How to Get Direct Bookings


How to Get Direct Bookings for Your Hotel

If you run a hotel, one of your biggest challenges is avoiding online travel agencies (OTA) and getting direct bookings. OTA’s are powerful, competitive, and they invest a lot in their marketing, so you’ll need to use hotel marketing strategies to take back control of your business.

One compelling strategy to adopt is guaranteed SEO services. Having a working SEO plan as part of your marketing strategy gets you direct customer bookings. Devoting a decent amount of funds to SEO campaigns can help you sustain better conversion rates and for longer. Moreover, guaranteed SEO positions your content where people trust the most—on Google.

Although OTA’s make it easier for hotel owners to bring in new customers, they have big disadvantages, like taking commission on bookings, giving big discounts, and putting you in direct competition with other hotels in your area, making it more difficult for potential customers to choose you. And when a crisis like the Coronavirus happens, hotel owners aren’t protected as OTA’s give consumers refunds without considering the consequences for the hotels.

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Increasing Revenue Through Direct Bookings

You don’t want to go head to head with online travel agencies like, Expedia, and Agoda. They have a massive marketing budget and are very competitive in the hospitality industry. They also have their own apps and advertise everywhere.

So how do you get around online travel agencies while still bringing in new customers?

Have a solid hotel marketing plan and work with a competent SEO agency for hotels. These options accord you a reliable and consistent customer stream plus financial freedom.

For context, a real estate SEO agency specializes in creating high-performing real estate-based content. With such specialized marketing strategies, you'd get long-term benefits without having to finance your platform always. The tricks of Real Estate SEO—in particular—are there for anyone to know.

Sure, you can randomly Google how to get more direct bookings for hotels, or hotel direct booking strategies, but below we’ve given you the most effective ways you can actually achieve this, and a case study of it in action.

Below are some direct booking strategies that you can start implementing yourself today, that will help you take back control of your business.

Get away from OTA's and get direct bookings now!

What is hotel digital marketing?

How can you avoid OTA fees and get direct hotel bookings from your potential customers using hotel SEO? What makes a good hotel marketing strategy?

Most business owners first step is to build a hotel booking website that is beautiful, but they overlook getting that website to bring in a steady stream of new customers. There are data-driven strategies that you can use when it comes to hotel website seo, which will guarantee you results faster and more effectively than other forms of interrupt marketing.

So, how do you get direct bookings?


Figure out what your potential customers are actively searching for

What hotel related keywords do people use to find hotels online?

What SEO keywords for hotels have the highest search volume? Search for keywords that are not only relevant to your hotel, but are also being used by travelers.

What features and amenities are they searching for?

Remember, big companies like Agoda and will be competing for transactional keywords like “hotels in Sydney,” so use less competitive keywords that are still relevant, like “best beaches in Sydney” or “best walks in Sydney.”



To do this, you should use these keywords in the written content and across your website.

Use keyword mapping to utilize primary and secondary keywords in your meta titles and descriptions, and write relevant blogs and articles that uses the keywords people are searching for.



You need to make it easy for your website’s visitors to actually book the hotel rooms on your site.

You can encourage them to take action by offering incentives for complimentary services or meals. Creating attractive pop-ups can remind them to book while they’re still on your site.

Here’s what our customers are saying

Rebecca Davidson

Sparrow Early Learning

"..Thanks again to you and your team for your superior service Kris"

It is always a pleasure working with Kris from Ardor SEO. Kris is knowledgeable and always recommends the best solution for our business. Thanks again to you and your team for your superior service Kris.

Garuda Nicolle

Organic Turmeric

"...Definitely worth working with them."

Currently working with Kris. SEO is important for any business, and Ardor definitely know what they're doing and give long term strategies. Definitely worth working with them.

Emma Reynolds


"Kris is very knowledgable about SEO!..."

Kris is very knowledgable about SEO! His team helped us through an extensive SEO audit and strategy. The audit was very in depth, and was very helpful for us to identify problems on the site.

Case Study: What Worked for YK Arthouse?

Here’s a case study of what we did for this guesthouse in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, YK Arthouse.

These tried-and-true methods are based on research and data, and work for any business across any industry. However, it always pays to work with an agency that is familiar with SEO services for hotels.

