The sun will soon set on beautiful Barcelona and, sadly, on this year’s Direct Booking Summit series. But what a series it has been! We’ve had fiery debates on wholesalers, explosive stats on emails, the latest on loyalty and much, much more. Thank you to everyone who came along to share wisdom, raise questions and help us move the Direct Booking Movement forward.
We’re assembling everything we learned over the last two days in Spain and at September’s sister event in New York into a juicy report that you can get your hands on next month.
For now, we’ve got the highlights from day two of the European edition of the Direct Booking Summit. Despite last night’s epic party (and after-party and after-after-party!), our hoteliers had plenty of energy left to make sure the event went out with a bang. Here are today’s best bits:
Rethink your marketing
Did you know that marketing is often appealing to a measly 20% of the brain? That’s what we heard from Dr Simon Moore and his team at Innovation Bubble this morning. Talking facts and figures gets noticed by the conscious mind, but won’t make waves in the other 80% of the brain. And, as soon as you mention price, customers stress levels increase, decision-making becomes restricted and they’re less open to new experiences.
Doing research will help you get your marketing right, but it has to be the right type of research. There is a gap between what people say in surveys and what they really think, Simon explained. “People are not always aware of what they want. We need to dig below that and get to a psychological level.”
Top priority = retargeting
Sojern joined us today to talk about the hotel guest’s path to purchase. Its a complex one; 92% of first-time visitors to websites do not intend to buy. However, the various stages of the journey bring with them some opportunities. Sojern said having a retargeting strategy — advertising to consumers based on their past internet actions — is a must. It will help you capture the attention of the “middle-funnel planner”, a traveller who knows where they want to go but is bouncing from website to website trying to put together an itinerary.
Sojern also offered a reminder of the might of the OTAs. They spend $8 billion on Google Ad Words and Priceline and Expedia are predicted to control 94% of all online hotel bookings by 2020.
Messaging — it’s going to be huge!
Our own Chief Tease Charlie Osmond made a strong case for messaging. The world is going that way anyway — messaging apps are growing faster than social apps and the function is being built into search engine results — but it could be a massive opportunity. It will do what OTAs can’t and offer your guests a human experience, even when they are online.
Charlie explained: “You don’t have to just be responsive, you can actually build a relationship before your guests even arrive.”
If you're worried about having the resources to manage it, Charlie believes technology can help. “AI-supported chat makes humanity scalable,” he told the audience.
That’s it for now, but rest assured there will much more from the summits coming on our blog, as well as in our big report. But if that doesn’t banish your post-Summit blues, you can already pre-register for next year’s event. Just email HQ@directbookingsummit.com to let us know you’d like to be there. This year will be hard to beat but we will try our hardest to outdo it!