3 Tips to keep direct bookings running

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Claudiu Simina

April 10, 2015

Most of the stories happen based on an experience that makes you rethink the booking policies and your internal and external communication.

While traveling on an exotic island, I asked to talk with the booking manager to see if staying more nights I will be getting a better deal and at the same time to learn about his online distribution possibilities. Upon several request, I was told that he was not available and will no be coming. When I mentioned that I can get a better deal online, the guy from reception told me to go to Agoda and book from there directly as he can not provide a better rate than online. Really?

What to do in order to avoid this situation? First train your staff for this eventual conversations. Never and never let them say you better book online if you are not satisfied with the on site rate, because the property pays commission for each booking. The best of cases just 15%. This means that if the room costs 36 euros, the hotel loses 5.4eur.

Even when a discount is not possible for direct bookings, reception should be trained to offer value and make the utmost effort to keep the tourist that will come back one day or at least will recommend the property to family and friends. Practical 3 tips you can offer if you are an owner and want to train your staff:

1. Late check-out, we are on holidays and want to sleep longer or even to have a walk in town during the morning and check out later than usual. This is an added value.

2. Laundry services, some facilities have in house laundry or have a neighbor shop that washes clothes for 1-2 euros. So, your client will appreciate it and will always remember the nice smell.

3. Luggage storage, it can be offered as an extra free of charge so that he does not have to carry his heavy stuff around when relocating or even waiting for a late bus or flight.

You have seen 3 tips that would help in keeping new clients and even make usual clients more welcomed and happy with the services provided by your property. What I suggest is to be present in more than 2 booking websites and always this about ways to add value to your property for your clients, and manage it all with the help of an online gate/channel manager that will allow you more time to be creative and find more than 3 tips that I just listed.

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