium hotels in the region. You can get more hotel guests and increase your revenue by putting an effort towards attracting direct online booking through your own hotel website.

1. Spend More Effort and Resource In Promoting Your Own Hotel Brand

It is also known as the billboard effect. That is why you see many hotels have their own presence in social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. That is why many hotels sign-up with OTA like Agoda and Expedia to get their hotels listed. Since travellers will search hotels through OTAs

Travellers today are stuffed with tonnes of information, with the internet at their fingertips, they can just search information about your hotel with ease.

Due to this reason, travellers will go to different social channels to do a survey before they decide to book your hotel. Here is where the strong influence of OTAs come to play. Try Google any hotel names you can think of and you will notice the top results are dominated by OTAs.

This is good news, isn’t it?

You may be wondering OTAs are helping hotel/ homestay/ lodge to market their brand and made their presence felt online. It just makes sense for the hotel to continue using service from OTAs. But there are something you as a hotelier should understand.

Image from wisetiger

What hotel owner need to know:

  • OTAs don’t market your hotel for free.
    The fee is included in the commission paid to them by hotels. That is where OTAs get their budget to run an advertisement and get the travellers attention.
  • Hotel too dependent on OTAs will be forced to follow the rules set by OTAs.
    Including changes in the commission which might affect hotel’s profit margin.
  • OTAs are actually advertising for their own brand.
    In the future when travellers wanted to search for accommodation the first place they think of will be OTAs.

Therefore, hotels need to balance their business, instead of fully dependent on OTAs. A hotel can increase their web presence by building their own website which features their specialty.

Company like Softinn Solutions helps hotel increase direct hotel bookings by building hotel website complete with booking engine and payment gateway so hotel can fully focus on what they do best, provide the best service to travellers.

2. Have A Mobile-Friendly Official Website

Image from Websitem

A study from Google
reveals that, in the past few years, conversion rates have grown more than 80% on a mobile travel site. This means more and more people are making decisions through their smartphones or mobile devices.

This comes as no surprise as smartphone sales grew 7% in the 4th quarter of 2016. This translate to a total of 1.49 million phones sold in the whole of 2016. Besides that, mobile data are getting more affordable and accessible by everyone, including those who are in developing countries.

In short, Google will update and tune their search algorithm to favour mobile-friendly sites.

The image above says it all. Let say you have two version of hotel booking websites, one is mobile friendly and another is not. The ranking will actually be different. The reason why Google will penalize non-mobile-friendly website by giving them a lower ranking is because they want smartphone users to have the best experience while browsing for information in Google Chrome browser.

Click Here To Check If Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly.

Sample result generated by Google showing if the website is mobile-friendly.

3. Be Honest and Clear About All Hidden Costs


When a potential customer visits your hotel website and decided to book through your website, the last thing you want to do is scare them off with surprise fees. Some of the hotel websites will only reveal the total amount on the checkout page after travellers have taken the trouble to insert all their details.

Some places collect travel tax, government tax, additional service tax etc. Make sure to display all the charges at the beginning when travellers select the room types instead of displaying at the checkout page. Many hotels still practice this method by adding substantial extra charges only at the very end of the purchase process.

If a potential customer leaves your official hotel website, the next place they will likely land on is an OTA to explore better deals, or worst, book through another hotel. Foregoing the revenue from optional extra charges can help you avoid losing the business to a competitive hotel. 

4. Run Targeted Discount, Promotion and Add-Ons

image from: Softinn Solutions

One of the hotel direct booking strategies is running targeted promotion or discount.

The best part of having your own hotel website is you can run special promotions that are specially tailored to those who visit your hotel website. A promotion will quickly capture the web visitors attention and greatly increase their urge to not look for hotel elsewhere and book directly through the website.

Do you, as a hotelier, know your target group?

Every hotel has their own target audience. Whether it’s business, family, leisure, group travel etc. Hotel knows best where their potential travellers come from, and they will need to create specific promotion to cater to them. That is how hotel utilize and focus the resources on obtaining maximum bookings.

For example, if the hotel has a constant stream of returning guest every first week of March. The hotel can create a promo code printed on the receipt of those check-out guest. This will encourage hotel guest to book through your website instead of going through OTAs. Besides that, the hotel can also track and record how effective is the promo code by looking at how many returning guests actually uses the promo code. Even if they share the promo code with others it is considered as a referral, and the promotion campaign is a success.

