The possible acquisition of HotelTonight by Aribnb has the potential to disrupt the entire OTA marketplace. Airbnb has had a phenomenal success with its core business and OTAs are playing catch up. But they do not have the retention or the cost structure to compete. But will Arbnb Disrupt The OTA Marketplace? That remains to be seen. This article combines view points from Phocuswright and other sources like Revinate to consider the options.
As Revinate shows in its 2019 Hotel Loyalty Guide, “Airbnb has managed, without any points-based loyalty program, to corner the market on repeat bookings”.
Airbnb outperforms OTAs on retention
OTAS are way behind and if they have to compete with the 3% discount rate offered by Airbnb it will drastically change their business model which relies on 15 to 30 % discounts.
Airbnb has proposed to but HotelTonight for an undisclosed fee which is speculated to be over $400 million. It is seen as an major move to diversify its business and aim directly at the OTA marketplace. As the Phocuswright reports “The deal should be viewed primarily as part of Airbnb’s idea that it can now go up against the likes of Booking.com and Expedia – a direction that is both brave, complicated, perhaps expensive from a marketing perspective and will include more than buying the likes of HotelTonight (such as opening up the core platform for hotel distribution).
Still we Must Put it into Context
HotelTonight, is a mobile-first, last-minute trendsetter that will never catch up with Expedia and Booking, and always be considered a secondary OTA. So say Lorraine Sileo – senior vice president of research and business operations at Phocuswright.
According to Michelle Wohl of Revinate “Globally, 48% of rooms are booked at the last minute. Since HotelTonight focuses on this market, an acquisition would certainly help Airbnb capitalize on the huge number of travelers, likely business travelers, that book rooms within a few days of travel. HotelTonight has proven itself to be the perfect solution for business travelers (70 of the business) who want to stay at the nicest place they can, at a discounted price that falls within company guidelines.”
In adition the Acquisition will give Airbnb mobile technology that is easy to use and streamlines the booking process that accounts for the decision paralysis common with OTAs. All good reason for the OTAs to be concerned.
Many hoteliers will be pleased to see a lower cost distributor with the smarts of Airbnb enter the market.
In its summary the UK Completion Watchdog Reigns-in Misleading Booking Sites that it says are: “Using sales tactics like pressure selling.” Also evaluated were misleading discount claims and hidden charges. The Consumer Watchdog demanded full disclosure and transparency in how money influences which properties are featured on their sites.
Specifically they oppose tactics such as: Misleading statements that effect search ranking, leading to search results that do not truly reflect the offer. References pricing with strikethrough, savings claims and any form of pressure selling are forbidden. All these misleading tactics put hotel marketers, agents and distributors at risk of breaking consumer protection law.
BBC news reported that no names were mentioned but it is widely believed that the sites that were investigated include leading OTA sites include Expedia and Booking.com. Of particular note to Digital Media Marketers was the warning that sites that manipulate search ranking are a major concern; “How search result rankings are influenced by factors irrelevant to consumers, such as how much commission a hotel pays the site.” Source BBC News
‘Trust’ is the key to commerce on the Internet and all marketers loose if they fail to convey trustworthiness. About 70% of travel shoppers use hotel booking sites, according to the CMA. Andrea Coscelli, CEO of the CMA adds: “Booking sites can make it so much easier to choose your holiday, but only if people are able to trust them.”
The Global Media Agency, The Confluence Group announces the final phase line for the Barbados Music Festival and Safari on April 3rd to 7th 2019.
Damian Lazarus: Cosmic inspired spirited renditions of house and techno. A conscious mindfulness mixed with soulful Rap and New Age Jazz
What is considered to be one of the Caribbean’s most innovative musical event, Vujaday Barbados Music Festival has just added 7 more award wining Artists to its 2019 rosta.
Phase 2 award wining artist include: Damian Lazarus, Andhim, Danny Tenaglia, Pony, Gaby Endo, Papa Lu and Roger Silver.
Vujaday Barbados 2019 will take place at different venues all across Barbados, a stunning Caribbean island. The various venues give visitors a new experience each day while they explore the island. The entire festival from staging to marketing and performance is organized by the Confluence Team.
The team includes association with the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, on island security and stage production teams and Ryan Kruger, co-founder of Vujaday. Kruger is also a veteran of festival promotions. He was Managing Director of Electronic Nation, the electronic dance division of Live Nation. In Addition, he is credited as the creator of the leading rave company in Canada.
