Hotel Trends

15 ways to increase hotel direct bookings

12 Minutes

Kajal Makhija

15 ways to increase hotel direct bookings

Kajal Makhija
Published on

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In order to stay in business, every hotel owner needs to figure out how to increase direct hotel bookings and boost revenue. It's difficult to formulate effective long-term plans while you're neck-deep in the day-to-day challenges of your job.

The overall uncertainty revealed that travelers lack confidence in OTAs. People are more confident on a hotel's website when searching for pertinent, current information: Is the business open? What are their sanitation procedures? Are there any restrictions they should be aware of? And as local travel increases, it has become simpler to simply contact the hotel.

The hotel industry has grown tremendously over the past two decades, and much of its success can be attributed to savvy Internet usage. 

In 2019, according to Kalibri Labs, 27% of hotel reservations are made directly with the hotel, 25% through the hotel's website, and 16% through online travel agencies. This indicates that there is ample opportunity to attract consumers to hotel direct bookings. Save time and money while providing your clients with the most accurate hotel information. 

Hotels allow guests to make instantaneous room reservations with all facilities shown through their websites, thanks to the addition of online reservation software. Hotels may reach out to potential customers more effectively with this type of platform.

What is hotel direct booking? 

A direct booking is a reservation made with a hotel directly, typically through the hotel's website, as opposed to an OTA. Since hotels can benefit most from the highest margins by advertising directly to guests, this direct channel will remain a top priority.

Since no fees are paid to third parties for direct bookings, the hotel's acquisition cost per guest decreases, resulting in a higher profit. Your hotel can make more money through direct booking since it opens the door to upselling. The direct booking channel gives hotels more say over their visitors' online experiences, which is crucial in the hospitality industry because of the importance placed on guest satisfaction. 

To clarify, hotel direct bookings are those confirmed by guests directly with the hotel, as opposed to through an OTA or other third-party hotel booking sites. A hotel's website and other hotel direct booking channels (email, sales staff, social media, and messaging apps like WhatsApp and Messenger) account for the vast majority of all hotel bookings.

Direct booking trends

direct booking trend

Here are some of the direct hotel booking trends that are expected to emerge in 2023:

Rise of Mobile Bookings

It is anticipated that mobile bookings will continue to increase in 2023. In fact, some experts predict that by the end of the year, mobile will account for more than half of all hotel reservations. This is due to the growing prominence of smartphones and the convenience of mobile hotel booking.


Personalization is becoming increasingly significant within the travel industry. Direct bookings are more likely to occur at hotels that can personalize the booking experience for visitors. This can be accomplished by utilizing data to comprehend the preferences of visitors and providing them with personalized deals and promotions.

Growth of social media bookings

The importance of social media as a channel for hotel reservations is growing. Hotels that optimize their social media presence are more likely to receive direct reservations from prospective visitors. This can be accomplished through the creation of engaging content, the execution of contests and giveaways, and the response to comments and inquiries.

Increased focus on customer service

Customer service is more essential than ever in today's competitive marketplace. Excellent customer service will increase the likelihood of returning visitors and positive reviews. This can be accomplished by promptly responding to inquiries, resolving issues, and going the extra mile to ensure visitors have a pleasant stay.

Focus on loyalty programs

Loyalty programs are an excellent method for encouraging guests to schedule directly with hotels. By providing perks such as complimentary stays, room upgrades, and discounts, hotels can foster visitor loyalty and encourage future bookings.

Use of Technology

Technology can be used to enhance the booking experience for visitors and make direct bookings with hotels easier. Hotels can use chatbots to answer queries, virtual assistants to assist guests with bookings, and dynamic pricing to provide guests with the lowest possible rate.

Direct booking vs OTA bookings

When devising a distribution strategy, hotel revenue managers should consider all distribution channels, as their use in the proper proportions is advantageous for the hotel. The two most important booking sources are online travel agencies (OTAs) and hotel direct bookings. Therefore, in order to find the optimal balance of hotel direct booking vs OTA, you should examine the following parameters:

Guest persona

Check who your intended audience is. You must adapt your distribution strategy to the reserving preferences of your prospective customers, as they are the ones who will ultimately make the reservation.

Geographic coverage

Some channels, such as OTAs and other third-party hotel booking sites, facilitate international visibility because they generate global traffic. Their website is also available in multiple languages, which can be especially helpful if your website is not available in the languages of your prospective visitors.

