How an Independent Hotel Won Back Its Direct Bookings

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Hotels around the world are discovering how to increase direct bookings with trivago’s Rate Connect: the tool that enables them to promote their website rates on their trivago profiles. With features such as optimized budget recommendations and automated CPC bidding, Rate Connect is not only making it possible for hotels to win back their direct bookings — it’s making it cost-effective and easy as well.

Here’s a look at how one independent hotel was able to take control of its direct business and distribution with just a booking engine, a Rate Connect campaign, and a little entrepreneurial passion.

Wellness Center Casanova

The Wellness Center Casanova is a 3-star accommodation located in the heart of Tuscany near San Quirico d’Orcia, Italy. This classic Tuscan-style property, complete with hot spring baths and a spa, attracts both couples and families looking for a relaxing getaway. As the property sits perched on top of a hill, guests can immerse themselves in nature and unwind with 360-degree views over the village of San Quirico d’Orcia and the surrounding valley.

But despite its undeniable charm, Wellness Center Casanova was, like many independent hotels today, struggling to hold on to its direct business.

“We had to modernize if we wanted to keep afloat in the market.”

Open since 1993, the Wellness Center Casanova had been experiencing a gradual decline in bookings over the years. Direct bookings were few and far between and it became a high priority for Sabrina Bellugi, hotel owner and manager, to reverse this trend.

“We had to modernize if we wanted to keep afloat in the market,” said Sabrina. “We’re results-driven, and when we realized how important the Internet is, we made the leap to get online.”

One of Sabrina’s initiatives to boost her online presence was to set up and manage Wellness Center Casanova’s profile on trivago.

“If travelers compare the price of Wellness Center Casanova on trivago, they find the best price right away,” Sabrina explained. “And, they are more convinced to book because trivago provides credibility.”

Establishing an online presence on trivago was just the first step, however. Because while having a trivago profile garnered Wellness Center Casanova with online credibility, it didn’t immediately solve its direct-booking struggle.

“We were unable to make our rates visible to travelers… Now we can.”

“Many of our bookings came from agencies and the Internet, but direct bookings were practically non-existent unless they were by word-of-mouth.”

Enter the solution: Rate Connect.

When asked about how she started using Rate Connect, Sabrina replied, “We heard about Rate Connect through one of our trusted partners, simpleBooking, so we decided to give it a try. Since trivago redirects customers to our website, the rates we advertise there are the best prices we offer.”

“Previously we were unable to make our lower rates visible to travelers online, but now we can with Rate Connect.”

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“trivago has always been there to help and support us.”

Sabrina experienced the value of open communication with her trivago account manager after starting Rate Connect. The advantages of running a cost-per-click campaign soon became apparent to her as well.

“What strikes you the first time you try Rate Connect is the budget control function. It took a minute to realize that the recommended budget is the maximum you might pay in one month. But once you see the results coming in you understand that you only pay for the actual clicks, and then everything is excellent.”

Sabrina went on to describe the direct relationship she’s built with trivago: “Whenever we’ve had questions trivago has always been there to help and support us.”

The benefits the hotel has seen from both its Rate Connect campaign and direct relationship with trivago speak for themselves.

“Our direct bookings have increased by 47%.”

Wellness Center Casanova’s trivago profile received 96% more monthly clicks shortly after starting Rate Connect. “Once we saw the results, and with support from trivago, we expanded our Rate Connect campaign into new markets,” said Sabrina.

After expanding her Rate Connect campaign into new markets, Sabrina enjoyed a considerable increase in direct bookings. It’s allowed her to create a better balance in her property’s channel distribution.

“Since we started working with Rate Connect in 2017, our direct bookings have increased by 47% compared to the previous year. We still get bookings through third parties, but thanks to Rate Connect we’ve increased the percentage of coverage of our rooms overall. We can also definitely say that our property is enjoying higher visibility and improved brand reputation.”

So, what are the costs? Wellness Center Casanova’s average cost-per-acquisition (CPA) is 4.8%. This means that out of the total booking revenue generated through Rate Connect, only 4.8% goes to advertising.

Tips on how to increase direct bookings with Rate Connect:

Based on her own experience using Rate Connect, Sabrina offers the following advice to hoteliers looking to get the most from their own direct booking campaigns on trivago:

  • Post special offers using the PRO package to make your hotel profile more attractive on trivago.
  • Upgrade your website and booking engine so that they’re compatible with all devices and simple for travelers to use.

Readers can find more expert tips on running a successful Rate Connect campaign “Top 12 Tips to Get Direct Bookings with Rate Connect” and more insights into the benefits of metasearch marketing in “Hotels Drive High-Impact Direct Bookings with Metasearch.”