As travel comes back in full force, everyone is trying to claim their slice of the pie. So it’s no wonder you are running into price disparities between your hotel’s rates and those available on OTAs (online travel agencies) and metasearch engines. They’re inevitable, and as a savvy hotelier, you’ve got two options: accept them, or take action. In this article, you’ll find actionable tactics you can use to fight price disparities and boost your direct reservations.
Impossible to Avoid, Easy to Combat
Controlling the price of your rooms is a vital part of growing your direct channel. If travelers can find lower rates for your hotel on other sites than your own website, they will leave your website to book elsewhere. Luckily, when faced with this scenario, you don’t have to sit back and accept it. Let’s take a closer look at some simple steps you can take that will make a real difference.
3 Steps to Fight Price Disparities on Your Hotel Website
Below, you’ll learn in 3 steps how to fight price disparity on your hotel website and boost your direct reservations.
1. Benchmark, Benchmark, Benchmark
To take back control, you first must understand your hotel brand’s performance. Endeavor to offer visitors the best possible rate by using one of the tracking tools available on the market to identify the price disparities your guests are finding online, both on OTAs and metasearch engines.
Take it one step further and benchmark against the market and competition. See where your hotel is underperforming and identify areas to improve by comparing your performance in disparity frequency and amount to multiple compsets. It’s always worth taking a deep dive into the analytics – for example, drilling down on specific markets or taking a more thorough look at booking types and what that means in terms of your hotel’s disparities.
These competitive insights will help you understand patterns and give you a clear action plan of where to counterattack.
2. Take action
Now that you know where your hotel stands against your competitors, you must explore what’s happening in terms of your prices.
If an OTA is undercutting your rates, you should reach out and see if they’re affecting your parity clause. Using a tool that automatically provides screenshots of the disparity can be particularly useful when negotiating with third parties. In the meantime, provide potential guests with an offer to match to stop them from booking a cheaper rate elsewhere.
With a price matching tool, you can do this in real time, effectively combating any rate that could tempt users away from your website. Such a tool detects when a user search generates an undercut rate, and automatically shows them an offer to match it. The discount is automatically applied within the booking engine with just one click on the special offer link.
If you find that OTAs are not undercutting your rates, then it’s all about letting your website visitors know. Showcase a pricing widget to reassure users that you are offering the best available rate, so they don’t go to other sites to compare prices. You should also include direct booking benefits to give them an extra reason to book directly with you. The key here is to highlight your unique selling points and demonstrate to your visitors that booking directly is the best way to go.
3. Get Personal
Online, it’s easy to feel like just another fish in the sea. But when it comes to driving direct bookings, you’ve got to know your website visitors and give them what they are looking for. And here is when personalization comes in.
A great way to personalize the online user experience is to be inviting. For example, when displaying the price your hotel has to offer, show users a small but effective message inviting them to register as a member of your brand in exchange for an exclusive discounted rate. Not only does this entice the booker to convert directly to your website, but it’s also a fantastic way to collect contact information and grow your guest database for future marketing activities.
So there you have it, three key components of a powerful online strategy to combat price disparities on your hotel website and drive more direct bookings. If there’s one thing you should remember, disparity will always exist, so it’s all about how you respond and react.
Free Checklist: The Ultimate Hotel Benchmarking Checklist
It is not always easy to understand your hotel’s direct channel performance. Even the most seasoned hotelier may be unclear about examining the findings to discover where to make changes appropriately. With the “The Ultimate Hotel Benchmarking Checklist”, you’ll learn how to step up your direct channel strategy by using data insights to take action where it most matters.
Click here to download the “The Ultimate Hotel Benchmarking Checklist”.