We've been asking hoteliers what's on their minds at the moment and the results are pretty interesting...
Todd Orlich, General Manager, Montage Beverly Hills
What sets Montage Hotels apart from its competition? Getting to know guests on a personal level.
It's true that personalisation is important to many hotels, but at Montage they're seen as directly related to direct bookings:
A truly personalised stay also leads to more direct bookings; in fact, Todd explains 'our expectation is that we get to know guests so well that next time they come back and book direct' .
And in their turn, direct bookings mean chatting to and getting to know guests better over the booking process (plus reduced transaction fees!)
Mohamed Bouchaab, Market Analyst, Shaza Hotels
Direct bookings are one of Shaza Hotels' main goals this year. Mohammed describes a real industry problem of 'OTAs taking over bookings' which the hotels are pushing back against. Most of the changes, he explains, revolve around the website, which must tell a story, spread an idea, reach guests and convince them to check out all the exciting facilities and experiences on offer All in all, to try to convince them to book direct.
Sharon Chin, Director of Sales and Marketing, Holiday Villa Doha
"Say what you like, price war is there."
Sharon ruminates on techniques for driving direct bookings, from reducing rates (not ideal) through to adding value. This last can come in countless forms, such as free airport transfers, free spa entry, free meals, late check out or early check in. (More on guests' attitudes to bookings direct and value add items here)
When it comes to direct bookers, Sharon comments that the large amount of corporate business in Doha has a positive effect, but that holiday-makers tend to be less well educated about the benefits of booking direct. That said, a trend is developing: "the market is changing and this year it seems to be more direct bookings."
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