Getting to know the newest, data driven category in the hotel industry
Besides booking engines and online travel agencies a new factor is gaining momentum in the booking industry. By using data and personalization technology, conversion specialists help hoteliers to compete fairly online and have more control over their revenue and profitability.
What do conversion specialists do?
For conversion specialists, the next big step in the industry relies on using smart technology to personalize guest experiences. With a majority of people booking at hotels online, technology has become the ultimate disruptor where hoteliers need to align their strategy to compete fairly with the big guys such as Expedia and Booking.com.
How do they do this? By using smart technology, conversion specialists help hoteliers in creating outstanding customer experiences, building guest relations and engaging the customer from the very beginning of the booking process. Consequently, this improved online experience will lead directly to an increase in loyalty, more direct bookings and a higher direct revenue.
With these factors in mind, the conversion specialists optimize the hotel’s website using smart technology. They implement various tools which will adjust to each customer individually. By offering the customer a personalized booking experience adjusted to their characteristics and preferences, the customer will feel welcome on the website and will easily find the perfect fit for their holiday wishes.
What is the motivation of conversion specialists?
In our online focused world, it is very easy for hotel guests to book online. It is not only possible for customers to book via the hotel directly, but also via an online travel agency.
The dominance of Online Travel Agencies
In the last couple of years the dominance of OTAs in the hospitality industry has become more and more clear. Nowadays, four out of five online bookings go through OTAs, resulting in a high dependency on these platforms for hoteliers.
When the online travel agencies’ dominance keeps on growing, their control over the market continues to increase and they will have even more free play with their commission fees. It is no secret that commission fees of OTAs went up the last couple of years. In fact, in 20 years they increased from 8% to a maximum of 30%, which all adds up to the hotels’ pay roll.
In response to this problem a new category arose: the conversion specialists. With their focus on increasing the number of direct bookings of hotel websites and building guest relations, they saw an opportunity to bring back the balance in the hotel industry.
The opportunity of the billboard effect
An opportunity was recognized in ‘the billboard effect’. The billboard effect is the fact that the majority of people (75%) looking for hotels via OTA’s, also visit the hotel’s own website for more information, with a focus on visual impressions and price. On the hotel’s website the customers can get a better impression of the hotel’s image, ambiance and they can get more extended information.
After the customers have gathered all the information they need, between 97% and 99.5% leave the hotel’s website without completing a booking and they book via an OTA. The OTA websites purely focus on conversion, neglecting the customer experience. Here lies the opportunity for hotels to differentiate themselves from their competition and to retain the audience on their own website.
View from a Champ: “At Hotelchamp we use data and specialized technology in order to optimize direct booking conversions for hotels, while building guest relations. Personalization is very important in this process. We apply this by providing each customer with a unique customer journey adjusted to their characteristics and preferences. By implementing this on the websites of hotels, direct bookings have been shown to increase significantly. Together with the hotels, we can drive back the dominance of the OTA’s and bring back the balance in the industry.”
With the help of this new category, hotels are able to take back the control of their bookings. By using the data and smart personalization technology of conversion specialists, hotels can lower the costs they have on commissions and build better guest relations. The conversion specialists help the hotels to serve their guests as best as they can. After all, isn’t that all that hospitality is about?
Are you interested in increasing your direct bookings by creating your own tools and having a clear overview of your data? Request a demo now!