Affiliate sites and online travel agencies have kicked brands out of first-page search results, according to a new report by L2.
Across 452 non-branded keywords, TripAdvisor had the highest first-page display rate by a significant portion, and similar sites and online travel agencies (OTAs) dominated the top 10. To make themselves visible to prospective travelers researching online, brands must make themselves visible on these sites and target consumers by region.
“The Google Hotel Ads product mimics a native experience allowing users to comb through reviews, pictures and maps before directly booking through a Google advertiser,” said Grant Torres, research associate at L2. “In effect, users are incentivised to stay on the original search landing page, to gather information about properties, compare pricing and purchase a night in a specific region.
“The regional search product leads a consumer from start to finish down the purchase funnel, making it a highly effective tool for luxury hotels,” he said.
“Luxury Hotels: Regional Search Strategies” examines the performance of L2 index brands across a variety of search components, suggesting solutions to help compete against OTAs and affiliate sites.
Small Luxury Hotels of the World and Four Seasons were the ninth- and tenth-ranked organic sites in L2’s research, appearing on 15 percent and 14 percent, respectively, of first-page results. In paid search, Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton headed the luxury sector category, ranking ninth and tenth, still well behind TripAdvisor and online travel agencies.
TripAdvisor’s dominance by both measures makes it an obvious choice for a partnership. Its emergence as the go-to destination for researching and its more recent partnerships with Priceline-owned Booking.com and various hotel chains, including Marriott, are positioning it to dominate another section of the purchase journey.
Accordingly, L2 has determined that TripAdvisor is an “inevitable” partner for brands as it becomes a one-stop-shop for all travel needs. Marriott has already struck a deal, and it stands to reason that those who can establish a presence on the site earliest have a chance to convert new fans before the competitive field crowds.
While partnerships are one method, L2 also offers other tips to increase visibility on TripAdvisor.