If you are like most hotel owners, you have a muddled relationship with OTAs. On the one hand, OTAs (online travel agencies) do bring in bookings for your hotel, and a certain percentage of those bookings are from guests who might otherwise never have found your hotel . That’s the up side of dealing with the OTAs. On the other hand, these behemoths have leveraged their sheer size and marketing might to snag the top spots in hospitality searches – even searches that involve your hotel’s name and brand. The OTAs often divert guests who were specifically searching for your hotel to their own site and booking engine, with the result that you end up paying these agencies as much as 12% to 18% for a booking that should have been yours in the first place! That’s the down side of dealing with the OTAs.
For better or worse, the OTAs are here to stay. While there’s no way to prevent OTAs from exercising their booking power to influence the success of your hotel’s online marketing strategies, Travel Tech Strategies can employ a number of techniques that will help you reclaim your hotel brand. When you have a strong online presence and a solid hotel brand, prospective guests are more likely to take the extra time to verify that they are dealing directly with you.
Auditing your hotel’s digital assets
The first step in Travel Tech’s OTA analysis and recovery protocol is to perform a complete digital audit. Too many hotels have had their reputations damaged because they did not keep tight control of their digital assets. How many vendors and in-house staff have access to your digital assets’ logins and passwords? Have you kept track of who could access your accounts and changed your passwords every time there was a change in employees and vendors? All it takes is a single disgruntled employee or larcenous vendor to take control of your Twitter account or review site; once they start damaging your reputation and ruining your relationships with guests, the OTAs will have no problem reigning supreme over your online bookings.
Travel Tech Strategies can put security measures in place that will strictly limit who has access to every social media site, website, blog, and email account associated with your hotel. We will monitor and track your accounts and establish a new password protocol to bring your digital assets back under your control.
Securing your hotel’s online assets
Have you claimed all the online assets that should belong to your hotel? Taking complete ownership of all of the online assets that properly belong to your hotel will help you defend your brand against the predatory practices of the OTAs . If you have left one or more of these online assets unclaimed, you have left the door open for another entity to take control of your name. When that happens, it is not just inconvenient; it is actually damaging to your bottom line as it weakens your brand and can lead to a loss of revenue.
Travel Tech Strategies is adept at tracking down all of your online assets. We’ll hunt through search engines and sites across the web to find every result that should be under your hotel’s control. We’ll examine directories and social media strategies to verify that you are the listed owner and all information is correct in every listing in which your hotel appears. We’ll verify that logos, photos, and all other images associated with your hotel are correct and flattering. We’ll make sure every video is correctly attributed and linked to your hotel. We’ll comb through everything we can find online that is associated with your hotel and brand name to make sure we leave behind nothing that could create a negative impression with prospective guests.
Analyzing your bookings
In order to successfully take control of your hotel brand, you need to understand how travelers are finding your hotel. Guests leave behind a lot of information that can help you target them more accurately. Travel Tech Strategies can mine big travel data to find out critical information such as how and where guests seek information before booking, what devices they are using, what time and where they are booking their reservations, and more. Once we assemble all the pertinent information, we’ll turn it into actionable intelligence so you can refine your marketing strategies, make them more effective, and begin reclaiming your bookings.
Protecting your hotel brand name
Are the OTAs getting more marketing mileage out of your hotel’s name than you are? When a prospective or returning guest searches for your website online, will they be directed to your site or will they be redirected to one of the OTAs? All too often, when a guest searches for a hotel’s name on the Internet, the first results that appear on Google and the other search engines do not lead to the hotel’s own website. Instead, these valuable top spots are occupied by the OTAs – meaning that even when a prospective guest tries to deal directly with your hotel, they are instead waylaid and end up on one of these aggregator sites. Since you have to pay a booking fee of anywhere from 12% to 18% to the OTAs, this is taking money directly out of your pocket. Even worse, once these prospects end up on the OTAs, they may be tempted by pricing and other incentives to book with a competitor. Suddenly a guest who had decided to book with your hotel is now staying with your competition.
Travel Tech Strategies can help you protect your hotel’s brand name. We are experienced at dealing with Google and the other search engines, and can help you navigate their requirements to claim your name in every possible format. We can add coding to your website so that it displays more information in search results, which will help lead guests to choose your site. Through trademarking, social media marketing, and other strategies, we can help you build a self-sustaining marketing eco-system that will establish a wider web presence for your hotel that is independent of the OTAs. This in turn will help you regain bookings so you can claim a larger portion of your own market share.
When you are ready to start reclaiming your hotel bookings, give Travel Tech Strategies a call. We’ll put our OTA analysis services to work for you to give you a greater understanding of how and where your bookings are coming from, and we’ll help you reclaim your hotel brand. Our dedicated hotel marketers will combine this with our hotel social marketing, mobile marketing, and other hotel web marketing services to create a powerful online presence for your hotel and a solid hotel brand.
Travel Tech Strategies is a forward-thinking market leader providing the travel industry with in-depth Big Data analysis