Hotels are losing more and more bookings to online travel agencies now more then ever, and some hoteliers are scratching their heads wondering why. There are quite a few reasons for this. Travelers are wanting to get more information on their lodging choices. They want to know where the hotel is located, what events are being held in the area, what businesses the hotel is located next too, etc. Major brands do not do this correctly on there brand.com websites. Brands have been more focused on marketing there brands and over all company then marketing individual hotels. The online travel agencies also known as OTA's are doing this for every hotel that is in their system. They are building a strong online presence not only around their brand, but also around your hotel, which means that the content from the OTA's are more likely to be seen then your information on your hotels website.
If you do a search for your hotel in your local area, look at the search results. If you have not invested in creating a strong local online presence of your hotel, your going to see more ads, listings and content created by large OTA's such as Expedia and Priceline.com. Did you know that Priceline bought a hotel website marketing company that is now called Booking Suite? Why they are creating an online presence for your hotel, they are still getting 15% commissions why taking guests that would normally book directly with the hotel to their websites, and booking channels. Causing you to loose out on revenue and profits.
Hotels in the US will see a strong rise in occupancy this year, but will also be loosing in profits due to the fact that the OTA's are now starting to gain over 40% of online bookings due to there marketing efforts. Why most independent hotels depend on OTA's for there online bookings it does not have to be this way. Whether your a hotel that is with a large brand, or an independent hotel that has no flag, you can still take back bookings from the OTA's and send them to your lowest cost channel which is your own website or your brand.com website.
While hotels need to still do a local marketing effort by calling on local businesses, and reaching out to event coordinators, having a strong online presence is crucial now for any hotels success and profitability. Being on Social Media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and having a blog are necessary tools for operating a hotel now and well into the future. Keeping up with online reviews, making sure your reputation is being well managed, and that you have current and consistent information on all booking channels is a must!
I have heard from some hoteliers and management companies that they are shutting down there social media pages, because the brands they are associated with are already doing there social media marketing. I can't tell you how truly wrong they are in this way of thinking. So we went and looked at various brand social media pages and what we discovered is that they are promoting the brand, promoting their loyalty programs, and promoting just a few hotels that are in heavy travel resort destinations. They are not promoting your hotel or your local area. Most brand.com websites have events posted on your hotels page, that don't even happen in your area. So for these companies and hotels that say there brand is marketing them on social media and so they will shut down there pages because they don't have the time to manage them properly, are making a big mistake and handing the business over to OTA's or even worse there competition.
So if your looking to take back your bookings to where you make the most profit, you need to have a strong online presence. What will be even better is hiring an online sales team. Now before you think that your going to increase your payroll, and that its just another added cost, you need to look at your Start Report, and drive around your area and look at other hotels parking lots. Is your hotel gaining market share or are you loosing out to your competition who might have a stronger online presence then you. Then look at your P&L from the past years, and see where your booking and reservation costs are rising. Then ask yourself can you not afford to hire an online sales team?
Hiring an online sales team by utilizing a company that has experience in marketing hotels is not going to cost you a fortune as the services they provide will be driving traffic to your lowest cost booking engine, and gaining more travelers viewing your hotel online so you can gain new guests. Increase bookings and profits.