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September 21, 2022
Maximizing bookings at your campground(s) is no easy task, but with the right reservation software and tools, you’ll be able to boost your occupancy. Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) can be a great solution to increase your reservations. But … how can you boost your direct bookings to avoid unnecessary fees? Read on to learn how robust campground reservation software can help.
Whether you love them or not, OTAs — like Booking.com, Travelocity, and Expedia — have carved an important place in the travel industry, and many campers flock to those sites to start planning their reservation. OTAs definitely fill a niche and offer features that are valuable for travelers, but at the end of the day, the bookings you gain through them cost you — literally. You pay a commission every time someone books a campsite, RV space, or slip at your outdoor property through those channels. As the costs add up, it affects your bottom line.
Guess what? You have the power to lessen the frequency of those fees. And it’s a pretty obvious solution: Boost your direct booking numbers. We know, it’s not as easy as it sounds. You can’t simply snap your fingers and change the booking habits of millions of people. But with a few incentives and marketing strategies in tow, you can win over enough to make a difference.
Within the right reservation system, you can take advantage of personalization and automated communication tools to ensure every guest has the best visit that is tailored to their needs. For example, you can use personalized emails to send out pre/post-arrival messages. These messages may include information about a loyalty program, extended stay discounts, and more, to increase your direct bookings in the future.
Additionally, use marketing tools, if applicable, to send promotional offers to customers in your database that include a direct link to your website’s booking page. These emails can be automated so that you can schedule them to be sent at specific times for your convenience.
Dynamic pricing is one of the channel management solutions that can work for you — whether you have one property or multiple properties. With dynamic pricing, you can automate your reservation rates so that they adjust in real-time to match your preset guidelines across all channels. Your rates can adjust based on the season, holidays, current occupancy rate, and promotional discounts. When you advertise on your social media channels, you can link to your real-time booking information to increase your direct bookings.
OTAs provide more than adequate customer service in general, but the fact is — their assistance is limited by the simple fact that they don’t have intimate knowledge of your facility and offerings. Your trained staff, however, does. Let your potential guests know how advantageous direct booking can be to their customer experience. With SMS messaging, live chat, and the right integrations, your team can address customers' needs with the utmost confidence.
This is particularly useful when it comes to distinctive inquiries, such as pet-friendly policies and accommodations, potential reservation upgrade details, special requests, or information about local attractions. OTAs simply don’t have access to the subtleties of your business — make the most of that.
A lot of OTAs, such as TripAdvisor, have advertisement space right on their results pages. That prime spot can be a gift for your business. Tempt prospective campers with clickable promotional ads offering incentives like “Free WiFi When You Book Now” or “Deals and Specials Available Only at [your website].”
If you give OTA page visitors a reason to click through to your site, you can see results — and track them — using a reporting feature of your reservation system. You can use this tool to see how your marketing efforts are paying off and to make informed decisions about future marketing strategies that will maximize direct bookings.
All-in-one reservation software for campgrounds can streamline your day-to-day operations, enhance the guest experience, and increase your bookings — all from the same platform. Take advantage of the features available within your system to boost your direct bookings.
Want to learn more about achieving operational excellence with campground reservation software? Download your free Operational Excellence Guide to get started.