Your most profitable guest is your most loyal customer. Though many hoteliers crave turning their OTA customers into clients, they simply don’t know how. We’re here to help you create more loyal, higher margin guests. Here’s our step by step guide of best practices that will help you turn those more expensive to acquire OTA booking hotel guests into regular customers that book direct with you.

The Right Rates: People are attracted to OTAs because they believe it’s where they’ll find the best rate for a hotel room on any given night. An Expedia study from a couple of years back suggested people look at 38 websites before booking a room. Get those lookers to take notice of your site with a ‘best rate’ guarantee throughout your site. Also, create email offers including not only the best rate guarantee, but a little something extra such as complimentary water, snacks, or a discount at the bar. These giveaways will cost you much less than the what you’d lose out from a customer using an OTA instead of booking direct.

Amenity Awards: Provide small bonuses that make guests feel special. Give guests booking direct upgrades such as free Wi-Fi, if you charge for it. If basic Wi-Fi is complimentary, provide faster Wi-Fi as an added benefit, or have parking spaces reserved up close and front with signage denoting spaces are for “direct bookers.” Other ideas:upgraded in-room bathroom amenities, preferred seating during breakfast or early check-in and late check-out.

Reward Loyalty: Branded hotels have access to loyalty programs, but independent hotels can too. For example, SkyTouch has partnered with both Stash Hotel Rewards and VOILÀ Hotel Rewards. These companies utilize a network of member hotels to create a robust rewards system for individual hotels.

Recognize and React: Utilize the SkyTouch Technology Experience Program (STEP) to learn about customers, then personalize their individual stays based on collective information. STEP provides the ability to collect, and act upon, a guest’s preferences. This allows hoteliers to create personalized experiences that build loyalty while simultaneously encouraging guests to book direct.

Review Your Website: Technology is moving quickly, and your website may have become inadvertently outdated. Search engines such as Google regularly adjust their algorithms, so you must evaluate your site regularly to ensure your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is working most efficiently. Your hotel must be at the top, or near the top of listings, to convince people to book direct. Additionally, the SkyTouch Hotel OS® has a book direct button designed for your website to create a convincing call to action.

Let Others Do the Work for You: Place TripAdvisor reviews directly on your website. Potential customers are more likely to book direct when they see others love the experience of staying at your hotel. You can have the best photos and rates, but guest testimonials create third party validation, arming the consumer with confidence to immediately book.

Create a Call to Action: Check out time is many times a missed opportunity. Your guest just had a great stay, so aside from a thoughtful thank you, remind them to book their next stay direct to enjoy the above-mentioned bonus benefits.