2 Direct Booking Pitfalls and the solutions to fix Them.

By DARREN Mathers

Why do you need a website? There are a number of reasons of course – awareness, presence, control – but ultimately, it’s to get people to book direct and save on those pesky OTA commissions.

Unfortunately, there are a number of pitfalls that are commonly found among all levels of tourism and accommodation providers, resulting in your website not being as effective as it should be at generating direct bookings.

From your users forgetting about you to them not knowing what they are getting, there is a myriad of ways to fall short of user expectations and, thankfully, many ways to make sure you don’t.

Here are just a couple…

1: Potential customers don’t remember you.

Today, web browsing is often done in spare micro-moments on multiple devices, making the online booking journey fragmented among many websites, mobile applications and social networks.

Your potential customers look at one site, then another, browse on their phones at home, then their desktops at work, and, between all this, there is a good chance that even if they saw and liked your website, and even if they started booking, they will forget about you by the days end.

Don’t believe us? Just check your website analytics. 98% of your website traffic will commonly leave after a first-time visit, never to return.

The DIY Solution 

In cases where users may have visited your website, or even started a booking, and were then distracted, ran out of time or switched device, retargeting ads can remind them where they were and what they were looking at.

Most social media platforms like Facebook and online advertising exchanges such as Google AdWords, can help you generate a small snippet of code that your web developer can easily add to your website. 

Then, when a user visits a page on your website, it will add this user to a list of people who have visited this page, and you can then choose to show them specific ads that bring them back to a point in their booking journey.

Our recommendation is to avoid search or keyword-based ads. They can get expensive and are monopolised by the OTAs. Instead, choose display ads that focus on matching experiences to the right people at the right time.

The Discovr Bookings Solution

The key to retargeting success is in the ability to understand and deliver the right experiences to the right customer at the right time and whilst this can be achieved among Google Adwords and Facebook Ads, much of your targeting will be based on assumption.

With Discovr Bookings, our retargeting is programmatic. Meaning that we use sophisticated machine learning to automatically match, track and engage your potential customers with personalised advertising across 34 exchanges (including Adwords and Facebook Ads), reaching up to 89% of all online, social and app traffic, whilst measuring intent at every data point to ensure the highest conversion at the lowest acquisition cost. 

This results in much more punch for much less work. To find out more, chat with our live support to set up a quick zero obligation call from our team of friendly experts.

2: Customers aren’t sure of what they are getting

When it comes to any online booking, your potential customers want to see how your product will make them feel. For most, their vacation will be the second largest investment of the year, for some the planning is a time to bond and fantasise about their trip, but rest assured for all, they’re going to be cautious where they spend their money.

Your website is a digital storefront and you need to distinguish what sets you apart from the competition. You can do that by telling a unique story on your website. It’s the one thing that OTAs cannot do but far too often we see websites trying to look and operate just like them.

A few examples we love are Badrutts Palace, Disney Cruise Lines or Icelandic Mountain Guides. Each has a very strong focus to display the type of experiences they offer, with details, pricing and booking easily accessible. More importantly, they know who their customers are and they’ve focused their websites to match.

The DIY Solution

Update your website using visual storytelling to create an emotional connection with travellers. Words, images and captions can be used to tell the story. High-quality images are also crucial because 65 per cent of people are visual learners and photos have the ability to convey a story quickly and effectively.

It’s important to be authentic and genuine when telling the story in order to create an emotional connection. Stories conjure up memories and develop an emotional connection with a travel shopper. Adding that emotion has a big influence on whether travellers will make a booking.

The Discovr Bookings Solution

Even with the DIY solution posted above, experience management and personalisation on your website will erode, it’ll convert better than without but there is still more you can do. The reason is that the “one size fits all” model doesn’t work and with many sources delivering visitors to your website it can be difficult to know who or why they are visiting your site.

At Discovr Bookings, we understand that the booking button on your website is the goal – it’s not the strategy. To persuade guests to book, you need to drive qualified traffic to your site and, once they’re there, convince them you’re the best! You need pages that are solely focused on driving direct bookings. These are known as landing pages, and they are highly effective.

Our landing pages focus on two goals. First is to match the right customer with the right experience – it makes little sense showing imagery and moments for a 65 yo + couple to a young family with toddlers. The second is to give your customers just the right amount of detail to get a booking – too much and they lose interest, too little and they’ll go looking for more elsewhere.

To get the best results we build multiple variations of your landing pages and test, measure and tweak every page, creating higher conversions and higher ROI with less ad spend.

Generally, a company that spends $1 in advertising to landing pages would need to spend $3 more to achieve the same conversion quantity if they chose to send their ads to a website, as the majority of brands still do. 

To find out more, chat with our live support to set up a quick zero obligation call from our team of friendly experts. 

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