Learn how you can increase hotel online booking by utilizing Promo Code System in your hotel website: 6 Ways Promo Code Can Increase Your Business Earning

5. Digital Marketing Effort

image from SILC

Do not underestimate the power of your hotel official website.

A hotel website with good design, friendly user experience, clear display of command buttons like Book Now and Gallery will have made a good first impression to travellers when they visit your hotel website. It is most often the first impression a customer will get off your hotel and can win or lose you business.

  • Reply to all enquiries in social media, email.
  • Ensure hotel description, room types and amenities are up-to-date. Hotel can also highlight some added service like free parking and free breakfast.
  • Invest in your own marketing and brand. Allocate a budget to advertise your hotel brand online as well as offline.
  • Integrate with social channels like having a direct booking engine install in your hotel Facebook page to speed-up the booking process.
  • Use email newsletters to promote the offers that is only available on your own website. Research have shown that email marketing is 2 times more effective than cold email to obtain more hotel booking.
  • Google search those bloggers that have written about your hotel and leave a comment thanking them for the write-up and paste your hotel website in the comment section.

6. Human Interaction Can Never Be Replace

Image from hotelogix

Use your front desk as a point of contact.

Ensure your staff especially the front desk/ receptionist are well educated to promote direct online hotel booking. Besides that, they have to be well informed about the latest offers and deals that can only be redeemed through online hotel booking website.

Companies like Airbnb are making it big not just because their platform can connect travellers to the right accommodation, but also ensure the quality of the host is as good as 5-star hotel customer service. With human interaction, it makes the journey even more memorable.

Even though more and more activities are done online, a successful hotel will always provide no other technology can replace, engaging customers and keeping them happy is the name of the game in the hotel industry.

Are you deciding to have your own hotel website? Find out more by reading What Are The Criteria Of Good Instant Booking Engine For Hotels.

or Head over to Softinn Solution homepage to learn how Softinn helps small and medium hotels and also homestays save more by having all the essential functions in the Softinn Extranet. The best part is there is no upfront payment needed.

Softinn helps hotel or homestay build a website with booking engine and payment system so that merchants can focus on running their business without much hassle.

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 09.48.27
Website build by Softinn

**Above Article is Written by Softinn Solution**

Softinn Solutions Sdn. Bhd. is an emerging travel technology company that develops a cloud-based hotel reservation system for small and medium-sized hotels. Learn how we help hundreds of hotels better manage their business and increase sales.

Softinn Solutions is Headquartered in Melaka, Malaysia.

5 Cara Menjadikan Hotel Bajet Memiliki Potensi Besar Pada Tahun 2017

Jika anda memiliki sebuah hotel kecil, artikel ini sangat sesuai untuk anda. Artikel ini menerangkan bagaimana hotel-hotel kecil dapat bersaing setaraf dengan hotel-hotel yang besar pada 2017 dengan bajet yang sedikit dan kebebasan yang had dari segi pemasaran.

Apa yang anda boleh lakukan adalah dengan menggunakan sumber percuma (free resources) dengan sebaik-baiknya. Salah satu ‘free resources’ adalah dengan meletakkan keberadaan hotel anda di internet. Ini sangat penting untuk hotel anda menyerlah di dalam industri pelancongan dan hospitaliti.

Berikut beberapa tips untuk menaikkan hotel anda pada 2017:

1. Sasaran tetamu tertentu


Memikirkan atau menetapkan sasaran tetamu anda adalah sangat penting supaya apabila anda telah mengetahui siapa sasaran tetamu, anda boleh fokus untuk melakukan segala usaha untuk mencapai kepada sasaran anda tersebut. Tapi sebelum tu, anda perlu memahami pasaran semasa dan situasi hotel anda.

Antara perkara yang perlu dipertimbangkan adalah:

  • Lokasi Hotel anda
  • Jenis-jenis kemudahan dan perkhidmatan yang anda boleh berikan
  • Potensi pesaing di sekitar lokasi anda dan apa yang mereka lakukan
  • Jika ada apa-apa tarikan berhampiran atau tempat-tempat pelancongan yang berdekatan dengan lokasi hotel anda

Contohnya, jika hotel anda terletak di “World Trade Centre” tetapi sasaran tetamu anda pula adalah remaja yang sedang mencari percutian yang damai, maka anda perlu mengubah sasaran tetamu anda dengan segera. Sebaliknya cuba pelancong peniaga asing.

