Independent Hotels: An Action Plan to Win the Direct Booking

With the explosion of the “digital way of life,” the
traveler’s customer journey has become increasingly complex,
which necessitates independent hoteliers to rethink and overhaul
their marketing and technology stack strategies and investments.
Today’s online travel consumer is exposed to more than 38,983
micro-moments in any 60-day timeframe. During this timeframe, they
visit an average of 18 websites using multiple devices across eight
sessions before making a hotel booking (Google Research).

Google defines this customer journey as a fluid series of
interconnected stages:  Dreaming, Planning, Booking, Experiencing
and Sharing Phases, in which every phase both influences and is
being influenced by the other steps of the journey.

The OTAs have been investing heavily in digital marketing
initiatives and technology solutions to engage the traveler
throughout the customer journey, acquire them as OTA customers, and
keep them engaged throughout their lifetimes. As a result, the OTAs
have de facto monopolized the guest relationships and left
independent hoteliers in a tough position.

This investment by the OTAs is rewarding them well: over the
past 6 years, the OTAs have increased their market share by over
40% at the expense of the hotel direct channel.

What should independent hoteliers do to reassert themselves in the
customer journey to get in front of travel consumers and win the
direct booking?

To begin with, independent hoteliers must understand that
digital marketing consists of three distinct, but interconnected
and interdependent categories: Guest Engagement Marketing, Guest
Acquisition Marketing and Guest Retention Marketing. Second,
independents must “play” in all of these three categories –
not in one or two, but in all three categories.

Only and only then they will be able to re-establish a
relationship with the digitally-savvy customer in all phases of the
customer journey: Dreaming, Planning, Booking, Experiencing and
Sharing and win the direct booking, resulting in decreased OTA
dependency and lower distribution costs.

Continuing reading the full article by downloading the Hotel
Yearbook Special Edition – Digital Marketing 2020.

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Hotels: An Action Plan to Win the Direct Booking
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Source: FS – All – Hotels – News
Independent Hotels: An Action Plan to Win the Direct Booking