Hotels, it’s time to send your OTA’s a thank you note. It turns out you may be getting more business from Expedia, Orbitz and the gang than previously thought–and better yet, it’s business booked directly on your brand website. According to a recent study by Chris Anderson, an assistant professor and PhD at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, “a hotel’s listing on Expedia increased total reservation volume by 7.5 to 26 percent depending on the hotel.” This is great news for all the hotels who begrudgingly relinquish their room inventory each month to the heavily commissioned likes of the OTAs. The study details the true impact of the “Billboard Effect” of a hotels listing within the OTAs, and emphasizes the influence that an online advertisement has on the purchasing decision of a consumer on the hotel’s official brand website.
The experiment, which analyzed consumer behavior related to 1,720 IHG hotel bookings on Expedia, determined that for each reservation made on Expedia between three and nine additional reservations were made on the official hotel brand website. This means that it’s imperative that your hotel make the most of its listing on each of the major OTAs. Load compelling photography, compose inviting copy, encourage customer reviews and work with your OTA marketing manager to determine what it takes to put your hotel listing at the top of the charts. And most importantly, send your OTA a gift basket.