Hotel Occupancy

The percentage of a hotel's available accommodations that are sold. You can choose when and where to display your rooms and rates based on the season and your goals, for example, by filtering out dates on OTAs during peak occupancy.


Information about your customers, including demographics, purchasing behavior, and purchasing preferences. Depending on the importance of your client database to your business strategy, there are third parties from which you will not receive any customer information, including their email address.


The number of guests who visit your hotel. You must be aware that there may be profitable channels that do not generate the expected volume, or vice versa.

Marketing efforts

Marketing initiatives include promotional campaigns and activities for your hotel's services. OTAs and other channels promote the properties they list with effective marketing strategies. This is especially useful for hotels that lack a dedicated marketing team to run their own campaigns.

Benefits of getting direct bookings 

Increasing direct bookings provides hotels with higher profit margins, greater room rate control, enhanced customer experiences, and increased guest loyalty. The following are the benefits of direct hotel bookings:

  • Hotels can considerably increase profits by eliminating the fees charged by third-party intermediaries.
  • When hotels have direct control over their accommodation rates, they can more effectively manage pricing strategies and respond in real time to market demands. 
  • The ability to administer the customer experience more efficiently is another advantage of direct bookings.
  • Hotels can reduce the possibility of foul play or miscommunication with direct hotel bookings. 
  • When booking directly with a hotel, guests can avoid paying the commission fees levied by third-party booking platforms. 
  • Hotels can offer a price-matching guarantee on their hotel booking websites, ensuring that guests who book directly receive the lowest rates available. 
  • Hotels frequently provide exclusive deals, packages, and promotions to guests who book directly, like additional amenities, complimentary breakfast, and special discounts.
  • A direct booking with a hotel creates a direct line of communication between the guest and the hotel staff. enabling the hotel to provide superior customer service.
  • Many hotels offer loyalty programs that reward visitors who book directly. 
  • Booking directly grants visitors greater flexibility when making modifications to their reservations, such as adjusting dates, room varieties, or special requests.
  • The hotel has access to customers’ preferences, stay history, and other pertinent information, allowing it to provide a more personalized experience.

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15 ways to increase direct bookings for your hotel

Increase hotel direct booking

By promoting more direct bookings, hotels can potentially boost profitability, strengthen connections with customers, and maintain control over the booking process. Some of the best ways and hotel direct booking strategies to increase direct bookings for your hotel are:

1. Build a user-friendly website

Because reserving a room is a three-step procedure, OTAs attract the majority of guests due to their seamless user experience. Having a rapid and responsive website with a clear booking process will improve the user experience and make it simple for users to find what they are looking for while preventing any confusion during the booking journey. A requirement in the modern era. This is the hotel's storefront. It must have a robust digital identity to attract the greatest number of visitors. Websites must be visually appealing, simple to navigate, and, most importantly, user-friendly.

2. Have a winning landing page

Include copy that is concise and emotional. Utilize a button that stands out and meets the needs of your customers. Use visuals to reinforce your message. Create a positive slogan. This will result in an increase in direct reservations, which are, as we know, the most profitable online bookings.

3. Your Gallery Must Shine

The photo gallery is the first item that potential customers see on your direct booking website. Demonstrate in the gallery the great personality of your hotel and the immaculate condition of the rooms to help potential guests swiftly decide if yours is the right option.

4. Consider Your Website's Load Time

A sluggish page load time can have a negative impact on conversion rates. According to studies, more than half of visitors will abandon your website for a competitor's in order to prevent delays. There are numerous ways to make a direct booking website faster. For instance, request that your web designer load the images as the consumer views them, so you do not have to wait for them all to load. 

5. Make sure your potential clients find your hotel

Besides OTAs, there are many ways to increase your visibility online, such as:

  • Google Hotel Ads
  • Paid Search
  • Retargeting
  • Social Networks
  • Videos
  • Meta Search
  • Blog
  • Email Marketing

You should weigh the pros and cons of various channels when formulating a plan to increase direct hotel bookings and traffic to your hotel's booking website, and then test the channels that seem most applicable to your scenario and end objective.

6. Do not offer too many options

Too many alternatives create friction. Friction is anything that hinders the customer's ability to complete the booking. Don't overwhelm your consumers with so many booking options that the process becomes cumbersome. Reduce your offerings and navigational options to the bare minimum.  

