This chart says it all; Travelers are searching for Brands over hotel keywords now. All top 9 travel related search terms are brands and the leading brand being searched is are the OTAs, with Expedia leading the pack!
Top Search Terms are OTA Brands & Airlines
At position 10 is the only non brand terms and its for air, not hotels or destinations. That all changed for what it was just a few years ago. Its disturbing for hotels who are striving to boost their direct bookings and avoid paying heavy commissions to the OTA. More importantly as the chart suggests tourism suppliers are loosing identity to OTAs, meaning that OTA who are increasingly taking ore and more bookings, are also winning the hearts and minds of travel shoppers. And of course once they book with that OTA, loyalties shift from hotel to their supplier partners.
‘Expedia’ the most searched travel term online, generated 32.7 million organic searches from January to November 2015.
Companies not getting searched not likely to get direct bookings
Pascal Cohen, SimilarWeb insights manager, said: “In any industry, organic searches are a major barometer of brand recognition and trust. That is one huge share of the more than 40% of travel companies generate traffic from search, companies not getting searched for are unlikely to generate bookings. He adds that “Understanding the right keywords driving traffic to sites can make a major impact on a company’s success in this competitive market.”
Hotels loosing Ground to OTAs
All this means that Hotels are more that ever being driven to OTAs because of their growing brand recognition over the hotels own brand id and website. Hotel are in jeopardy of loosing control of the market and becoming a commodity on the travel marketplace. Google itself has seen the writing on the wall and suggests that hotels do more to build their own brand. It’s also the reason why Travelers Search for OTA Brands not Hotel Keywords!