How To Build a Remarkable Loyal Direct Booking Channel for Hotels

Several Hotels has now started to take the gloves off in the battle with Online Travel Agencies. Marriott, Hilton, Intercontinental, Hyatt, Wyndham and Choice Hotels are starting to push more direct bookings among its loyalty members. Hotels are looking for new ways to take back market shares from third-party distribution channels.

Online Travel Agencies takes from 15% to 20% commission from a single booking transaction. Even with higher acquisition costs, it is dramatically more profitable for Hotels with increased Direct Bookings.

Most of the Hotels that now is starting to take on Online Travel Agencies indicate they are not against them as a service option, but their goal is to drive business through their channels.

And from the Hotels viewpoint, there are more incentives available to turn customers into a loyal customer when they come through their channels.

Marriott and Hilton have run some advertising campaigns to create more awareness about the benefits of Direct Bookings.

Some Hotel chains have experienced a 63% increase in enrollments to their loyalty programs.

The basic principles behind these campaigns are for Hotels is providing exclusive rates designed to show how valuable they are.

Loyalty and Value Proposition for the New and Renewed Customers

All Hoteliers need to educate customers of the value of a Direct Booking and leave it up to the customers to make an educated booking decision.

As reported in 8 Hotel Marketing Trends For 2016 You Need To Know industry-wide, the conversion rate on travel and hospitality websites remains at a steady 2 percent. This means that of all visitors to the Hotels website only 2 percent will ultimately book a room.

This just verifies the enormous opportunity that lays in Direct Bookings.

We know visitors will check rates and availability. And the next step they do is jump into comparison shopping. Which mean they will leave the Hotels website to compare rates, read reviews, watch videos and chat with their Social Network Friends.

And no doubt Online Travel Agencies websites understand the value of this scenario, and they provide visitors with alternatives that make their booking decision easy.

With Loyalty, there is one key distinction with today’s traveler from what Hotels have experienced in the past. Some of the things that Online Travel Agencies has benefited from is the increased transparency where travelers today tend to be more loyal to those that provide the best price and experience.

Customers expect contextual relevancy and Hotels are expected to deliver. The key to today is to seek more information about the customer journey. Social Media channels have made this information more accessible for Hotels.

Today’s generations are overwhelmingly digital natives, increasingly concerned with corporate social responsibility.

In contrast with the baby boomers, millennials are more aware of a product’s and issues and therefore consumers are much less brand loyal. Thus, a smart Hotel will be active on Social Media, demonstrating engagement with their consumers and show that they are keeping their consumers well informed and up to date, not just on what’s in the market now, but what coming next.

When Hotels look at loyalty they need to look at new added value for all segments. Baby boomers are still the segment that spends the most money on Hotel nights.

new and renewed consumer

New and renewed consumers today value the community experiences. Consumers are now loyal to the communities they belong to. They have new platforms to express their feelings and concerns.

Providing loyal Hotel members new and improved pricing alternatives is a good start. But Hotels need to look into the future and provide alternatives that make an impact on the communities.

Start to educate communities on alternative experiences and values. A Remarkable Loyal Direct Booking Channel for Hotels will be achieved through building new unique relationships and engage with the communities.

Hotels need to get everyone on board to embrace a message that creates a new cultural shift. Introduce training that rewards and embraces happiness. In the end, Hotels will not truly reap from a shift before the communities start to share their stories and educate their networks on the benefits of making a direct booking.

Will the new Hotel initiatives with improved pricing alternatives to their loyal members have a long-term impact?

Surprise and delight are what makes dreams come true.


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About the author

Are Morch is the founder and owner of Are Morch – Hotel Marketing Coach. Get more from Are on Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Pinterest | Instagram| Podcast