Here's A Promise To Increase Direct Bookings For Small Properties

What’s in it for me?

If you’re a small property struggling to extract direct bookings to maximize your revenue and boost occupancy, this article is wholeheartedly for you! Learn how to drive sales, boost marketing campaigns, design a fabulous website and aid your guests at different stages of the guest journey. 

Direct bookings for small properties are crucial

Hospitality businesses expect a steady stream of revenue when it comes to direct bookings. Direct bookings for small properties are ideally the best way to drive the business and can be regarded as a powerful force in the reduction of customer acquisition costs while improving profitability simultaneously. 

Due to the vast market size along with the share of third-party and direct booking websites, it has become increasingly important for hoteliers to try and work towards the maintenance of the perfect balance between direct bookings and OTA bookings. 

The role of OTAs to get more bookings can’t be outrightly denied. However, increasing direct bookings is simply better as it helps in minimizing the OTA intermediation cost. Since such properties can’t afford to market themselves on a large and global scale like major booking websites, that still doesn’t necessarily mean that one should give up on their efforts altogether for increasing direct bookings. After all, even 10% saved is 10% earned! 

A Comparative Analysis Between Direct Hotel Bookings, OTAs, And Metasearch 

Direct bookings vs OTAs vs Metasearch engines

Compared to their larger and more resourceful counterparts, direct bookings for small properties are perhaps more important. Part of creating a winning distribution strategy is anticipating the expectations of your guests and selecting the best possible strategy. 

Each source of booking comprises its unique set of challenges and advantages. Hence, the differences between the three sources of bookings are surely going to come in handy while developing your property’s strategy of distribution. 

What Is A Direct Booking? 

Direct bookings can be regarded as reservations that are being confirmed by guests directly with the property or hotel, without taking the help of any third-party booking platforms or OTAs. Direct bookings are usually made on the websites of the hotel over email/phone, or by walk-in. The most important benefit of direct bookings for small properties is that they connect such hotels/properties with their guests/customers directly and, in turn, help save money on distribution commissions. 

What Is OTA Booking?

OTAs are hugely popular and are widely used by travelers and guests worldwide. The majority of OTA bookings are usually accompanied by a commission fee. This means that guests create their reservations and process their payments via the OTA website, and the OTAs keep a negotiated commission per booking before distributing the remaining amount to hotels.

What Is Metasearch Booking? 

Metasearch websites such as Trivago, TripAdvisor , and Kayak provide their consumers with the opportunity to compare hotel prices across various websites. Contrary to the OTAs, metasearch is primarily based on a non-commission model, instead, you apparently pay a cost per click (CPC). A budget can be set by you for the amount of money you are willing to bid for every click. In addition, you can adjust bids accordingly to optimize the overall strategy. 

Insight Into The Key Factors For Increasing Direct Bookings For Small Properties 

how to gain more direct bookings for small properties

Prior to driving up direct bookings for your property, it is important to understand the direct booking model meaning and the motivational factors that contribute to the decision-making of guests behind booking a property. 

The various factors influencing the booking decisions of guests can be categorized into the following points: 

  • Expectations vary from guest to guest: It is important to keep in mind that depending on the purpose and nature of their visit, guests’ expectations might vary. Understanding and acing guest experience is central to achieving success in the hospitality sector and can be regarded as especially significant for smaller properties with limited resources.

Hence, to increase direct bookings for small properties, it is paramount to anticipate the purpose of the visit and serve accordingly. For example, families emphasize having a good time with proximity of the location to the nearby tourist attractions along with in-room amenities.

  • The simple booking process and streamlined channel: A well-organized and highly functioning booking system is what guests need when booking directly. Having an up-to-date website that facilitates booking through a simple procedure without many diversions and redirecting to multiple channels is ideal for guests. Not to forget, the instant responses to their pre-booking queries!

  • A unique rewards program can be your USP: A personalized and unique rewards program can make you stand out among your competitors and foster brand loyalty. The increased popularity amongst guests for reward programs has resulted in businesses offering such programs to attract guests and drive up direct bookings for small properties. 

