Assuming that you are already distributing your hotel rates and availability on multiple online travel agents, we will delve straight into some top tips that you can utilize to boost your online visibility and improve booking revenue. The ground rule for working with any distribution/sales channel is to ensure that you keep your hotel listing up-to-date to give a true picture to the guests. That said, here are some simple tips that can further increase your hotel’s presence on these important channels.
1. Regular Update of Content
Reinforcing the ground rule again – it is super important to keep your hotel listing updated and attractive. The language used to define your hotel amenities should be simple and fluid. Ensure that you have posted recent photos of the hotel’s different segments – lobby, façade, rooms, restaurants, banquet, swimming pool, gym etc. As they say, a picture speaks a thousand words – travelers like to know how the place looks before they decide if they wish to stay there. Details of room amenities, location, direction to reach, nearby attractions as well as hotel policies should be accurately displayed in relevant sections of the listing.
This builds customer trust and helps them make informed decisions. Further, it helps bring up your hotel on relevant search results when guests use filters on OTAs. For example, if your hotel is pet friendly, ensure that you mention it in your listing so that travelers who are looking to bring their pet can consider your property amongst others. Further, if any hotel policy changes, it is important to update them on OTAs. For example, if your hotel was a no-smoking property earlier, but if you have recently added smoking rooms, then you need to showcase that on the OTAs, so that people looking for such rooms will keep your hotel in consideration. These updates may seem minor but goes a long way to ensure that your hotel can be found easily depending on the visitor’s search behavior.
Further, to increase visibility in the search results, coordinate with the Market Manager of different OTAs you work with, to add relevant keywords and meta tags to highlight special offers and promotions. Depending on the OTA policy, most of the market managers allow you to submit the tag copy to emphasize your hotel’s new offering, renovation, festive discount etc.
2. Ensure Rate Parity
The second most important tip is to ensure you keep your rates in parity across different distribution platforms. Travelers like to shop around when looking to book accommodation. When they see different rates for your property on different sites, it somehow impacts their trust factor. Further, OTAs tend to give you better ranking to hotels that have no rate parity issues as it helps maintain rate integrity for their channel as well. Additionally, when your rates are in parity, you can push your presence on meta-search sites to drive more direct bookings.
3. Targeted Advertising
Making updates and tweaks to your hotel listing on OTAs is a crucial part, but to give an additional boost to your property’s visibility, you can invest in targeted ad by bidding for top spots in OTA search results. Most OTAs offer this capability today and this is an easy way to increase exposure in these channels. However, it is best to make it goal oriented – pushing these ads for either specific promotional campaigns or to push visibility in certain markets during off-peak period.
Ads such as Expedia TravelAds or Sponsored Search on Travelocity and Orbitz can be effective if used correctly and it also helps improve the organic search ranking for the hotel on these OTAs.
4. Sell Last Room Availability
One of the core concepts of revenue management focuses around the fact that hotels should spread out their inventory on not rely on just 1 or 2 channels. While, the brand website, consortia and wholesalers are all important sales channels along with OTAs, there are times when you need to look at specialized or niche channels to make sure you sell off distressed inventory, up to the last available room. Channels like HotelTonight helps hotels sell inventory in a 24-hour window as that is the core concept of the channel. The channels user base are mostly travelers that are looking for last minute deals and hence this can be a good platform to dispose distressed inventory. Further, channels like HotelByDay offer room booking by the number of hours thus raising the revenue potential of fixed inventory. As a hotelier, it is good to know about new distribution options and try them to explore new revenue potential.
5. Rapport building with OTA Market Managers
You can only do what is in your control with regards your OTA listing. However, if you maintain a great rapport with the OTA Market Managers, that can go a long way in helping you maximise your hotel presence. People like to do business with people they like – hence the human element is very critical in most businesses. Being in the good books of the OTA Market Managers, communicating with them regularly, inviting them for your hotel events etc. can help create strategic business relations and have a positive impact for your business. The market managers keep a tab on the pulse of booking patterns and trends and can be very resourceful, it all comes down to your strategy and skills to bring out the results.
It’s time to put these tips and tricks into practice and see how you can leverage them. A good presence across OTAs will have a billboard effect, which not only will improve OTA bookings but will also positively impact direct bookings from your brand website.
If you need help with managing OTAs for your hotel, set up an appointment with one of our Connectivity Advisors today – https://bit.ly/2HiEzJp.