How to Encourage and Improve Online Booking Services

In an age where people book hotel rooms from their phone during a lunch break, email booking is no longer enough. Hotels, spas, resorts, cinemas and theaters are gradually becoming aware of the need to update their marketing/booking strategy to a new, integrative plan that will span the right online and mobile channels.

Expanding online engagement in the hospitality and entertainment businesses will is an inseparable factor in increasing direct booking.

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But the integrative online engagement strategy needs to be tied well together. Here are some ideas on how to cultivate user engagement:

Make Direct Online Booking a Priority

Today, even the most prestigeous and veteran hotels in the world are competing with new online booking services who can offer better deals and prices for the same rooms. Make direct online booking a top priority for your digital operations, by extending the hotel’s exclusive brand – to the digital experience, and more importantly, by making it worthwhile for your customers to book directly.

Even if the room may cost a bit more than it would through an online booking service, your brand still has the power to compensate customers and reward them for brand loyalty.

Simplify and Streamline Direct Online Booking

An important aspect of successful direct online booking is, of course, the customer experience while booking. The funny thing about all those online booking services, is that most of them offer a horrendeous booking experience, which most customers are willing to put up with because of the appeal of the prices.

This can be a differentiating point for customers who opt for direct online booking – offer a smooth, elegant booking experience that will whisk customers straight to the finish line. Read more about how Iridize can help improve customer engagement.

 

Seriously Consider Mobile First

Deciding to adapt your site for mobile is a big decision, in terms of development, so if you are not a global franchise that can take the expenses for mobile development out of the petty cash – you should invest some research into this course of action:

While it is very, very likely that a great deal of your customers are booking hotel rooms from their mobile devices, you need to delve into your analytics to get a thorough look at the figures. It won’t hurt to invest in some heatmap service, or a customer flow tool, to see where mobile users get stuck.

 

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Incentivize Staff to Promote Direct Online Booking

It is important to get staff on board with online booking as part of the integration policy. Staff may be apprehensive about technology replacing human work force and they need to understand that that expanding online translates into more business opportunities.

If you are outsourcing your online marketing, share the statistics, success stories and the expansion process you’re your employees. Remind them that direct booking, in any channel, contributes to building genuine customer relationships.

 

Booking on social platforms

The jury is still out on whether booking through twitter is good for you, as a business. While it may work for some, the general recommendation is to aim for engaging customers and increasing distribution through twitter, but if you have doubts, stick to more private booking channels.

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Noa is Iridize's Head of Content. With a background in digital strategy planning and database management, Noa translates Iridize's vision, stories and data into words. Digital learning and user experience are a particular passion of hers.