2. Menyediakan perkhidmatan yang baik walaupun hanya hotel bajet


Ada dua jenis tetamu atau pelancong yang lebih cenderung untuk menulis ulasan pada hotel. Tetamu yang betul-betul berpuas hati dengan layanan kita atau sebaliknya. Kami yakin anda mesti tidak ingin membaca ulasan dari jenis yang kedua ini betul? Tiada siapa yang sempurna, tapi anda boleh berusaha dengan tidak memberi peluang kepada mereka untuk menulis ulasan yang buruk tentang hotel anda, kerana apabila ia telah ditulis di internet, ia akan kekal di sana selamanya.

Dikatakan bahawa 7 daripada 10 tetamu yang berpuas hati akan menceritakan pengalamannya kepada sekurang-kurangnya 4 orang yang lain. Ini membuktikan bahawa khidmat pelanggan sangat penting sehinggakan kita perlu berani mengambil risikonya. Latih pekerja-pekerja anda untuk menyerlahkan kebaikan di dalam diri mereka dan tunjukkan kepada tetamu yang mereka mengambil berat. Jangan berlagak dan tidak mengendahkan mereka. Benar-benar berinteraksi dengan mereka.

3. Pastikan laman web anda ‘simple’ dan ‘responsif’


Memberikan maklumat yang ringkas dan relevan adalah penting untuk menjadikan pelawat anda daripada hanya melawat laman web anda kepada menjadi pelanggan anda. Cuba jangan meletakkan informasi yang tidak diperlukan sebagai contoh, penulisan mengenai “menjadi hotel yang pertama di dunia”. Anda boleh lakukan penulisan seperti itu tetapi bukanlah di laman web hotel yang sepatutnya menjadi tempat pertukaran jualan hotel anda.

Sekarang anda sudah mempunyai isi kandungan yang betul, cuba jadikannya kelihatan menarik supaya ia melambangkan identiti hotel anda. Pastikan butang navigasi ke halaman yang paling relevan seperti laman untuk dihubungi, laman tentang hotel anda dan halaman tempahan adalah jelas. Tidak lupa juga, pastikan laman web anda mudah dilihat pada semua peranti terutamanya telefon pintar dan tablet.

Pada peringkat ini, kami anggap anda sudah mempunyai laman web untuk hotel anda. Sekarang sudah masuk ke tahun 2017 dan jika hotel anda masih tidak mempunyai laman web lagi, anda perlu risau bagaimana ingin bersaing dengan hotel-hotel yang besar. Jika anda tidak mempunyainya lagi, dapatkannya secara percuma hari ini. Ia dilengkapi dengan ‘Booking Engine’ sekali.

4. Buat blog atau blog dengan lebih baik


Jika anda sudah mempunyai laman web hotel tetapi anda tidak mempunyai blog lagi, kemungkinan anda perlu berfikir untuk mewujudkannya. Ramai di antara kita bukanlah seorang Penulis yang profesional tetapi kita boleh menjadikannya sebagai hobi. Antara kandungan yang boleh dikongsi di dalam blog hotel anda adalah tentang sejarah hotel anda, proses pengubahsuaian hotel anda ataupun acara-acara yang diadakan di hotel anda.

Satu perkara lagi, memiliki blog dan memastikan ia dikemas kini dengan kerap dan bermaklumat akan menghasilkan keajaiban untuk anda. Blogging boleh meningkatkan SEO anda dan itulah sebabnya ia adalah satu strategi yang kebanyakan syarikat kini beralih kepadanya untuk mendapatkan nama mereka di bahagian atas halaman hasil carian Google.

5. Gunakan Media sosial


Kita semua tahu bahawa media sosial adalah percuma tetapi cuba untuk tidak keterlaluan menggunakannya. Pilih platform anda dengan bijak dan cuba untuk tidak terikut-ikut dengan keadaan semasa dan membuat akaun pada setiap platform media sosial. Facebook adalah satu kemestian kerana ia menarik orang daripada semua peringkat umur. Instagram, Twitter dan Pinterest juga adalah permulaan yang baik. Sesetengah platform berfungsi lebih baik daripada yang lain terutama apabila anda mempunyai sumber yang terhad atau ingin mengiklankan produk tertentu.

