Are you wondering how to increase direct bookings and your property’s bottom line? If so, the billboard effect may be able to help you.
This hospitality industry term is helping campgrounds, marinas, and RV parks increase direct bookings and reach a larger audience. Below, we’ll define this term and discuss how it can improve your outdoor property:
What Is the Billboard Effect?
The billboard effect occurs when you share listings for your property on online travel agencies (OTAs) and it leads to an increase in your direct bookings. By seeing your business promoted in multiple places, guests are more likely to come to your website to check out your property for themselves.
How Does It Work?
When guests have more exposure to your property, they’re more likely to be interested in visiting your website and making a reservation. An estimated 65% of guests who directly book a stay at your property have already visited an OTA — with 18% of them visiting an OTA the same day they book.
Essentially, the more you promote your campground or RV park to your audience, the more likely they are to become familiar with your property and choose your business over the competition when making their reservation.
How Can You Increase Direct Bookings at Your Property With the Billboard Effect?
Make Sure You Have a Book Now Functionality
When users come from OTAs to your website, make sure you encourage them to book right away with a “book now” functionality, such as a button on your website pages.
In addition, you need to make sure your website provides a great user experience. This can be done by:
- Making your website mobile-friendly. Make sure mobile users can successfully view all of the content available on your website.
- Optimizing your website. Compress images and frequently test your site speed to make sure your site loads quickly.
- Ensuring your website is easy to navigate. Include readable fonts, easily available information, and other accessibility considerations.
With easily accessible information and engaging content, your website will encourage visitors to book directly with you instead of going through an OTA, saving you time from OTA management and money from OTA booking fees.
Reward Guests Who Directly Book on Your Website
In order to motivate guests to directly book on your website, you can offer them perks that aren’t available on OTAs.
For example, you can offer your visitors free breakfast or WiFi during their stay. By paying these lesser costs rather than the commission fees on OTA platforms, your business still has the opportunity to save money.
In addition, you can make sure to offer guests the best rate on your direct website. People often assume that online travel agency bookings always have the best prices and look there first. By using a lowest-rate or price-match guarantee for direct reservations, you can incentivise guests with the lowest price possible.
Choose the Right OTA Platforms To List Your Property
While it may seem like sharing listings on as many OTAs as possible is the only way to reach your target audience, this strategy can waste time and money for your business.
Consider these questions before you choose an OTA:
- Are properties similar to mine having success on this platform?
- Is my audience looking for campgrounds, marinas, and RV parks on this OTA?
- What is the commission rate for this OTA? In other words, does the return on investment (ROI) make this OTA worth it?
Once you find the right audience on the right platforms, you can use the billboard effect to its full potential and gain direct bookings.
In addition, you’ll want to make sure you’re using the right reservation management system to help manage your OTAs, update pricing, maximize your bookings, and more.
Want More Ways To Increase Bookings at Your Property?
While the billboard effect is a great way to increase bookings at your property, it’s not the only way.
Operational excellence is one of the most important ways to increase bookings, as it helps improve the guest experience. It has a number of additional benefits, including:
Take your outdoor property to the next level with operational excellence. Download our guide to learn more and improve your property today!