News | Distribution | Technology | OnlineFive tools to improve direct booking conversion ratesThis article was originally published onBy Viewpoints | July 25, 2017 The average conversion rate for direct bookings is about 1%. How can hoteliers convert those 99% visitors who leave the website?NB This is a viewpoint by Catarina Pimental, marketing manager for GuestCentric.Recently, hoteliers have taken a great interest in investing in digital marketing tools to attract visitors to their websites. However, statistics show that about 99% of the visitors leave the websites without booking.Hoteliers should focus their efforts precisely on this 99%, encouraging users to book when they are on your website.In addition to a good booking engine, these are the five crucial tools for a successful integrated digital strategy:“Shopping activation” widgets:Shopping activation widgets are dynamic elements in the website that display various messages in order to encourage greater user interaction while users are surfing the website and/or booking engine.For example, a widget with the message “Just booked!” indicates that some bookings were recently made, creating a sense of urgency and encouraging the user to make a quick decision given the shortage in hotel rooms and the possibility of a price increase.“Shopping cart recovery” pop-ups:Shopping cart recovery pop-ups are customized windows that appear on the website in order to stimulate interaction when users have a low engagement ratio on the website. These pop-ups can be triggered if users are inactive on the web page for too long or even if they try to leave the website or booking engine. With these pop-ups, you can collect the user’s email address and then use it to offer exclusive deals.Chat and messenger tools:Chat and Messenger are tools that users use every day to interact with various communities. These innovative means of communication are a great way to convert customer orders into bookings. They enable you to create a relationship with customers before they make a booking, while also allowing you to offer customized deals.Real time widget for price comparison with OTAs:If the price on the website is lower than the one offered by OTAs such as booking.com or Expedia, there is clearly a greater tendency for visitors to make a booking at that particular time. Thus, by showing the price comparison in the booking engine itself, you will be encouraging direct bookings. Moreover, messages can be added to inform customers about the benefits of direct bookings, and guests can take advantage of special deals and other offers.Retargeting ads:About 99% of the users don’t make their bookings on their first visit to the hotel’s website. Retargeting allows you to follow these users outside the website and remind them of their options on sites such as Facebook.Retargeting is a powerful and effective tool that enables you to display ads to users who have visited the website in the past, encouraging them to come back and complete the reservation.The success of a digital strategy focused on increasing direct bookings should be based not only on tools that attract users to the website but also on built-in website features that will encourage direct bookings.Although they have different purposes, these tools complement one another, leading to a significant conversion rate increase and a higher return on financial investment.NB1: This is a viewpoint by Catarina Pimental, marketing manager for GuestCentric. It originally appeared on the GuestCentric blog and is republished here with permission. NB2: Image by BigStock.