How Hotels Can Get More Direct Bookings Through Google Business Messages
And save a ton on OTA payouts
Every single time a booking is shifted from an OTA to a Direct Booking, your hotel saves money.
Now you can save a ton of OTA payouts at scale and win from your neighborhood hotels as well. Let’s see how.
Lots of travelers want to check your hotel directly when they identify your property on an OTA. The pandemic has further enhanced this customer behavior.
The most natural action for the traveler wanting to check your hotel is to do a Google Search of the hotel.
If your hotel is integrated with the NEW Google Business Messages, the traveler sees a Message icon along with the listing of your hotel in their Google Search results. Like above.
This message icon is usually displayed by Google more than once, and quite prominently, within the same Search results.
A growing segment of travelers who are searching likewise would tap on the Message icon and this initiates a conversation with your hotel.
When the traveler messages your hotel from Google Search, you get this opportunity to interact with the traveler and Sell Direct. And Upsell upgrades and ancillary services as well.
The traveler may also have been considering other competing hotels in the neighborhood when they choose to interact with your hotel through Google Search and its seamless messaging. In this case also, you get the opportunity to convert the traveler to book with your hotel, instead of them booking with the competition.
Hotel Booking is Winner Takes All. If the traveler books 3 nights with you, you win 100%. If the traveler goes to the neighborhood competition, you lose 100%. Better, you win.
If your hotel can present a superior experience to the traveler, and this superior experience is automated, you can get these conversions from the OTA and from the competition, happening at scale. These conversions will happen 24/7/365.
Your hotel can now successfully counter the twin challenges of (a) aggressive pricing of your own rooms by the OTA along with the hefty 15–28% commission outgo and (b) aggressive pricing by your competitors in the neighborhood.
The traveler can choose to talk to a real person at your hotel any time during an automated conversation. Secondly, the automation transfers control to the hotel representative whenever it determines that the traveler is best served by a human. And thirdly, your representative can take over a conversation any time.
Unlike a live web chat, a hotel representative can respond to the traveler asynchronously. The conversation remains alive and the traveler is notified as and when the hotel representative responds. The traveler is fine as long as expectations are set accordingly and there’s no undue delay in a hotel representative responding.
The traveler can also enjoy a similar experience on popular messaging apps like FB Messenger and WhatsApp. In this case, they initiate a conversation with your hotel directly from these messaging apps. There are several entry points you can create for these interactions as well.