With changes happening within the online-travel-agency space, such as consolidation, it's more important than ever for independent hoteliers to have a sound distribution strategy that focuses on direct bookings.
One way to boost direct business is by providing an incentive to returning guests. For example, at the Castle Hotel & Spa in Tarrytown, New York, repeat guests who previously booked through an OTA will receive 15% off their next stay if they book direct, said Joseph Howley, rooms division manager and spa operations manager of the 31-room hotel.
At the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans, 95% of total bookings are direct bookings, according to Thea Wall, director of revenue management and business development. Of those direct bookings, 25% comes from group business, she added.
“We focus heavily on our repeat guests,” Wall said, adding that there are two ways guests can get discounts for their loyalty: participating in the hotel’s contests on social media or by being a part of Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ iPrefer program, a points-based loyalty reward program for independent hotels within Preferred’s system.
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