Standing out online can be challenging in the competitive world of online travel agencies (OTAs). With 75% of traffic on Expedia going to the first 15 hotels listed, improving your OTA conversion rate is crucial for your property’s ongoing profitability.
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and stay up to date
Here are 8 tips to boost your OTA performance:
Get Higher on the Page
There are two ways to improve your property’s ranking on the OTA search engine results page (SERPs):
Advertising: Paying for premium placement as a “top pick” on OTA search results can be beneficial, potentially leading to 20% more bookings. This approach requires careful monitoring of ROI, especially during the trial phase, to ensure that the increased cost of acquisition (approximately 5% more) is justified.
Organic Search: Boosting page ranking organically involves maintaining a high conversion rate, which OTAs favor when determining a hotel’s page position. This rate is determined by the ratio of bookings to clicks on the hotel’s listing. Regularly updating the hotel’s OTA profile with high-quality content can improve ranking and bookings.
However, these strategies are not straightforward. OTAs consider long-term booking potential and prefer hotels that offer substantial booking capacity on their platforms. Therefore, providing more room inventory can lead to a higher search result position. It’s suggested that hotels not at full capacity on specific dates should allocate all available rooms to OTAs to increase their ranking.
An exception exists for city hotels in major tourist destinations, as offering too much inventory at low prices to boost rankings can backfire if unexpected events lead to a sudden increase in demand. A balanced approach between OTA inventory and direct sales is recommended for these types of hotels to mitigate those risks.
Your Images are Worth 1000 Words
Studies done by the OTAs have proven that high-resolution, emotionally engaging photographs are the most effective content for converting lookers into bookers. Your images should enable guests to imagine themselves at the property, enjoying their stay, as that emotional connection will result in a booking. Photos that depict the property’s amenities accurately, including rooms, bathrooms, common areas, pools, and restaurants, in detail, are particularly influential; in fact, 60% of travelers consider images of bathrooms necessary, indicating that even these less glamorous details matter to potential guests.
The significance of high-quality photos grows with the price point of the hotel. While budget accommodations may focus on practical features, luxury hotels need to showcase their opulence and comfort through their images to justify higher rates.
In short, the better the quality of the photographs, the higher the likelihood of selling more rooms.
The Words Matter
Rich, descriptive, and factual text detailing what guests will experience drives bookings. Avoid flowery language; focus on clear, sales-oriented content that outlines the key benefits of staying at your property. If budget allows, hire a professional copywriter to fine-tune your property’s description to be as engaging as possible.