What is the Billboard Effect?
According to the Cornell study, the billboard effect is a marketing and advertising benefit that is afforded to hotels that are listed on OTA’s (Online Travel Agencies) like Booking.com or Expedia. That benefit involves an increase not just in direct bookings but also a boost in searches for the hotel online. In order to quantify the billboard effect the experiment studied a number of properties operated by JHM hotels that are listed on Expedia. Research showed that hotels listed on Expedia saw a substantial increase in direct bookings through the hotels own distribution channels. From this it was concluded that guests who find a preferred hotel on an OTA will then take the time to visit the website directly to gather more detailed information.
How OTA’s can Save You Money
OTA’s make huge advertising investments to bolster and ensure their continued success. While smaller hotels can’t afford this kind of expense, through their listings on these channels, they can stand on the shoulders of these giants to announce their own business and indirectly benefit from OTA’s online visibility. In the study mentioned at the outset, it was found that direct bookings increased between 7.5 and 26% when listed on Expedia – a significant incremental boost in reservations.
Why Does My Website Matter?
The main reasons a consumer will take the time to directly visit the hotels website is to garner more specific information, to compare the hotel rates against the OTA’s and to look at more detailed photos of the property. Because of this the value of a hotels website is incontrovertible and any investment made here will almost certainly be recouped in revenue collected through direct bookings.
Make Your Website Direct-Booking Friendly
It is vital to make sure that your website is visually dominated by professional images of your hotel, particularly flattering photos of your guest rooms. Write content that’s fresh but not text heavy. Be detail oriented and ensure that important information is included and easily located. As competitive pricing is a big factor in securing direct bookings make sure you promote any special offers by featuring them on your home page. OTA listings aside, your website will be the first point of contact and should be user friendly enough to entice your guest to book direct instead of via the OTA. Of course, in order to do this your website will need to facilitate online bookings that also generates trust about the payment process through the website.
This is where we can help. Sirvoy has it’s own booking engine which is easily incorporated into the back end of any website and because it’s PCI compliant you and your guests can be reassured that sensitive information is handled in a safe manner. You can check out more information about how our system can help you achieve more direct bookings by visiting our support pages here.