In today’s competitive hospitality industry, establishment owners are struggling to get direct bookings with online travel agencies (OTAs) taking such a large chunk of their business. Establishments – especially small establishments – need to have a multichannel digital marketing strategy to reduce heavy reliance on the OTAs.

There are various channels for establishments to sell their rooms. However, an establishment’s own website and booking engine provide the greatest control over its brand positioning, image, rate, and margins.

1. Always provide the Best Available Rate on your site

The best prices available online should be on the hotel site – not on the OTAs site. Allowing other sites to provide lower booking rates puts the establishment at a competitive disadvantage.

2. Reward your guests for their Loyalty

Rather than lowering and increasing your prices depending on season or offering huge discounts when the occupancy is low, offering special promotions to returning customers or to other deserving customers on the establishment’s booking engine will increase loyalty and brand perception.

3. Optimize Your Website

The establishment’s website should reflect the experience customers will have when staying there. The website mus also provide easy navigation, engaging photos, and relevant content to increase conversions.

4. Create Backlinks to Your Website

Listing the basic contact information and URL on relevant websites will generate more traffic to your website.

5. Don’t Forget Social Backlinks

Establishments that have interactive pages on social media websites open up a different channel of marketing. Social media allows establishment owners to speak to customers and market special offers at a low cost. The interactive customer service experienced on social media results in consumers feeling appreciated and valued.

6. Leverage a Niche

Many establishments focus strongly on location search results which can be extremely competitive and expensive when using pay per click advertising. Instead, focus on a niche, like free breakfast in the area of other services which makes you unique.

7. Speak to visitors in multiple languages

This will speak to a wider range of people and boost perception of the hotel.

8. Optimize for Mobile Devices

Mobile devices (smart phones and tablets) are here to stay! If websites aren’t optimized for mobile devices, many consumers will abandon the site.

9. Transfer Offline Content to Website

It begins by simply asking your guests what information would have helped prepare for their trips or what could have enhanced their trips. The answers to these questions will give establishments knowledge to use in improving customer service and targeting other travelers through online posts.

10. Do NOT Forget to Label Images Properly

Since many travelers look at a hotel’s website or browse through an image search before booking a room, hoteliers must properly title their images to ensure that the establishment will be seen.