7. Consider a commission-free booking engine

The majority of travel research and booking is now done on mobile devices, so it's important to choose a commission-free booking engine that is also mobile-friendly. To boost your website's conversion rate, simplify the booking process by cutting it down to two or three steps and adding a rate checker. By proving to them that your rate is the lowest, you may keep them from leaving your site to check other OTAs and encourage them to make a reservation with you.

8. Use AI chatbots in hotels

Hoteliers are utilizing tools such as chatbots and conversational artificial intelligence to increase operational efficiency and guest engagement. In fact, 64 percent of businesses believe that chatbots will enable them to provide more personalized consumer service. Hotels can streamline the check-in process and improve the guest experience even before they arrive thanks to the immediate and individualized support that hotel chatbots offer.

9. Guest engagement to drive booking

The key to guest engagement is direct and personalized interaction with consumers in order to develop a close relationship and influence booking decisions. Hoteliers must visualize the booking procedure on their websites by putting themselves in the shoes of the customer.

The first phase of the direct booking procedure is research, during which the guest looks for additional information about the hotel. Before making their final booking decision, visitors spend a significant amount of time searching for information, browsing through various offers, and comparing prices.

Therefore, the manner in which hotels communicate with their guests can significantly boost conversions. Supporting guests' inquiries quickly and effectively not only saves them time but also expedites the booking process and creates an engaging experience even before their stay.

10. Attract customers via Social Media

Social media plays a significant role in expanding the brand awareness and global presence of your hotel. Guests are not only using these platforms to share their hotel experiences and photos but also to book accommodations. Ensure that your hotel's social media pages are frequently updated with useful information for potential guests, such as local activities, top restaurants, and specials.

11. Offer Coupon Codes and Discounts

Promo codes are an effective marketing instrument for hoteliers, allowing them to fill rooms more quickly. Providing promotional codes to direct bookers and add-ons during the final stage of their booking journey can help maximize revenue and boost direct conversion. Your promotional code offers and packages should compel guests to book directly with you rather than an OTA.

12. Drive reviews for online reputation

Before making the final reservation, nearly 98% of travelers read hotel reviews, and 80% of them consider them to be extremely essential. Good reviews can significantly affect a traveler's booking decision. An online presence that demonstrates how you have satisfied previous guests is an effective means of converting hesitant potential guests. Including positive reviews and other guest-generated content, such as photographs, will encourage guests to complete their bookings through your direct booking channels.

13. Create a sense of urgency

The fear of missing out on a fantastic opportunity is a powerful motivator. A countdown timer and limited-time incentives are great tools for inspiring instantaneous reservations from site visitors. When occupancy is low, such as during a flash sale, direct bookings might be boosted significantly.

14. Integrate upsells into the booking procedure

Visitors will appreciate being able to tailor their stay to their exact preferences if you incorporate upsells, add-ons, and packages into your booking engine. Allow guests to pick and choose which additional services they would like to purchase with their hotel reservation, such as parking, transportation, spa passes, and tours. You can attract more guests and set yourself apart from OTAs with the help of these features.

15. Sell Experiences, not just rooms

Today's travelers are looking for more than simply a bed to sleep in; they want to find a lodging service that can deliver the exact atmosphere they're hoping for. Our analysis of the hospitality industry found that an increasing number of hotels are focusing less on providing guests with traditional services and more on satisfying their desire for unique, memorable experiences. 

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The vast majority of modern travelers choose to book their accommodations online, and one main reason for this is the vast improvement in the quality of hotel booking services. Modern hotel websites are easier to use and often even offer 360-degree virtual tours of the facilities, which can increase direct hotel bookings.

Think of unique ways to impress your guests without violating the conditions of rate parity. Many prospective visitors utilize an online travel agency (OTA) to find your brand, and then they visit the hotel’s website to learn more. Here is your opportunity to increase direct hotel bookings. Implement the above hotel direct booking strategies to increase revenue and brand value.

Hotels may increase profits, forge deeper connections with guests, and stay in charge of the booking process by encouraging more direct bookings. Hoteliers can improve their chances of receiving direct bookings and generating maximum revenue by applying the aforementioned tactics and creating an appealing, user-friendly hotel website.

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