So, I bet if I ask you what your main concerns are as hoteliers when battling OTAs, there would be two responses…
- The level of commission
- The stranglehold of rate parity
Well, you have actually more to worry about. Let me point it out – in the small print I mean…
This issue is known as Mirror Marketing – the fancy term for bidding on your name on the search engines.
Yep, you know the way these pesky OTAs always seem to appear above you on Google when you search for your own hotel brand name – that is Mirror Marketing.
So, right above your own brand name, OTAs are claiming that top spot. And guess what, not all our customers realise that they are not on your own site and are in fact being pushed off somewhere else.
I recently conducted a survey in a fantastic four-star resort hotel.
Every guest who booked through an OTA was identified before check-in and asked (politely, of course) on arrival, why they had chosen to book online with another online provider and not with the hotel directly.
Overwhelmingly most guests confirmed that they didn’t even realise that they were not on the hotel’s own website.
Now that may seem crazy to us, but don’t forget, the link the OTAs are using with our hotel name at the end, takes a customer right through to information and availability on that specific hotel and NOT a search page with multiple hotels.
So it could be within the realms of possibility that a lot of these people – if they are not frequent travellers, actually don’t understand the world of online travel agents and might just think they are booking directly.
In short, we are all suffering in the name of mirror marketing.