Earlier this year, we conducted a proprietary research study to be sure we understood the latest hotel marketing trends. A total of 2,207 travelers who take at least 1.5 leisure vacations each year responded, giving us incredible insight into how consumers are planning and booking their vacations.
One of the big challenges when it comes to online destination marketing is the scourge of online travel agencies. Here are a few key things to understand about them:
• 50 percent of all online travel purchases are made through OTA websites such as Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz.
• 20 percent of all hotel bookings are made through OTA sites.
• 12 percent of leisure travelers go to an OTA first to begin planning a vacation.
To take a deeper look at the consumer behavior around travel and hotel marketing, we recently surveyed more than 2,000 leisure travelers who take at least 1.5 vacations a year. Here’s what our survey found about the top ways travelers are using online travel agencies:
Of those who use OTAs to plan their vacations:
1. 45% use them to price compare, then book directly with the resort, hotel, etc.
2. 29% use OTAs only to book hotels
3. 19% use OTAs to book a combination of hotel/airfare/car rentals for trips
4. 5% use them to book only airfare
5. 2% use them to book car rentals only
So while there are a variety of uses for online travel agencies, if you’re concerned about the online marketing strategy for your hotel, you clearly can’t ignore OTAs.
So what should you do to optimize the online travel agencies to get the most bookings for your hotel? First, download your free copy or our Hotel Marketing Guide, where we outline marketing strategies for OTAs, social media and more.
Next, take a look at these key areas:
• Visual presence on the OTAs. Are there plenty of compelling photos of your property? Is your hotel presented in a good light?
• Detail on the OTAs. Provide detailed descriptions on the OTAs. Work with them, not against them. Give information about the local areas.
• Remember first impressions. There’s a chance the OTA may be the consumer’s first impression of your property, so spend as much time as you need making sure you get it right on the big players.