Hotel Speak was recently invited to attend the Direct Booking Summit EMEA in Berlin, organised by the team at Triptease. A 2-day packed agenda centred around an underlying theme – driving more direct bookings with fewer resources.
The learnings were plentiful and it was fantastic to see hoteliers back to engaging in deep debate and industry problem solving, coming together to help tackle the challenges we collectively face over the coming months.
Although challenging to pick, we’ve summarised 3 key insights from Direct Booking Summit Berlin below.
1. An A-to-Z of A/B Testing
Eduardo Barea, Conversion Optimization Manager at NH Hotel Group shared ‘tips to run successful A/B tests and personalisation’ – incredibly insightful learnings from running multiple conversion tests for the Spanish multinational group.
Some distilled highlights included;
- Wait for it – early results can really skew your understanding. Wait until you have reached a point of statistical significance before making lasting changes to your digital strategy or website.
- Always be hypothesis driven – start with an idea of what you’d like to test and what you anticipate the results might be. Don’t just change something on a whim, plan ahead.
- Be ready to fail – Eduardo was quick to note that ‘failure is always the best way to learn’. He shared an example where showing users a financial saving online (-10%) for member only rates actually encouraged users to book more standard rates – perhaps because of the perceived investment of time/data in signing up for a member rate.
- Never give up and look beyond the initial test goal – yes, your test may have resulted in a net conversion rate uplift for your website, but how has it affected other metrics? It’s vital to look beyond the experiment (and an individual metric) to truly understand how it’s affected your overall business objectives.
- Adapt to changes – if there’s one thing hotelier’s have had to learn the hard way during the last 2-3 years, it’s this. Eduardo shared how NH Hotels adapted their offering to reassure guests on the flexibility of their booking, even suggesting a flexible rate to those looking to book a locked-in rate.
2. Find New Ways to Leverage your CRM
Travis Cabrera, Regional Director for Revinate, spoke about ‘how to bank on guest data to achieve engaged guests and high value bookings’. He shared fantastic examples showcasing the importance of strong email marketing campaigns, fuelled by reliable data and powered by a well-structured CRM. Absolutely vital as we approach a ‘first-party future‘.
Also noted was that automated emails have, on average, 270% higher open rates than one-time emails. The message here was clear; automate where you can.
He also spoke of the importance of using email marketing and automation to help with the current staffing shortage facing hospitality. Leveraging online-only special offers can help to reduce the volume of calls a reservation team receives, easing pressure on that area of your business.
3. Hotel parity trends in Europe
Triptease‘s own Charlie Osmond and Andrew Williamson shared some fascinating research on the ongoing rate parity challenges facing hoteliers in Europe;
- OTAs have the best price on metasearch in Europe around 35% of the time.
- The rate by which your hotel can be undercut varies significantly dependent on a number of factors including the OTA undercutting you, the country you’re operating in, the length of stay and the lead time to booking.
- Surprisingly, Booking.com wasn’t the top performing (in terms of price) OTA in Europe – coming in 2nd to Trip.com
We’re sure that Triptease will be publishing more about this (and other content from the event) in the coming weeks, so stay tuned to their content hub for more.
Missed out on Direct Booking Summit EMEA?
Stay updated on the Direct Booking Summit Americas and Bangkok (November 16th – 17th) events on the Direct Booking Summit website.