The unique thing about YK Arthouse, is that they’re a boutique guesthouse. Boutique accommodation are not just small, they also have a niche market that they’re after. This means reaching their ideal customers and target market is very important, because they don’t want them to be competing on price, and that’s what OTA’s force you to do. Online travel agencies are looking for the cheapest hotels and accommodation, forcing them to compete on price.

A boutique guesthouse provides specific type of value to their ideal customers. In this case, YK Arthouse caters to the vegan market, but another example of reaching a niche market are dog-friendly guesthouses. The biggest advantages to getting ideal customers is that they’re good customers, and they’re looking for what a boutique guesthouse has to offer. This means no bad complaints, with happy customers who give better reviews, and aren’t interested in competing on price.

Forget Cold Calling!

1.) What are people searching for?

Keyword Research

By evaluating keywords for the hotel industry that consumers search the most in Google, and analyzing the competition’s highest volume keywords, we came up with the best keywords for hotels in Cambodia such as “guest house Phnom Penh” and “vegan restaurant Phnom Penh.”

This is powerful information, because now YK Arthouse knows how to structure their website.

2.) How do you get in front of those people?

Keyword Mapping + Metadata

Once we did the keyword research, we used keyword mapping to plug the keywords into the right places. Primary keywords go in the meta title, and secondary keywords go in the meta description. Make sure that neither contain unnecessary, filler keywords and aren’t too long.

Content Strategy

Many business owners struggle with what to write about for their website, but once you know what keywords consumers are searching for the most, you know exactly what content to write. 

A thorough content strategy consists of articles being written and posted weekly for several months.

Google My Business + Local SEO

As a brick-and-mortar business, your hotel should definitely have the Google My Business profile set up.

This is an important way to crush the Google search rankings even if you’re not in position #1, as all your business’s information will show up at the top in this snippet. 

Local SEO citations should be deployed across listing sites so that Google knows you are who you say you are.

Reputation Engineering

A GMB profile also ensures that their past guests’ reviews are visible to future customers, and this helps build their reputation and value.

3.) How do you get them to take action?


Keyword-targeted and graphically interesting pop-ups capture the viewer’s attention, and remind them to take action. In this case, we made it easier for the potential customer to book directly on the site.

Forget Cold Calling

Incentives + A Call To Action

Incentives can help convert your website’s viewers into customers. CTA’s are important to have across the whole site, and should clearly tell the viewer what you want them to do.

Imagine Financial Freedom

You created a hotel because you are passionate about serving people, and you want to make sure they have a great stay. They are looking for the best hotel to stay in during their travels, but they don’t yet know which hotel will provide them that.

You have the solution to their problem - and now you need to let them know!
You can achieve this by having the best hotel SEO strategy, and working with a hotel marketing specialist.

Imagine what life will be like when you no longer have to worry about OTA’s and have full control over your customers and bookings. Imagine no longer having to stress or worry about getting a reliable stream of income!

What does the owner of YK Arthouse think?

Check out how happy Irina Chakraborty, the owner of YK Arthouse, is about the growth she experienced from implementing her digital marketing strategy!

Irina Chakraborty Owner of YK Arthouse

Irina Chakraborty

  YK Arthouse

1. What was the problem you were having before you discovered Ardor?
A: Working with online travel agencies has been really difficult, because as a boutique guesthouse owner, I need my ideal customers not to be competing on price.

I felt like I had no control over booking my ideal customers, and I wasn’t able to position myself well against my competition because OTA’s force you to compete on price and cater to guests who are looking for the cheapest stay, instead of a quality stay.

2. What did the frustration feel like as you tried to solve that problem?
A: I honestly didn’t know where to begin. There are so many things that you can do when it comes to marketing, and there’s no way to know if they’ll pay off.

3. What was unique about Ardor? Why did you choose us to be your partner?
A: I liked that Ardor helped me make decisions based on data, instead of shooting from the hip. Evaluating my market and telling me exactly what to prioritize helped me stop wasting time and money on things that just didn’t work.

4. Take us to the moment where Ardor was actively working to solve your problem. What did it feel like?
A: What a huge weight off my shoulders! I’ve been struggling for years to stay competitive in this area, and no longer having to battle so hard with online travel agencies let’s me get back to what I love doing, and makes running my hotel fun again.

5. Tell us now what life is like that your problem is solved / being solved.
A: Having consistent traffic and bookings being made directly on my site feels amazing! Seeing the work pay off shows me that I made the right decision and chose the right partner to help reach my goals.