As the lead media company, Confuence, coordinates all media from launch to digital publicity services: They deliver world class photography and videography using both online and offline strategies.
Vujaday Sampling of New Artists for Phase2
Here is a brief video of the latest artist to join this exciting Island Safari Musical Festival.
Lifestyles of the artisan is a personal project and special interest of Ian R. Clayton. It is a video journal of ordinary and extraordinary people, artist, crafts-persons, farmers, fishers and every day people. They are the artisans that entertain us, feed us and help us in our daily life. Styled after “lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” it brings a different prescriptive to life, style and meaning!
Getting your blog featured on Google News makes a difference in many ways. Not the least is that it automatically notches up your Authority and puts the article in an expert and trusted class. This will improve trust and set you apart from others.
Not all posts will get into news however, as both the quality of the post and the author can have an affect on this. Google will not approve rubbish authors who are known for spam or affiliate marketing and that are not going to make the grade. Your article also has to follow basic standards of journalism.
Major Traffic Boost with Google News
Neil Patel says you can get thousands of clicks to your site from Google News. In fact, he say your visits can jump by over 300%.
“Smart bloggers, news publishers, and digital content marketers are already tapping into this huge resource for targeted traffic and better search engine visibility. As an example, Search Engine Watch increased its average monthly visits from the Google News sitemap by 329%.”
Well, we can’t all be like Search Engine Watch and it’s not likely that a small hotel or your average blogging site will see this kind of return. Being in Google News is certainly going to increase your visibility and traffic. Google News drives 6 billion clicks per month to publishers all over the world. That’s a lot of traffic.
How to Get your Blogs on Google News
You best bet is to work with an author who can do the work for you. You don’t have to be an accredited author to get on the news. As Google says, news is “newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or important events.”
When you look at Google News, you will see that Google is not totally focused on news-related “current events” content. There is now a level playing field for bloggers and all digital media publishers who have quality content and good insights. Style, substance and good journalism still matter. Honesty and objectivity are essential to making it to the newsstand.
It’s vital that your articles are properly structured with links to other quality sites using anchor texts and meta tags that are descriptive and not promotional. It helps to be an expert and write with an authoritative voice. Good journalists research the subject deeply and do not write for search engine optimization. You will still need to Optimize Your Content for SEO.
You must not however write for the news editors as they will decide if the blog is newsworthy. Editors like information to be in order, by the level of importance. So put your best insights and most interesting points first. It must be original and accurate. Be sure that your sources are impeccable and that you credit all original work.
Use Natural Links & Anchor-text
Linking back to your site from a GNA site must be natural. Keywords inAnchor-Textare often a flag to Google that it is promotional. Many GNA site are using only generic text like: read more, view more, check this, visit here, sitename, site name, sitename.com, www.site.com, this, website, web site, here, this website, click here, BrandName
Promoting Your Blogs and News
You can’t just get in the news and forget it. Like everything else on the Internet, you need to have people looking at it and other sites linking to it.
Blog About Your Featured News
Add an announcement about this to your website blog. Also add it to other sites via Guest Blog and link to it from relevant pages where it will make sense.
As an Example: In the image above, you will see one of our articles on “7 tips on how to plan a smooth vacation“. The image above links to the Google News search page that currently displays the blog. We also linked the actual blog with anchor text that simply says Plan A Smooth Vacation. That gives a valid link that will be tracked by the Google Algorithm and added to its rating.
This is the sort of syndication you need to do to keep your news alive for as long as possible. It will not stay on the news site forever, as news is supposed to be current. However, if it’s a popular article and has good quality links to it, it will get to the top of the list and stay there longer.
Social Bookmarks are not the highest quality authority links but, done right, they will help. A good strategy is to post an announcement of being featured on your top social sites – LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest and Scoop.it. Do more 3rd party bookmarks to the blogs and guest posts you created above. This will create a good chain link structure and boost the ranking for your featured news content.
Get Your Website Google News Approved
Getting Your Site Ready
If your content isn’t news, it will not get approved. Google is looking for content that might appear in Media sites like the NYT and it will not accept content that is for promotional. It will not accept product reviews, hotel promotions, island wedding, tour descriptions, tutorials, job postings, and other non-journalistic informational articles.
