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Are You Prepared for the 2nd Annual #BookDirect Day on Feb. 6, 2019?

As we announced in our 1/25/2019 newsletter, Acorn has partnered with both AIHP and PAII to help find ways for Innkeepers to drive more Direct Bookings to your properties, and to make the public aware of what is happening when they book their travel online! Thus this announcement regarding #BookDirect day. If you are an AIHP or PAII member, or a member of a state or regional assocation, you will be seeing this email from them also, as we get the word out!

If the only thing you are able to do on February 6th is to share this movement on social media, please make sure you tweet it with the hashtag #BookDirect as we all want to make sure this topic trends on that day!

Travel forecasters are predicting 2019 to be a great year for the travel industry. While big cities are still on the list of popular destinations, there has been a shift in interest, most notably to smaller towns that are somewhat off the beaten path. More travelers are being lured to the less-known and less-traveled, which can be a big plus for many Inns and B&Bs.

However, as millions of people start planning their trips for this year, they’re also being lured to third-party sites to book their accommodations. As we’ve all seen, that means less control and higher fees… but there’s hope!

Mark your calendars for February 6, 2019 – the 2nd Annual #BookDirect Guest Education Day. Scheduled to repeat the first Wednesday in February each year, #BookDirect was created to educate and encourage both innkeepers and travelers about the benefits of booking directly with the property and NOT with third-party sites, like Trip Advisor or Expedia, who add hundreds of dollars in fees and often times don’t accurately represent the property. So, join forces with a multitude of innkeepers, hospitality professionals, and vacation rental managers for one day to send one message to travelers: Book Direct. More importantly, educate your past and future guests why booking direct benefits them.

Guest Benefits for Booking Direct

  • Reduces the cost of third-party fees
  • Offers more perks and guest amenities
  • Provides access to specials and packages
  • Gives access to lower rates
  • Provides clearer expectations and accurate information
  • Allows for direct communication with the innkeeper to personalize and optimize their stay

What Can You Do?

  • Send an email campaign to past and future guests explaining the value of booking direct and booking smart.
  • Create special deals and promo codes for returning guests, which they can only obtain when they book direct.
  • Share information via social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, etc.) using the hashtag #BookDirect to bring attention to the advantages of working directly with innkeepers and hoteliers instead of third-party sites.
  • Offer a BookDirect Special for the week of Feb. 6 or perhaps the entire month when a traveler books direct from your site.
  • Use BookDirect imagery to notify guests that they are on your site.
  • Manage your inventory properly on the OTAs.
  • Ask for guest reviews that include language from the guest describing how they enjoyed their stay because they booked direct.
  • Include language in Review Management Responses that speaks to why booking direct is BEST!
  • Wear a BookDirect button at breakfast, ask questions, and teach your guests all about why booking direct is BEST!
  • Work with local media outlets (newspapers, TV and radio stations) to educate travelers about the best ways to book a vacation rental.
  • Encourage local travel and networking organizations (i.e. CVBs, chambers, state tourism organizations) to join in promoting their direct connections to lodging providers.

Last year, the first #BookDirect Guest Education Day reached an estimated 3.5 million travelers with direct email campaigns and had a social reach of over 24 million consumers.
Let’s work together to exceed those numbers this year!

And if you haven't seen the latest Hilton Ad for encouraging guests to book direct at Hilton, watch this video. I thought this was SPOT ON for what all lodging properties are dealing with.



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