Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast: Episode 69 – 5 Simple Marketing Psychology Hacks To Increase Direct Bookings

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Reducing friction in the booking process can happen one of two ways. Either you remove the roadblocks and make the booking process more streamlined, or you apply forward pressure through the funnel by using psychology tactics that persuade people to do what you need them to do. That’s what we’ll be discussing in today’s episode. Simple things you can apply to your website and booking engine that will have a dramatic impact on conversion rate and the number of direct bookings.


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Let’s talk a little marketing psychology.

Goal: To understand what drives consumers’ decisions and then optimize your hotel website to speak to key decision making factors.

Today, we are going to cover 5 simple concepts that you can employ throughout your hotel’s booking process to help positively influence the sale.

1. Social Proof

Concept = people view behavior as correct if they see other people doing it.

  • Laugh track on your favorite sitcom
  • Lines outside of nightclubs

Hotel Messaging:

  • How many people are currently viewing a page
  • How many people have booked a room in a given period of time
  • Guest reviews / testimonials


2. Scarcity

Concept = the more rare or scarce a resource is, the more valuable it is.

There are some interesting studies behind the power of scarcity, including the “11,000 club” experiment. This “exclusive” club offered 11,000 people the opportunity to join the club for one  exceptional benefit: the chance to be a member of the club. No information was given – people signed up just to join and be a part of the club.

Hotels can take advantage of people’s FOMO with strategic messaging:

  • Limited inventory → “only 3 rooms left”
  • Limited time offer → “12 hours left for reduced rates”


3. Urgency

Concept = suspend deliberate thought and cut through cognitive friction by establishing urgency → Closely related to scarcity.

Think about what the retail industry has done with Black Friday & Cyber Monday…

Hotel Messaging to convey urgency:

  • Countdown timers
  • Popular travel dates → “Popular travel dates – book soon!”
  • Sold out warnings → “These dates sold out last year!”


4. Anchoring

Concept = people rely too heavily (or anchor) on one piece of information they see → In this case, your pricing.

Related not only to how you price your rooms & packages, but also how you present them.

“The Economist” experiment is one of the most notable demonstrations of this concept. The publisher wanted to push their “print and web” subscription package, which was priced at $125, compared to only $59 for the “web only” package. When presented with only 2 options, 68% opted for the cheaper subscription. However, once The Economist employed a “decoy” price → “web only” = $59; “print only” = $125; “web and print” = $125 → 85% opted for the most expensive but “better deal” subscription. All of this to say – pricing and presentation matter.

Hotels can better showcase their value by offering packages (ex: free breakfast), showcasing a “standard” rate as your “decoy” and anchor, and using strikethroughs and colors to demonstrate discounts.

Simplicity & The Paradox Of Choice

Note: Really interesting TED Talk on this entire concept.

General point – People become less satisfied if they have too many choices.

Choices are good → Too many choices are bad

“Analysis Paralysis

Do not make the mistake of offering too many rates, packages, e

KISS → Keep It Simple, Stupid

5. Assurance & Risk Mitigation

“People want to trust your brand, trust that they are making the right choice, and trust that they are getting the best deal possible.”

Incorporate messaging strategically throughout your booking experience to eliminate any doubts a shopper might have about booking with your hotel.

Hotel Messaging:

  • Free cancellation
  • No deposit required
  • Free refunds
  • Secure booking
  • Upsell opportunity → Travel insurance / vacation protection

Your competitors are already doing this! → Take a look at Hilton, Marriott, and Booking.com

Go through your hotel’s booking process on multiple devices. Go look at your competitors’ booking processes. How could yours be improved?

QUESTION: Amber Hoffman via Facebook What are some best practices for creating engaging FB ads that ensure a high ROI?”

  • Use general ad best practices:
      • high-quality images (very little to no text – FB doesn’t like text on images)
      • Clever / engaging ad copy → You can use marketing psychology here too!
      • Match your message with your CTA → What do you want people to do?
      • LOTS of documentation via Facebook, case studies for specific verticals, etc.
  • Establish realistic goals & relevant KPIs → Revenue is not always the answer.
      • RELEVANT new page likes – how much is this worth for you?
      • Driving traffic to your website – how much is this worth for you?
      • Generating new leads (email addresses) → how much is this worth for you?
  • Match your goals to your targeting → How broad or narrow your audience is will match the goal you have in mind.
      • Broad audience — travel shoppers — page likes
      • Targeted audience — consideration — lead generation
      • Highly targeted audience — booking — website click / promo post
  • Use The Facebook Pixel for smart retargeting & custom audiences.
      • A LOT of options here → Tons of online resources, guides, case studies, etc.
      • Be mindful of your metrics → FB reports ALL conversions, use campaign tracking as well
  • Track everything!



In The Newa

AirBnB Buys “AirBnB for Disabled People” startup, Accomable.com


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