Digital Marketing

How to Take Back Bookings from OTAs

19th July 2017

At Wired Media we pride ourselves on offering informative social media marketing advice, so read on to see how your brand can benefit.

As previously discussed in our how to beat the OTAs post, many hotels are finding it a struggle to keep up with OTAs. Yet new research has revealed that OTA (Online Travel Agent) bookings are linked to lower guest satisfaction – making this the perfect opportunity for your hotel to become a guardian of the guest experience and take back these bookings from OTAs.

We’ve already talked about how a fully optimised mobile site is crucial in the world of hospitality; not only do you increase direct bookings and revenue but you’re able to offer your potential guests the responsive and smooth engagement they have come to expect from OTAs. So, what is your edge over the ever omnipresent OTAs? Where can you win these guests back? Digital marketing for hotels is not something to be ignored, so when a guest books through an independent travel website or app instead of directly with the hotel, there was an increased chance of them encountering a problem and therefore becoming less satisfied with their stay*.

Should how they book affect their experience? It’s simple – even though these third-party apps and websites are not affiliated with your hotel, they are affiliated with your guests perception of their stay. If problems arise with a reservation, your guest won’t distinguish between the OTA and you – they will see you as one and the same. Explaining away a booking error, though it may genuinely not be you at fault, will be a negative experience for the customer and one that they will not attribute to the OTA. The result? A booking experience outside of your control that has a negative impact on your business and reputation – and you can be sure that your guest will talk about it on social media.

Online marketing for hotels is so important, and there is a solution. By utilising mobile apps and functionality, your hotel can ensure higher guest satisfaction and increase the likelihood of you guests sharing their positive experiences on social media. Don’t forget – social media is a double-edged sword and one that, if mastered, can reap untold benefits for your brand. 86% of people who encountered a problem during their stay were likely to make a post complaining about it on their social media platforms*, but the study also shows that guests are increasingly more likely to share their satisfaction in this way too. By being present on social media, you can make sure that your Hotel stands out amongst the crowd for all the right reasons.

25% of online reservations were made on mobile devices compared to just 14% in 2014*, and while lifestyle and job title play a part in this, you can’t ignore an important fact; guests who are able to easily navigate your mobile optimised website on their phone will have greater loyalty to your brand and in general, be more satisfied.  By offering incentives such as member rewards programmes you can increase your number of direct bookings, allowing you skip over OTA competition.

“By forging direct relationships, hotels can become guardians of the guest experience, but at the centre of these relationships is an establishment’s mobile strategy.”

Rick Garlick, Practice Lead, Travel and Hospitality at J.D. Power

If you need any more help or simply want to chat to us about digital marketing, please give us a call on 0117 930 4365, or drop us an email, we’d love to hear from you.

*Statistics taken from the 2017 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study conducted by J.D. Power