  • Better rates: Hotels often offer better rates for the same room while booking directly. In addition, special perks and discounts could be added to the package which can be an exulting feeling for the guests.

  • A strong social media presence can help you attract guests: It has become almost an integral part of any business to have strong social media presence and, in turn, create a positive impression among their audience. This also offers the opportunity to interact with probable guests directly and. in turn, amplify direct bookings for small properties. 

Showcasing ample social proof and substantiating the reviews with stellar and appropriate management responses can further help improve guests’ impression.

Importance Of Direct Bookings For Small Properties

direct booking benefits for small properties

Direct booking campaigns have been at the center of the marketing of hotels for some time. Small vacation rentals continue to push guests to book directly with them and it primarily stems from the underlying efforts to forge stronger bonds with the guests and reduce the amount of money paid as commission to third parties. Moreover, the limitation of resources significantly amplifies the significance of direct bookings for small properties. 

While websites like and TripAdvisor get millions of visits on a monthly basis, two-thirds of online travel booking sales are made directly from the hotel’s own website. Approximately 80% of all digital travel sales occur online, and 60% of people say their digital travel booking is their most expensive online purchase. In addition, an indication of booking trends states that 12% of travelers think booking websites should provide a much faster and frictionless experience than booking directly on hotel websites. Therefore, the significance of direct booking vacation rentals or smaller hotels has become significantly important over the years. 

The Benefits Of Direct Bookings For Small-Sized Properties

  1. Better deals
  2. No confusion regarding the reservations
  3. Flexible/free cancellations
  4. Vouchers and discount offers
  5. Ability to make special requests
  6. Free upgrades and a better package
  7. Additional facilities (free WiFi, late check-in, airport transfer, breakfast, etc.)
  8. More personalized treatment

Maximizing Direct Bookings For Small Properties

maximize direct bookings for small properties

The hospitality industry suffered huge losses during COVID with a huge drop in the overall amount of small hotels direct bookings and hotel occupancy rates. OTAs are still stronger than most small and independent properties due to their resources and expertise. 

As you are keen to increase direct bookings, it is important to keep in mind that the impact of even the smallest of improvements tends to pay dividends over the years and not overnight. Even a mere 1% increase is worth celebrating. The idea is to gradually decrease your reliance on metasearch, OTAs, and third-party sources of bookings that charge a hefty commission. 

Hence, let us, deep dive, into exploring the various ways that you can capitalize on to increase direct bookings for your small property:

  • Website optimization: While a sound pricing strategy is ideal for any business, to take more direct bookings maximum effort is required. It is important to remember that the first point of contact between guests and the hotel is the hotel website. Hence, your efforts must initiate from there.

You must go the extra mile to make it eye-catching, user-friendly, and SEO- friendly. Showcasing the right content with an aesthetically appealing yet simple design and providing ease of access in terms of navigation is a must. Most importantly, it should be mobile-friendly. You must ensure a modern and seamless experience for visitors to further encourage them to book with you and drive up direct bookings for small properties. 

  • Incorporating the best booking engine: Integrating and incorporating a booking engine can be regarded as the ideal way to book directly the reservations for your property. It is surely going to help the guests book a room instantaneously and receive an instant confirmation. This helps in improving your credibility among potential guests and lays the foundation for a great guest experience. Ideally, the booking engine must be mobile-optimized, fast, and simple. 

  • Simplification of the booking process: A simple and hassle-free booking experience can help create a great first impression and in turn, increase direct bookings for small properties. The last thing you want is for your guests to abandon the booking process mid-way because of friction. Having an AI-powered WebChat on the website can help answer a lot of queries and questions related to booking almost instantly, thereby simplifying the whole process even further.

  • Offering guests the best price guarantee: Reinforcing the message that booking directly with your property is in fact beneficial to your guest should be prioritized. A strong pricing strategy can surely increase direct bookings. Along with ensuring the ‘Best Price Guaranteed’ on your website, you could depict the OTA rates next to your pricing with a widget comparing pricing encouraging your guests to book with your property directly. 

guest journey for small properties
  • Providing a personalized user experience: During the research phase of choosing a hotel or looking for accommodation, a user usually visits multiple websites of hotels prior to selecting and booking. Hence, a website that primarily stands out and welcomes every user in a personalized and unique way becomes integral in enticing website visitors and potential guests down the booking funnel. 

