One of The B&B Team’s mantras is; ‘It is all about the guest.’ Meaning innkeepers should focus on the total guest experience. From your website, through the booking process to check-out.
The booking process has become more complicated over the last 20 years or so. Agree? A guests’ booking channels to your Inn’s website are now fraught with mountains and valleys to traverse. The easier straight road to your Inn’s website and ‘book now’ button is much harder to find these days.
Solution? Not easy either, but as a group you may be able to educate your guests and guide them on the Book Direct road. But first innkeepers must be educated as to why the booking process has become so difficult and misleading.
“The majority of your potential guests do not realize that when they click the BLUE “Book a Room” in Google that they are not booking direct with you — And we have proof.
Recently, Acorn Internet Services, Inc. in conjunction with PAII (Professional Association of Innkeepers International) and AIHP (Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals) conducted a survey of 1,000 Google Users, in the United States, both men and women, from the ages of 18 to 65+ who were asked if they thought clicking the BLUE “Book a Room” button would allow them to book direct at the property’s website.”
The most compelling fact from this study is: 70% think Google’s Book a Room button goes directly to the hotel. That is an amazing number. Read more about the results in Acorn’s November 2018 blog.
February 6, 2019 is National Book Direct Day. Join the Movement! The following excerpts from the book direct website.
What can you as innkeepers do?
- Send an email campaign to past and future guests explaining the value of booking direct and booking smart.
- Create special deals and promo codes for returning guests, which they can only obtain when they book direct.
- Share information via social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, etc.) using the hashtag #BookDirect to bring attention to the advantages of working directly with innkeepers and hoteliers instead of third-party sites.
- Offer a BookDirect Special for the week of Feb. 6 or perhaps the entire month when a traveler books direct from your site.
- Use BookDirect imagery to notify guests that they are on your site.
- Manage your inventory properly on the OTAs.
- Ask for guest reviews that include language from the guest describing how they enjoyed their stay because they booked direct.
- Include language in Review Management Responses that speaks to why booking direct is BEST!
- Wear a BookDirect button at breakfast, ask questions, and teach your guests all about why booking direct is BEST!
- Work with local media outlets (newspapers, TV and radio stations) to educate travelers about the best ways to book a vacation rental.
- Encourage local travel and networking organizations (i.e. CVBs, chambers, state tourism organizations) to join in promoting their direct connections to lodging providers.
And most important:
Get Involved! Visit our industry’s website, www.bookdirect.education where members of our industry can go to find information on this initiative. But we’ll need your help! Volunteer forms can be found on the website, where you can sign up to participate.
This is a campaign that will benefit both guest and innkeeper where it makes the most impact, in the wallet! You as innkeepers know how those third-party fees affect your bottom line. Now is the time to educate your guests on how it affects them.
Guest Benefits for Booking Direct
- Reduces the cost of third-party fees
- Offers more perks and guest amenities
- Provides access to specials and packages
- Gives access to lower rates
- Provides clearer expectations and accurate information
- Allows for direct communication with the innkeeper to personalize and optimize their stay
It is ‘all about the guest’. Their direct road to YOU and all you have to offer for their great stay should be an easy and seamless road. A road with no unknowns and unwanted toll fees!
A big THANK YOU to Lisa and Mark Kolb, Acorn Internet Services, Rob Fulton, CEO of AIHP and Kris Ullmer, CEO of PAII for working together on the survey and helping to promote and support this important movement.
Thanks for Listening,