How to Perfect Your Hotel's Direct Booking Strategy — Photo by iVvy

If you're looking for avenues to amplify revenue and create a more loyal guest base, look towards fine-tuning your hotel's direct booking strategy.

Despite increased accessibility by third-party sites, direct bookings have quickly become a preferred method for consumers. In fact, in a trickle-down effect of COVID-19, direct hotel bookings increased from an average of 20% in 2019 to 30% in 2021.

Streamlining bookings and directing guests back to your hotel's website is a powerful way to showcase your unique digital identity, build a stronger connection with your guests, and retain more booking revenue.

There are several ways you can enhance your hotel's direct booking approach, and I’m about to dive into a selection of effective strategies. By honing these tactics, your hotel will attract more guests, cultivate meaningful relationships, and increase bottom-line revenue.

Understanding Your Audience

The cornerstone of any successful direct booking strategy is a deep understanding of your audience. Delving into guest data and market research provides invaluable insights into your guests' preferences, behaviours, and needs. Tailoring marketing efforts and booking experience to address these insights can significantly boost your direct bookings.

For example, recognising that a segment of your guests prefers eco-friendly practices will enable you to highlight your hotel's green initiatives, resonating with their values and encouraging direct bookings. Similarly, understanding peak booking times and channels can optimise your marketing spend and strategy. Engage with your audience through targeted surveys or feedback tools to continually refine your approach and stay aligned with their evolving preferences.

For a head start on nailing your hotel’s different target audiences, use iVvy’s free buyer persona template.

Optimising Your Website

Your hotel's website is the digital front door to your property and should exude welcome, clarity, and ease of use. A user-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and mobile-responsive website can significantly impact the guest's decision to book directly. The booking process should be streamlined and intuitive, minimising steps and requiring minimal internal and external effort.

High-quality images, engaging descriptions, and clear calls to action can enhance the user experience and encourage direct bookings. Additionally, ensuring your website is secure and displays trust signals like SSL certificates can reassure guests about their privacy and the safety of their transactions.

Leveraging SEO and Content Marketing

Effective search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies can catapult your hotel's visibility online, directing potential guests to your site. Utilising targeted keywords, optimising for local search, and maintaining an active blog can improve your search engine rankings. Content marketing goes hand in hand with SEO, providing value to your audience while showcasing your hotel's unique offerings.

Share local travel tips, highlight upcoming events, or feature guest stories to engage readers and entice them to book directly. Having your hotel as an authority in your locale or niche enables you to build trust and encourage guests to choose your site over third-party options.

Case Study: Hilton ‘Expect Better. Expect Hilton’

Hilton used the slogan "Expect Better. Expect Hilton" to showcase its direct booking features in 2018. Actress Anna Kendrick was featured in Hilton's first celebrity-driven campaign highlighting the benefits of booking through the official website. These benefits included a price match guarantee, free Wi-Fi, room selection, and a digital key.

The campaign was designed to appeal to millennial and Gen Z consumers and optimised for various mediums and platforms. The goal was to turn these consumers into brand advocates on social media.

Since the campaign launch, direct web bookings have grown three times faster than other channels. Customer perception significantly improved that booking directly with Hilton guarantees the best price. Hilton also enjoyed a significant increase in new guests who have not previously stayed with the brand. Membership in the free Hilton Honors rewards program increased by 20%, with over 94 million members.

Personalising Guest Experiences

In the era of personalisation, guests expect experiences tailored to their preferences. Utilising data analytics to understand your guests' habits and preferences allows you to create targeted offers and communications that speak directly to them.

For example, if data shows a significant number of guests are repeat visitors, consider creating a loyalty program offering perks for direct bookings. Personalised email campaigns highlighting special offers, events, or amenities can also increase direct bookings, making guests feel valued and understood.

Using an Online Booking Engine

Property owners and managers can utilise online booking engines to boost direct bookings and enhance the customer experience. The majority of these systems can be integrated into an existing hotel website to function primarily as its reservation processing system. They can also work as the hotel website, using customisable website templates.

The primary advantage of using online reservation systems for hotels is that they can secure new reservations without paying commissions to third-party distribution channels, which include OTAs, travel agents, GDSs, and online marketplaces. Guests can book hotel rooms, and meeting and function spaces online 24/7 from anywhere. Payments can be processed immediately using an integrated payment gateway.

Case Study: Comwell Hotels Online Booking Engine

Before the pandemic, Comwell Hotels in Denmark sought a more innovative approach to managing meetings and events. For over two decades, they’d been using the same system and were ready to make a sustainable and futuristic move.

Comwell became the first hotelier in Denmark to adopt iVvy venue management software. The company worked closely with the developers to upgrade its systems holistically, using the iVvy platform's open API to integrate easily with its PMS, POS, and spa systems.

With a centralised Sales & Catering solution, all of Comwell's sales activities now go through a single channel, whether communication takes place through its websites, CRM system, phone, or email, including the RFP process. The system also empowers each team member to act on booking requests, rather than wait for approval and potentially miss out on opportunities.

As a result, Comwell Hotels now saves 10 minutes of work per booking using an instant online booking engine. Additionally, the company has reduced paper consumption by over 25%, and the time required to generate reports has been reduced by 50%.

Utilising Social Proof and Reviews

Endorsements in the form of testimonials and reviews can be incredibly influential in promoting your hotel's experience. You can boost confidence in direct bookings by featuring positive reviews prominently on your website.

Encourage satisfied guests to share their experiences via reviews, testimonials, and social posts. Responding to reviews is a great way to demonstrate that you value guest feedback. Engaging with guest feedback will enhance your hotel's reputation and show your commitment to guest satisfaction and continuous improvement.

Increase Your Hotel’s Direct Bookings for Greater Revenue

Elevating your hotel's direct booking strategy is an ongoing process that demands attention to detail and an adaptive approach. By understanding your audience, optimising your digital presence, streamlining your enquiry and booking process, personalising experiences, and leveraging social proof, you can increase direct bookings, enhance guest satisfaction, and drive revenue growth.

For expert tips and strategies on increasing bookings and revenue in your hotel using guest personalisation techniques, download iVvy’s free ebook ‘Personalising the Guest Experience; a Revenue Boosting Guide for Hotels’- get your copy here.

About iVvy

iVvy is a leading global SaaS cloud-based technology solution designed to streamline booking and event management operations for venues worldwide. Our comprehensive platform offers a range of powerful features, including instant booking functionality and centralised function diary, to enhance the efficiency and productivity of venue operators.

With an integrated revenue management and distribution platform, iVvy equips hotels, restaurants, stadiums, and universities with the necessary tools to seamlessly manage inquiries, bookings, and event logistics. Including advanced reporting and analytics features, iVvy offers venues greater visibility into their business performance. This invaluable data empowers decision-makers to make informed choices, optimise revenue, and maximise the utilisation of group rooms, meeting spaces, and event facilities.

iVvy's scalable solutions cater to the unique needs of the travel, MICE, and events industries. Our global team, available 24/7, provides dedicated support to clients in five countries, ensuring seamless operations and prompt assistance whenever required.

We are proud to serve some of the world's most renowned hospitality groups, major corporations, travel companies, governments, associations, stadiums, universities, and nonprofit organisations.

To learn more about iVvy and our comprehensive product suite, visit

Brittany George
Content Marketing Manager