Friday 7 December 2012

Best Book Direct - Guaranteed Best Rate. Own it!

Guaranteed Best Rate. You Control It... So Make It YOURS

Guaranteed Best Rate or Best Available Rate is the most misused and arguably most lethal weapon used against accommodation businesses across the world. But need it be? Not in our opinion. The principle behind Best Available Rate is clear; it is used by the OTA's to "assure" their customers that they don't need to go anywhere else. You need to do EXACTLY the same.

Guaranteed Best Rate. The most misused and arguably most lethal weapon used against accommodation businesses across the world. But need it be? Not in our opinion. The principle behind Best Available Rate is clear; it is used by the OTA's to "assure" their customers that they don't need to go anywhere else. You need to do EXACTLY the same.

We've already highlighted earlier this week how you can ensure that your webpages can promote your own Best Rate Book Direct Statement but what you can learn from is how the chain hotels have developed their own strategies to counter the third party bookings. Perhaps ironic as they are perhaps culpable for providing so many rooms at rock bottom prices in the first instance to fuel the OTA bonfire of room revenues but that’s historic.

If you do search for a chain hotel near you, you will notice the difference in searching for your own business name.

Quickly try searching for Ramada Inverness or Hilton Dundee or Macdonald Aviemore or Sheraton Edinburgh.

No adwords campaign on their names (destination maybe but no brand names) and they will have their own adwords campaign running invariably pushing a best rate guarantee.

Fair? We don’t think so and that’s why Best Book Direct is about more than just a few blog articles; it must be about changing the attitudes of both the consumer and the accommodation owner.

Anyway, we’ll look next week at whether you can get the OTA’s to stop bidding for your name and why you should set up your own Google Adwords campaign to protect your business name (however small you are) but for today it’s YOUR Best Available Rate or Best Rate Guarantee that needs sanctioned.

And here you can learn from the big boys and act. We are suggesting that you look at your room rate policy and absolutely enshrine a best available rate by booking direct guarantee into your 2013 plan.
No ifs, no buts, just a straightforward and clear promise with no strings attached that the customer will receive the very best rate if they BOOK DIRECT. By phone or by email you’ll match any available price online, online you’ll ensure more rooms and the best price through your own website booking engine.

The best example we've found is Holiday Inns. Are you in any doubt where you would book? No. It’s clear and not only clear that it’s the best price but they are emphasising added value with their Advantages programme.

What do they offer?
  • A Guaranteed Room
  • Rewards Program
  • Secure Transactions
  • Any Room, Any Price, Any Time – 
  • No Booking Fees
  • Information guarantee
Why would any accommodation business not do the same. Your director customer is your most important customer  and you need to make sure they know it in the same way that Holiday Inn, Hilton or Ramada do

Out of the above you may not be able to offer a Rewards Programme (although Bookassist web booking engine users can see below) but you can certainly emphasise the rest.

What else could you guarantee?

Room Upgrades to direct bookings? Discounted or complimentary add ons for direct bookings? Simple things like adding a FREE morning newspaper to your online booking add ons? How impressed will the guest be? Exclusive next stay discount voucher for direct bookings?

It is your business and you know your guest and there must be advantages that you can offer to increase your direct business.

So what we’re suggesting is that you create a policy. Nothing too fancy and ensure that you explain it everywhere you can

Things to Do today

  • Write a Guaranteed Best rate promise to your customer
  • Create an online page linked from your Homepage and your outgoing emails
  • Create a single A4 sheet for room packs
  • Create an A4 PDF to attach to all enquiries
  • Create a QR Code linking directly to your guarantee and put that on your print and sales materials
  • Ensure all staff know what your Best Rate Guarantee is and ensure that any unconverted telephone calls end with the confirmation that our best rates and availability are guaranteed on the website.
Again this is not rocket science. Ten bullets points, maybe even less to ensure that you have not only levelled the playing field but have got wind advantage. Surely it’s worth the time to reduce those cost of sales.

Downloads, Links and Reference

The Best Book Direct Series is being produced in conjunction with the on-line marketing team at Plan B and the award winning Bookassist Booking Engine
Email or call 01292 521404.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

All great stuff. However the problem is when one of the bully boys at the 'Price Comparison team' of these online bookers phone you up and say if you offer your own ' Best Rate' they will automatically take your listing off their site. When over 70% of your bookings are coming via these third parties this is a major risk. We have come across this several times this year.