In order to drive up direct bookings for small properties, personalization is the key. Personalization the user experience for every visitor coupled with a strong messaging system and offers can help you tilt the scale in your favor. 

  • Building a powerful customer database: Even if you don’t invest with too many tools, capturing your guests’ email at check-in or check-out can be a great way of building an excellent customer database. Having these details makes it easier to send them the best deals, discounted offers, and promotional emails. Here’s where a cloud-based booking engine works wonders helping you capture guest information at its best to host them in a more personalized way during their future visits.

  • Stay up-to-date on social platforms: Keeping your social media thriving with all information and substantial social proof is a way of making guests aware of your property more and more. This is one of the ways of encouraging them to book directly with you. In fact, this can also boost the rate of repeat customers who will be attracted to book with you again if you showcase a certain improvement you have introduced with regard to a problem area in the past. 

  • Growing presence on Metasearch engines: According to Trivago, over 50% of travelers use metasearch engines to find the ideal hotel. In the coming years, this trend is only expected to grow exponentially. Metasearch engines enable travelers to make informed decisions and in turn, increase direct bookings for small properties. It provides guests with the opportunity to conduct informative searches about hotel bookings. It also helps them to do a comparative analysis of the prices of the various sources of bookings.

Getting your property listed on metasearch engines while keeping a check on pricing encourages potential guests to book with you directly. It is advisable to promote the rates offered by you directly. 

  • Rewarding loyalty programs: A unique and rewarding loyalty program can surely help in increasing direct bookings for small properties. The entire content strategy must emphasize making guests aware of the benefits of booking directly. Lucrative offers, discount vouchers, and other perks should be incorporated into your strategy. It is recommended to have an exciting loyalty program to increase the rate of direct bookings. For example, you can offer 10% to 15% discounts when guests book directly with you the next time.

  • Ask for guest feedback: 93% of global travelers say their booking decisions are impacted by online reviews. This means that you need to keep collecting feedback from your guests to ensure that the prospects are interested in booking with you by knowing more about you. Make the review-writing process easier with tools like guest messaging and proactively ask for guest feedback. Online review sites help in promoting your brand extensively. So, make sure that you are active on all these sites. Messaging campaigns with emails can also prove to be a boon in this case.


The hospitality industry has always been a highly-competitive one with the majority of the pie being shared among the few large hotels. Coupled with the pandemic for the past couple of years, smaller properties such as vacation rentals and B&Bs have struggled to survive. Rising operational costs along with higher commission rates of third-party sources of bookings have made it difficult for hoteliers to achieve success and to drive up direct bookings for small properties. 

Hence, if you are wondering how to reduce commission and avail the plethora of advantages that one stands to derive from direct bookings, you must carve out strategies for yourself that are best suited to your needs and demands. Direct booking strategies outlined above are surely going to improve your bookings and, in turn, the rate of occupancy at properties if incorporated into your distribution strategy. 

With GuestTouch, Drive Sales With A Website Well-Designed And Optimized To Boost Revenue And Increase Occupancy

well-optimized website for direct bookings for small properties

Your website is your lowest-cost online channel and first point of contact for booking direct. If your website does not offer the best-optimized experience on various devices, customers will just book elsewhere!

  • Engage your website visitors with AI-powered WebChat
  • Drive sales with enhanced visibility
  • Showcase the best and fresh reviews from trusted sources
  • Connect with the booking engine of your choice
  • Make your website inclusive with an ADA widget

And So Much more!

Need Help ?
Talk to our Experts to supercharge your Pre-Arrival experience

Schedule Now
Posted on
November 3, 2022

Talk to our Experts

Get bright ideas and best practices delivered straight to your inbox

Stay up to date! Get all the latest & greatest posts delivered straight to your inbox

Thanks for joining our newsletter.
Oops! Something went wrong.