10 Unknown Reasons Why Hotels Fail At Driving More Direct Bookings (Part #4).

Hotel Distribution

OK, I lied 😉

In the previous article I mentioned that this upcoming one I would have referred to the same screenshot from BO.

Which is true, yet partially.

So, if you didn’t know, now you know: NEVER trust Italians…

Let’s move forward with some of the price-unrelated reasons that OTAs have been adopting and that you can adopt too, to support your direct booking strategy.

 

7) Colors

Besides the individual preference for certain colors as opposed to others, which of course is totally subjective, colors have the powerful, yet underestimated role of triggering certain emotions.

These emotions can be either positives or negatives and, with a few differences based on the variety cultures we can find in humanity, they remain objective across the world, meaning the same color will always trigger the same emotion across different people.

Fact is, in Sales & Marketing, colors that trigger positive emotions have been scientifically and statistically proven to be converting better.

And the biggest OTAs out there in the market know that very well. Maybe some of them don’t know the exact reasons, but the results of their never-ending A/B tests invariably brought them to the same conclusion.

So here they are.

POSITIVE COLORS

PINK

The highest converting color on Earth.

It’s the color of women and new-born babies (female), the gentle sex.

Men reading, if you work Sales, get yourself a pink shirt or a pink tie, higher chances you are going to convert better.

RED

The color of sex, passion and love.

You may still find a lot of marketers telling you that red in not a good color to make use of, as opposed to green, because in a traffic light red means stop, whilst green means go.

Fact is, no one thinks of a traffic light when navigating the internet.

BLUE

Especially ‘baby-blue’, the color of new-borns babies (male), the color of the sky in a sunny day.

YELLOW

Same as above. A good day is pictured as a sunny day, the color of the sun.

Plus, it’s the color of happiness, optimism and creativity.

WHITE

It’s the color of cleanliness, transparency, purity, elegance and ultimately peace.

ORANGE/SALMON

It’s quite a new entry, although it’s been under evaluation for a long time.

Joy, warmth, heat, enthusiasm, success, encouragement, change, just to mention a few.

 

Besides the meaning of each color, but especially because of it, all the above have been proven to convert better when it comes to sales and marketing.

 

NEGATIVE COLORS

GREEN

Surprise surprise, uh? This is quite interesting. And a bit controversial, because it actually triggers positive emotions too, especially because it most reminds of nature which in turn triggers feelings of health and stillness, however it also turned out that green triggers emotions like repulsiveness and repulsion.

BLACK

It’s the color of death, one of the lowest converting colors we can make use of.

BROWN

You name it..

GREY

It’s quite the opposite of yellow and blue. A rainy day is synonymous with a bad day.

 

Where & How To Use Them.

If a color is negative, it doesn’t mean you have to avoid using it.

When it comes to descriptive text, plain black text on white background is always the best option.

But when it comes to call-to-actions and other elements that are supposed to be eye-catchy within the page, then better choose a positive color.

See how the OTAs go for the positives, even though their brand main color may be negative, e.g. TripAdvisor.

TripAdvisor

Brand color: GREEN (negative).

Call to Actions: YELLOW (positive).

tripadvisor

Booking.com

Brand color: BLUE (positive).

Call to Actions: BLUE (positive).

booking-default-rooms-rates-layout

 

Expedia

Brand color: BLUE & YELLOW (positives).

Call to Actions: BLUE or YELLOW (positives).

expedia

 

Trivago

Brand color: BLUE, YELLOW & RED (positives).

Call to Actions: BLUE (positive) or GREEN (negative).

trivago

Interesting that Trivago is one of the few to adopt green which supposedly is a negative color. That’s why I mentioned that green is a bit controversial as, indeed, it also triggers positive emotions.

 

CTrip

Brand color: BLUE & YELLOW (positives).

Call to Actions: ORANGE or YELLOW (positives).

ctrip

 

8) Cherry-picked Reviews

Now, this may be tricky and you might agree or not, but this is how it works: in the booking page of BO, visitors are displayed with, essentially, positive reviews only.

reviews

In the previous article we talked about those Social-Approval messages and what their role is.

In a sense, reviews are nothing more than that for: when visitor is doubtful, reviews help him/her ease into the booking process by reassuring that the hotel he or she is looking at, no matter how good or bad is, is a good choice.

At some point, this may sound unethical, I get it.

However, it is also true that BO is not hiding bad reviews, they are simply being relegated to another area: reviews2

Though they are easy to reach, they are just one additional click away:

reviews3

Whilst I am totally against the tactic of completely hiding bad reviews (this yes, is unethical), what BO does is clever because it shows what serves the most, persuading visitors to make the reservation, whilst maintaining a full transparency (at least in this area).

Just imagine those negative points from this last screenshot and have them listed in the first screen: the conversion may suddenly drop, not only for this hotel but for all hotels (because each hotel has negative reviews), resulting in quite a relevant business loss for BO too.

What hotels have on their site/booking engine?

More likely, nothing. No reviews, no testimonials. Or, what I think is even worse, they have those tiny widgets provided by TripAdvisor for free.

Have you ever wondered why TA is giving them away so easily and for free?

To redirect traffic from your website to their site. Easy, no?

What OTAs cannot have, but You can.

Testimonials.

Not reviews. Testimonials.

No matter whether you are running a small boutique hotel front beach or a resort of 2000 rooms or a city hotel. The truth is: people believe testimonials.

They have since the very first one was used in 1926 by the US-based company named Ponds.

How to get them? Ask!

Have you ever thought of asking some of your super-happy customer to shoot a simple and nice 30-45-sec video for you?

With their mobile phone, no need to be professional, actually the more casual, the better it works. Any smartphone would definitely and greatly do the job.

You can ask your customers when they are staying at your hotel, maybe you might need to offer a drink or a dinner to the customer you have identified to shoot the quick video for you, make sense, but totally worth it.

Or you can send an email post-stay. Since you have to buy them into the idea, you can sell it with something like “We want to make you famous”.

How does that sound?

Testimonials should become an obsession, it’s literally the greatest marketing tool you can have in your hands.

It’s essentially effortless and free. And it’s so easy that it boggles my brain thinking of the entire hotel industry NOT using such a powerful tool.

Maybe because we tend to be fine with reviews only, also considering how many we may have.

Check this out, there are not many out there. This is a great testimonial page:

Hotel Playa Samara – Testimonials

Even though I don’t quite agree with the format (the hotel asking the initial question tends to lower its own credibility), yet effective and own-controlled by the hotel.

Testimonials can also be text testimonials, but easy to understand that videos work way better.

Keep it short, like I said, 30 up to 45 seconds, I can provide you with a simple script that you can eventually slightly adapt and pass it on to your guests who will shoot the video.

Give it a try, what does it cost? A dinner? A drink? A SPA massage?

“But no one does it!”, you might think.

Great, this is just the best reason why you should be trying 🙂

See also:

And you? Have ever wondered why and how colors impact your prospects?

Would you consider to try shooting some nice testimonial video?

Drop me a message or comment here to have a templated script.

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