Using OTAs is an easy and effective marketing tool that helps increase online presence. Even though OTAs won’t guarantee you a build up for average daily rates (ADR), which is a hospitality industry metric that measures the average amount paid per room over the total rooms occupied over that period, it is essential for the “Billboard effect” and for having a holistic hotel online marketing strategy. The “Billboard effect” explains online booking sites, such as OTAs affect the exposure on your hotel, therefore increasing sales.
The following four steps will help you increase your property’s exposure:
1. Update Content Regularly
You must be able to keep your listing information, photos, room amenities and policies up-to-date. This will ensure you show up in the proper search results and keep the visitors informed about your hotel.
2. Open Up Availability and Ensure Rate Parity
While larger hotel brands rely on brand agreements for availability of room inventory and rate parity, smaller ones should be careful with rates and inventory. By ensuring that your hotel listing is in parity with your brand reservations and other OTAs, you will help increase your listing visibility organically too and also maximize your exposure.
3. Evaluate Distressed Inventory
A strong strategy helps address the problems of bookings and inventory and helps with the online campaign and to increase exposure, along with a sale cycle. An example is if you are trying to target sales in a certain time, use channels and mobile app sites that specialize in this type of bookings and services.
4. Use Targeted (pay-per-click) Ads
An effective way to increase hotel exposure are the targeted ads o also known as pay-per-click ads on search engine results. Ads in websistes such as Expedia TravelAds or Sponsored Search on Travelocity and Orbitz are very effective for hotels, regardless of whether your hotel’s organic ranking in the OTA search results is high or low. On the other hand, if you rank poorly, ads will give you the opportunity to be listed higher than your organic listing in comparison with your competition.
Strategies in OTAs should not be a priority, but the fact of having full and adecuate presence through them will not only lead to an increase in exposure but also to an increase of direct bookings generated, just because of an increased level of visibility of your hotel in these channels.