Apabila anda berada di media sosial, ia adalah penting untuk anda cuba melibatkan diri dengan pengguna anda. Balas komen dan mesej mereka. Jangan hanya membalas ulasan yang baik sahaja, balas juga ulasan yang buruk. Tunjukkan bahawa anda boleh terima kritikan dan bersedia untuk memperbaikinya. Anda juga boleh mengumumkan kembali atau menampilkan tetamu hotel anda di dalam akaun media sosial anda! Itu akan menjadikan mereka lebih daripada gembira untuk kembali.

5 Ways Small Hotels Can Make It Big in 2017

If you own a small hotel, this article is made for you. We are talking about how it’s time for small hotels to make it big in 2017 if you have a small budget and don’t have a lot of freedom when it comes to shelling out big money for marketing.

What you can do is, make the most out of the free resources available to you. One of the free resources is getting yourself on the Internet. Having an online presence is important in standing out in the tourism and hospitality industry. As a small hotel, it’s a bonus to have your name online because many of your competitors are not yet. Not to mention, the vast majority of online marketing is free, making it a smart investment.

So, here’s a few tips to make your hotels presence up in 2017:

1. Target specific guests


It’s it important to confirm or figure out who your target audience should be and do everything it takes to reach them. Before that, you need to understand the existing market and your situation. Few things you should consider are:

  • The location of your hotel
  • Types of amenities and service you can provide
  • Potential competitors around your location and what they do
  • Is there any nearby attractions or tourist spots near your hotel location

For instance if your hotel is located at a world trade centre but your target audience is young adults who are seeking for a peaceful vacation, you might need to transform your target audience. Try targeting foreign business travellers instead.

2. Even if you’re small, have a big heart


There are 2 types of guests or travellers who are more inclined to leaving online reviews for hotel. The highly satisfied guests and the opposite. We are pretty sure you would avoid reading reviews from the latter. No one is perfect but try not to give them the chance to submit a bad review about your hotel because once it is up online, it’s there forever.

It is said that 7 out of 10 satisfied guests are most likely to share their experience with at least 4 more people. Customer service is so important that we have to bold this. It doesn’t matter if your rooms are slightly small when you have a big heart. Train your staff to bring out the kindness in them and show the guests that you care. Don’t act as a nameless or faceless business; talk to your guests genuinely.

3. Keep your website simple and responsive


Offering concise and relevant information is important to turn your web visitors into customers. Try not to stuff them with information which are not needed for example, a write-up about the first hotel in the world. You may do this, but not in the hotel website where you are supposed to be expecting sales conversion.  We will further explain about this in the next point.

Now you have the right content, try to make it visually appealing in a way that it represents the business spirit of your hotel. Make sure the navigation buttons to the most relevant pages such as the contact page, about page and the reservation page are noticeable. Not forget, make sure your website is easily viewable on all devices too especially mobile and tablet.

At this stage, we assume that you already have a website for your hotel up. It’s 2017 and you can’t expect to make it big in time if you haven’t have a website yet. Well, maybe if you haven’t have one, consider getting one for free today. Did we mention that it comes with a booking engine too? Yes, it does.

4. Make a blog or blog better


If your hotel doesn’t have a blog yet, chances are you should start thinking of creating one. Many of us are not writers by profession but we can always turn it into a hobby. Some of the contents which are shareable on a hotel blog can be a write-up about the history of your hotel, the renovation process of your hotel or editorial posts of events held in your hotel.

One more thing, having a blog and keep it updated regularly and informatively will do wonders for you. Blogging can vastly improve your SEO and that is why it’s a strategy that many companies are turning to for getting their name at the top of Google’s search results page.

5. Use social media


We all know that social media is free but try not to overdo it. Choose your platforms wisely and try not to jump on the bandwagon and make an account on every social media platform. Facebook is a must as it attracts people of all ages. Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest are great start. Some platforms work better than others especially when you’re dealing with limited resources or advertising a specific product.

When you’re on social media, it is important that you try to engage with your users. Reply to their comments and messages. Do not just reply to good reviews, respond to bad reviews too. Show that you can take in criticism and is ready to improve. You may even repost or feature your hotel guests on your account! That would make them more than happy to return.