This post is also available in: Spanish
Skift recently published this article about Google jumps into the OTA business by partnering with an online distributor/globalizer.
“For hotels, the commission program means they are likely to get more conversions from Google when travelers book directly in Google Search, Google+ or Google Maps because consumers aren’t getting lost in the handoff from Google to the hotel website. On the other hand, hotels in this scenario must share revenue with Google and Sabre, and may choose instead to focus on attracting direct bookings of their own instead of going the revenue-share route.”
This means that Google will allow users to book directly on Google.com without ever entering to the hotel’s website, all for a substantial fee.
Such a mechanism is very similar to Tripconnect’s Instant Booking service. Initially, Tripadvisor allowed travelers to go from TripAdvisor to the hotel’s website to book directly from there (it still does) on a Cost Per Click basis, but now TripAdvisor is encouraging hotels and software providers to only use Instant Booking, explaining that travelers get lost when taken from Tripadvisor.com to the official hotel’s website, which by definition, does not make sense, because travelers willingly click on a button that says: OFFICIAL SITE.
When ally becomes foe
Google’s main source is in the content of webpages and blogs around the world.
One of tripadvisor.com’s main resources are hotels and the reviews guests write about them.
In both cases, if hotels keep doing nothing, they are just allowing both giants to make profit upon the hotel’s content. To put it in other words, this is like if 1 out of 3 guests checked-out without paying the bill. 33%, that’s a lot of money thrown away.
Hotelier: here’s how to generate inbound reservations at a fraction of the cost.
Almost very big city around the world is offering the same stores (H&M), coffee shops (Starbucks) and restaurants. But we all know that our city has more to offer than the same “old” places.
As we published in That one Airbnb’s secret that hoteliers should know: Concierge 3.0 hoteliers should invest 1 hour a day (yes, just one hour a day) in generating travel content about their city’s attractions because Travelers spend at least 3 hours navigating the internet to make informed decisions, so be there for them.
Also, remember Google and other Search Engines still increase your search result index based on new content on your website. Here’s how to get more traffic to your website that will convert to reservations.
Blog about your city.
Blog about events, write about independent restaurants (not necessarily your own), create unique content that travelers want to read.
Partner up with local bloggers and journalists to generate rich authentic content. You will be impressed how many visits you can generate to the hotel’s website within weeks of having a blog (155% average increase when hoteliers start to blog about their city).
If you are looking for an agency to set up your hotel website or travel blog, hyperweb.ninja can do that with great quality, affordable rates and fast online. For complex SEM and CPC management, Vertical.Makerting is an agency that specializes in Online Marketing.
Create Multi lingual content
Make sure your blog has multi-lingual capability (check WPML Plugin for WordPress) so you can translate your content in different languages.
Use platforms like Fiverr or Elance to professionally translate content into different languages at an affordable rate.
Use specific reviews
Reviews provided by tripadvisor.com are the same for every hotel since they don’t make specific questions to the guests. Everybody is asked the same questions, but if your hotel offers differentials, travelers cannot talk about them on conventional channels.
Use your internal guest review system to ask your guests to review about the unique things your hotel has to offer.
If you don’t have a Review System, you can use Survey Monkey or hotelRSV’s Guest SmartReview software which allows hoteliers to prepare their own reviews, send them automatically upon guests departure; when guests respond, it’s algorithm detects level of positiveness to post their review on social networks or to warn the hotel that the guest has complaints and needs to be contacted ASAP.
Have Call-to-Actions to convert a hot lead into a reservation
When your customers feel they have enough information, they will buy. So have them a RESERVE NOW button ready at hand. These buttons are referred to as Call-to-actions, but at hotelRSV we call them call to reservations. We offer hoteliers a Link Builder and a Button Generator to be used on their website, newsletters, chat agents.
Reduce the time from look to book by having call-to-reservations strategically placed in your website. Not too many, not too few, one every 400 words is a good rule of thumb.
Parity rate or less on your own website (use coupons wisely)
Travelers will abandon your booking engine if your rates are higher than on an OTA. That’s a fact (analytics.novohit.com). So offer the same rate or less on your site.
How can you offer a rate lower than “parity rate”?
Discount Coupons are great way to convince travelers to book on your website. You can also do special offers when travelers visit your website or your Facebook page.
hotelRSV offers a Coupon Generator that hoteliers can use to offer special discounts when travelers book on their website.
Your webmaster or web agency can help you locate coupons strategically. Even offering a 10% discount to your website visitors is cheaper than allowing them to book on OTAs or not to book at all.
And coupons are still within your parity rate clauses.
Technology should make things faster, cheaper and better. Not the other way around.
hotelRSV delivers the latest technologies (like Apple Watch integration) to every hotel, boutique or apart hotel in the world. More than 1.9 million travelers book using our technologies. Zero setup fees. Outstanding ROI.