Preparing for 2021…and get more direct bookings

2020 has been a very bad year, and the pandemic has impacted everyone, with the hospitality industry being particularly hard hit.

We’re hoping 2021 will be a better year for accommodation owners, and to that end, we have put together a checklist for accommodation providers so that they can feel more confident that they are ready for whatever life brings!

The following should help get more direct bookings, so pay less commission & make more profit!

  1. Check your website – be very critical…does it instantly let you know why you should be booking direct? If not, make sure it does! Offer an incentive; eg “Book Direct, and get something special eg earlier check-ins, (or later check-outs), a free cream tea/bottle of wine etc”
  2. Make sure your website is looking the best it can; ensure you have new fresh photos, the text is current… check the date of your latest testimonial; if its a few year’s old your site visitors will be thinking “why is this site not updated – has this place not had any recent reviews?” – people are extremely quick to dismiss something online; so you need to impress/reduce any negativity at all costs. Using a reviews tool for your website like Repuso – click here to find out more will ensure your site is always up to date, as you can select to automatically approve any 5-star reviews.
  3. Using social media correctly: make sure each post you add to your social accounts are worthy…there is no point in only putting out posts about booking direct, as this isn’t interesting enough and people who are following you are likely to unfollow/block your posts – so make sure your content is great; remember they follow you for a reason; that reason is either they love your accommodation, or they love the area, so provide interesting posts that cover these eg a lovely photo you have taken when on a walk, festive pics of your accommodation etc. Create “Instagram Moments” – these are photos of an environment that people will want to come and experience themselves…so an instagram moment may be something like a snuggly seat in front of a warm fire, or a selfie taken with an amazing backdrop, basically whatever or wherever people really want to come and experience for themselves.
  4. Online reviews – get as many as you can! The more online reviews you have the better; try and build up your Google reviews too – so if you see any of your past guests have a gmail email address, ask them to leave a Google review (you need to be listed on Google My Business – see next point).
  5. Google My Business – this is really important; nowadays the big booking sites have all the top ranked sites, but Google Places is still on the front page, so your accommodation can be too! We’ll be creating a tutorial on how to add yourself to Google My Business soon!
  6. Email marketing – don’t send mass emails out, (even if you send them one by one) as you will get blacklisted if you use your own email service. Instead, sign up to Mailchimp – you can add up to 2000 contacts free of charge. Add an email sign up form to your website, you can also set an automated email so each time someone signs up to receive your newsletter it will send them a welcome email.

If you have any other helpful suggestions let us know via the comments area below!

Have you joined our Facebook Group yet?

Our new private Facebook group has been set up to create a community of accommodation owners, who can ask for help for any online topic; regarding websites, social media marketing etc.