According to Google “News content should be timely, authoritative, focus on current events, and attempt to adhere to journalistic standards”
Here a quick summary of several important requirements.
Permanent section headers — No Dynamic organization. Must be permanent and accessible. News should be organization into sections if they cover many topics.
Permanent URLs — For a “news of the day,” page which changes regularly will not be eligible.
HTML format — It must be HTML formatted to best practices. Define the content type, name of your publication, language, access (subscription or registration), genre, publication date (W3C format)
Site Structure- Use a Magazine Style theme with sections for each type of news: Education, Entertainment, Politics, Technology, Tourism and so on.
About Us – Contact Us – Authors – Media Kit Pages
Meta Tags and SEO Optimize. This goes without saying, You have to optimize your page with titles, heading, image-altags, keyword focus and meta-tags.
Site Map -A Google News Sitemap is a great way to further segment your news content.
Navigation and Naming
Don’t call you news site a BLOG. the address you want is NEWS – so for example https://barbados.org/blog is a great site for stroies about island news, activities, tours, visitors stories, reviews and product descriptions. It is not appropriate to just add a NEWS section as it will be diluted with what is essentially not news.
The URL should be Yourbrand.com/News
A distinct Navigation might be
Barbados | Business | Technology | Tourism | Lifestyles | Entertainment | Education
Submitting Your Website to Google News
You need to apply at Google Publishing Center. Google will check that your site qualifies and follows their guidelines. Choose your News Page/Blog to submit and make sure it is newsworthy. Edit out any articles that are not high quality. Google will not accept all self-serving content or anything that is too promotional.
Ian R. Claytons book on DigitalMedia for hotels tourism is in the news and featured in Trade magazines like Travel & Leisure and Travel Weekly along with dozens of other top media outlets. The Press Release is picked up by 400 news sites including by Marketers Media, Wall Street Select, Silicon Valley and many others.
Hotel DigitalMedia Marketing includes tips and case studies on building an online network and sales funnel that delivers results. It shows how to avoid many of the most common mistakes in content marketing that can stop interest dead in its tracks. Vital information on the new Rank Brain and other issues that are essential to understand in the digital world.
Here is the Press Release for Travel & Leisure Magazine
As the Travel & Leisure Press Release says “Digital Media cuts through the hype with real examples and case studies backed up by 20 years of experience and wisdom. Readers will likely find a particular interest in the fact that Ian R. Clayton is an independent consultant giving straightforward unbiased advice. ”
Clayton has a background in Computer Science, graduating with honours studying at McGill and Concordia University in Montreal Canada. Ian has spent years helping clients and colleagues understand the complexities of the new digital landscape.
His passion to help has led him to be a prolific blogger, creating his own bogging and video platform and magazines, while writing educational and how-to books for business owners, managers, marketers and professionals.
Ian R. Clayton, Best-selling author of HOTEL WEBSITE Strategies, has followed up with Book 2 Digital Media Marketing for Hotel & Tourism Hospitality. The book is full of simple, fascinating ways to get ranked on Google, get featured in the press and across all media and ultimately to drive visitors to your SALES Funnel and WEBSITE to close more sales.
It is a book that applies to any industry involved in digital marketing and will give the reader a firm understanding of how to excel using digital media. It includes numerous examples and is animated with illustrations that can apply to any industry.
Ian’s background is in Tourism where he has pioneered in developing leading application and travel initiatives including Tourism Encyclopedias for destination marketing. He is currently working on a new way to personalise the travel experience using personality matching to pair hotels and their guest based on character.
Digital Media Marketing’s examples are specific to hospitality and there are several illustration of hotels and accommodation providers of all types. Angie Bruce, editor, commented: “Digital Media was a pleasant read for me as the writing standard was so good. With such rich content, no doubt it will be extremely valuable to readers in the industry.”
Here is a brief video that puts it into prescriptive.
Like Book 1, WEBSITE it is far more than the average book that shares a few nuggets. It is based on real examples and deep understanding of how digital media can work to your advantage. Ian share tools of the trade that very few suppliers will divulge and that consultants keep to themselves. As one reviewer said: “It’s like hiring a private business consultant. The author shares their experience and offers tips that he’s used in his own business. For example, he advises becoming an expert in your niche. Then goes on to offer branding and SEO strategies.”