How to drive direct bookings through user behavior?
By Pedro Colaco, CEO at GuestCentric Systems
Currently, there are several indicators showing that there is significant indecision among customers when choosing accommodation. This stems from the huge diversity of highly tempting opportunities and offers that can be found in the online world.
In fact, the main players on the market, such as Booking, Expedia or Tripadvisor, have attractive promotional offers to capture the attention of potential customers.
On the other hand, we have been witnessing a significant increase in the use of innovative techniques incentivizing direct bookings, such as pop-up windows or remarketing, as a strategic backup to promotional offers.
In practical terms, the consumer often shows some hesitation in their choice because they are not sure if there might be a better deal elsewhere on the market.
Considering this fact, hotel managers should take advantage of this online behavior with an unbeatable and customized offer at this moment. For this, it is necessary to identify the various circumstances that trigger this behavior: the moment the user enters the website, their behavior within each page when they are about to leave the website or booking engine or even when trying to close the window.
The actions you take, depending on the customer's online behavior, must result in the offer of deals that take into account the indicators mentioned above, as well as their context. There are currently innovative tools, such as the shopping recovery functionality that can be triggered when the above events occur:
1 - Landing: At the moment of arrival, the hotel can interact with the user by inserting a pop-u p (Landing trigger) to convey an offer that is unique to the website, or offering attractive deals.
2 - Scroll: The hotel can set a percentage of the scroll on the page to set the time when the pop-up appears. Thus, you may present the offer exactly when the user is querying information they consider to be relevant to their decision.
3 - Inactivity/permanency: These pop-ups might appear in case the user is inactive on the page and spends over a certain amount of time without making a decision. In this situation, the hotel manager can set up a pop-up window to try to understand what the customer is looking for and entice him or her with a customized offer.
4 - Exit-intent: This feature lets you detect when a user is about to leave the website or the booking platform, while trying to close the window. In practice, a pop-up window is activated, containing a personalized message and an unbeatable offer. For example, they could refer to additional dis count possibilities, or details of how to contact the Hotel directly for information about exclusive deals.
To succeed in securing reservations, these pop-ups should be windows that are personalized to various situations and should encourage user interaction. The fact that these pop-up windows emerge because of a determined behavior will inevitably lead to a reaction from the user.
In these pop-ups we can also get the user's email address, which can then be used to offer exclusive deals via email, which also shows that this can be a powerful tool for increasing your database.
According to the indicators available on the GuestCentric platform, effective use of these tools and their translation into actual promotions may result in increases in direct reservations of over 30%, maximizing business results. In short, we can conclude that Shopping recovery functionalities clearly show a high potential with respect to the possibility of the conversion of more direct reservations.
Pedro ColacoMore from Pedro Colaco
GuestCentric is a leading provider of cloud-based digital marketing software and services that help extraordinary hoteliers promote their brand, drive direct bookings and connect with customers on all digital platforms. GuestCentric's all-in-one platform provides hotels with the only unified solution for managing their guests' online journey: award-winning, high impact websites; an integrated, easy-to-use booking engine; social media marketing and publishing tools; a GDS chain code and a channel manager to offer rooms on Amadeus, Booking.com, Expedia, Galileo, Google, Sabre, TripAdvisor and hundreds of other channels. GuestCentric is a proud provider of solutions that maximize direct bookings to hotel groups and independent hotels from collections such as Design Hotels, Great Hotels of the World, Leading Hotels of the World, Relais & Chateaux, Small Luxury Hotels and Small Danish Hotels. GuestCentric is featured on Skift Travel Tech 250, a list of the top 250 travel tech companies shaping the modern-day travel experience.