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What are organic bookings for hotels and how to increase them?

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Hoteliers are always on the lookout for ways to increase bookings and attract more guests. However, one avenue that you may not be fully aware of is Google’s free organic booking links and how powerful they can be to help you raise the numbers.

In this blog post, we will delve into the topic of organic booking links, discussing what they are, how they work, and why they are beneficial for your hotel. Let’s discover how you can leverage this powerful tool to boost your bookings!

What are Google’s organic booking links?

In March 2021, the search engine Giant Google introduced organic booking links to help hoteliers connect with potential guests directly through their search results. By providing prices and availability, hotels now can appear in the hotel booking module for free, along with paid hotel ads. Furthermore, Google assured that those who paid for Google Ads will not be prioritized over those who don’t.

According to Google, the primary goal behind this move is to improve users’ travel experiences by showing them a wider range of hotel prices, which will help them choose the best place to stay.

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This allows users to book hotels without needing to visit an intermediary website, such as an online travel agency (OTA). Essentially, Google is providing a direct booking channel on their platform that is entirely free for hoteliers to use.

Why should you utilize Google’s organic booking links?

Organic bookings are highly desirable for several reasons.

1. Increased direct bookings

One of the primary advantages of organic booking links is that they drive direct bookings to your hotel’s website. By eliminating the need for users to visit intermediaries, not only you have a higher chance of converting potential guests into actual bookings but you are also the one interacting in the first place with the visitors and get the chance to use more formats than with OTAs.

2. Cost savings

Unlike paid advertising or commissions paid to OTAs, Google’s organic booking links are entirely free. This means that you can save a significant amount of money on marketing expenses while still attracting direct bookings. Particularly for smaller hotels or independent establishments with limited marketing budgets, this can be a game-changer.

Therefore, your marketing budget can be allocated towards additional activities that will help to keep boosting results.

3. Improved control and ownership of guest data

When users make a reservation through an OTA, the OTAs usually keep the ownership of the guest data. However, with organic booking links, the booking process takes place directly on your hotel’s website, allowing you to retain ownership of the guest data.

Why is this important? Because it gives you more control over your marketing initiatives, enables personalized guest interactions, and facilitates future direct communication. Once guest data enters in your system, you can use your hotel CRM to create personalised campaigns targeted at those guests or activate entire guest journeys.

Read more: How to create a pre-arrival plan that drives engagement with your guests

4. Enhanced brand visibility

By appearing prominently in Google search results, your hotel gains increased visibility and exposure. This exposure helps raise brand awareness and positions your hotel as a viable option for potential guests.

 

5 tips to increase organic direct bookings

Now that we understand the importance of organic bookings, here are five tips on how to increase them.

Optimize your Google My Business profile

To ensure that your hotel is eligible for organic booking links, you need to claim and optimize your Google My Business profile. Make sure all your hotel’s information is accurate, including contact details, website address, and opening hours.

Don’t forget to upload high-quality images and encourage guests to leave reviews. The more complete and up-to-date your GMB profile is, the better chances you have of generating organic booking links.

Aim for high review ratings

User reviews play a vital role in earning the trust of potential guests. Monitoring reviews regularly and responding promptly can positively impact the hotel’s reputation.

Instead of sending traditional emails that guests don’t even open, you can ask for guests’ reviews using other channels like WhatsApp or SMS. You can even use your hospitality CRM to automate this task so your hotel marketing team is not overwhelmed.  In this way, they can easily rank their stay and provide you with their opinions.

If you want to know more about how to collect feedback from your guests post-stay, read this article.

Optimize your website

Your hotel’s website is a powerful tool for generating organic bookings. It serves as your digital storefront and can make a lasting impression on potential guests. Enhancing your website with the right elements can greatly impact your conversion rate.

Since users will be making bookings directly through your hotel’s website, it is crucial to optimize your website and ensure that it is mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, and has a seamless booking process.

Streamlining the booking process is vital to minimize drop-offs and increase conversions. Make sure your booking engine is user-friendly, with clear instructions and a simple, intuitive flow. Offering a variety of secure payment options can also help encourage direct bookings.

If you are interested in this topic, read this article to learn more about how to optimize your website to drive direct bookings.

Engage with your guests

When a guest has landed on your website through organic booking links, engaging with them directly and creating meaningful connections is the best way to encourage bookings.

How to do this? You can use a tool like a web messenger to answer all their questions in real-time and help them to make a booking. By offering a live chat on your website, it allows visitors to have their questions answered instantly, improving their overall experience and assisting them with the booking process. Prompt and personalized responses can make a significant impact on potential guests’ decision-making process.

Leverage social media for organic hotel bookings

Moreover, maintaining an active presence on social media platforms can also attract your target audience. A recent poll done by Morning Consult found that more than half of Gen Z participants said that it’s likely for them to plan their upcoming trips with the help of social media.

Aim to engage with users by responding to comments, sharing user-generated content, running contests, and providing helpful travel tips. This kind of interaction helps build relationships, promotes your hotel, and encourages users to book directly.

Leverage other Google tools

Google offers several other tools that can complement your organic booking links. For instance, you can run Google Ads campaigns to further enhance your hotel’s visibility in search results. Utilize Google Analytics to track the performance of your organic booking links and identify areas for improvement.

By leveraging these tools, you can maximize the impact of your organic booking links and drive more bookings to your hotel.

Conclusion

If the question is how to boost organic bookings for hotels, Google’s free organic booking links are a valuable resource to answer it. Make good use of it in this direct booking war, and you will be able not only to increase those numbers but also to grow your online presence. It is not always about how much money you can put in your hotel ads but how well prepared and structured is your website and what kind of content are you offering to your guests.

By focusing on organic bookings, you can reduce reliance on third-party channels, optimize revenue management, and build long-lasting relationships with your guests. So, start implementing these strategies today and boost your bookings!

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Tags: hotels, increase, organic bookings

Marketing Manager, Sweden

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Bookboost helps you to use your guest data to deliver amazing experiences.

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