Unfortunately many travel shoppers do not know that they are not linking to the the hotel’s own website to book from these mirror listing on Google.
Not only do OTAs List higher that Brand sites they mirror in many cases the brands who do not advertise will likely be way down on the page or not listed on the first page at all.
Even Google is crowding the space with its own information and booking options and that is not about to change.
In this article, Adrienne Hanna, founder and CEO of Right Revenue, warns that with all the big players mirroring marketing and filling the page with their representation of hotel brands, the brand is often pushed out of search results and maybe ‘Under the fold’, if you are lucky”. She adds “unless you are paying for the privilege, even on your own wonderful name, you seriously risk not appearing on the first page at all.”
This means are loosing direct business and loosing the opportunity to build brand integrity. As she says “Make no mistake, this is something that we can all challenge with the OTAs.”
Adrienne advice is “Read the small print and challenge those clauses in the contract. Maybe it is time we all stepped up and were brave enough to be counted.”
With all the talk of decline in referrals from OTAs and the counter trend in growth of direct bookings for XYZ generations, Marriott has taken the bull by the horns and wrestling OTA bookings to the ground. Their new campaign “it pays to Book direct” is a bold move to take back booking that might otherwise go to On line travel agents and decrease their revenue by the 30% or so the pay Expedia and others.
Direct Bookings build Brand Integrity
But the main reason why direct bookings is a priority for Marriott is that it gains back customer ownership and builds brand integrity.
To get booking on their website Marriott is offering benefits like the company’s best rate guarantee. “If consumers find a better rate elsewhere, the company’s best rate guarantee will match it and give them an additional 25 percent discount.” They are also making sure customers who book direct earn loyalty points which can be used on future stay. Loyalty members also get additional benefits, including free Wi-Fi, mobile check-in, and special offers for loyal members only.
Loyalty Benefits Boosts Website Booking
Drew Pinto, vice president, distribution strategy for Marriott says: “Our guests who book direct get access to our best rates, every room we have available and the most accurate and trustworthy information about our hotels. Booking direct is also best way for customers to personalize their stay with us.”
The direct bookings campaign is launched with a series of videos which are fun and entertaining while deliver a clear message on how it pays to be direct.
Hotel direct booking source survey 2014 – WIHP Hotels
According to WHIP direct bookings from OTAs has been on the decline for some time but it is still strong and growing. The chart above shows friends referral to be a main source with twitter being at the bottom of the heap. “Repeat guests are and increasing category and this could be attributed to implementing better long term marketing strategies with clients.” See Whip Hotels for details
Sean Smith articles is great but it is reverse engineered or back-to-front according to the latest insights by the Power Marketing Strategies. Smith puts design first as described by his title ” Why your marketing needs a better design focus“, however Power Marketing says that this is one of the biggest problem with today marketing. Most marketing fails by focusing on design before building a message strategy.
Website design needs a better marketing focus
Design should be a part of your messaging strategy and you cannot put it first. It should be an integral part of your strategic messaging. Simply put “When you think of marketing, you need to start thinking about your message. You need to think about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it. When you think of marketing—don’t think of mediums anymore—think of messaging. Only once you have the right message should you start considering which mediums to run your marketing in.” Diego Rodriguez, CEO Power Marketing Consultants Association
A marketing system considers first the message. Then it develops the message and installs the message in a comprehensive marketing system which facilitates the prospects decision making process. Finally, it chooses the best mediums to put those messages in to generate leads to pump into the system. Do you see how much more effective that is than typical fragmented marketing?
Now Smith does make the case for good design and gives the reasons why. He says “There are three main reasons I believe you should invest in design for marketing” and these are
– Curb appeal” of your website, app, or product.
– Shoppers will not engage with your product if they aren’t excited by it visually.
– Stategic Design can convert more lookers into bookers
Smith does say that Design and marketing are married, which is great, but his analysis is short on what that means.
It is just too easy to get confused with features and benefits in Tourism. Before you list anything ask the question “So What”. Like “It is Right on the Beach”… So What.? Maybe its several reasons that might matter differently to different people. It will soon be clear why some say we are seeing the Death of Features & Benefits
You need to know your client. So for the guy who works at the stock broker in New York, being right on the beach is great as he wants to fall into the water and soak away the stress. The Hot Button is “Soak Away the Stress”, and being on the beach makes that a real possibility, but you have to ask the question so what you are on the beach, well for the NY stressed out stock broker, it so he can jump into the dazzling clear Caribbean waters and “soak away the stress”. Selling travel is all about selling the vision and the dream. Features and Benefits are for the text book not the imagination, They alone do not tell stories.
To the Young guy or gal working on heath and staying trim, walking the beach and swimming exercise is a benefit they will relate to.
For sun tanners, just on the beach means you can fall into that deck chair or soft white sand and lap up the energizing body-beautiful rays anytime you want, with no preparations other than your tanning oils.
For families, it is a time to be together to build that better sand castle and frolic in the water with the whole family together, enjoying the bliss of a care free fun holiday in a tropical island.
Ok – you get what I mean! So read on, you can download their free book on how to get ideas on “Benefits that Matter”.
It may not be the biggest OTA but it is the fastest growing and it is a game changer – Here are some of the reasons why is selling pages work. Mind you Booking.com was the firdt MAJOR player in the OTA space to break the mold of the merchant model and revert back to the Agent model. With is success and a clear traveller preference for the Agent Model.
Even Expedia had to offer the same deal. Before then OTAs were negotiating nett rates or costs and reselling hotel at their own markup. THe collect the total holiday payment upfront and paid the hotel when the guest stayed with them. Booking.com started out by just collecting 10% after the guest checked out of the hotel. Everyone seemed to like that and it changed the way that major OTAs operated.
This articles shows how it outperforms its competition in page and sales funnel design.
Travel brands need to think seriously about what Google is doing in Travel. Google is poised to do move in with their products like Hotel Finder and Transit Trip Planner, which has not yet been launched. With these products, Google will be targeting the travel sector directly.
“Google is poised to dominate the market”, says SEO specialist Martin MacDonald, who has been the Inbound Marketing Director of Expedia Affiliate Network. He says that Google’s entry is a challenge for metasearch engines like Kayak, Prontohotel and Trivago.
Google has also been changing the way it list content and the most important move is its crackdown on duplicate content with the Penguin and Panda updates.
Many travel sites have felt the impact and many are now having to produce fresh content on every page and off site just to stay in the game.