According to a recent ReviewPro webinar survey, 83% of hoteliers said they are focused on converting OTA users into direct bookers. Another poll during the event also found that 59% percent of hoteliers think that their current OTA strategy is just ok. Clearly the path to direct channel bookings is challenging for hospitality professionals, and though it’s certainly everyone’s priority, there is much work to be done.
There are several phases of the travel shopping journey that all contribute to the hotel shopper’s final decision, but none as important to the end game as:
1) Be found
2) Once found, be compelling enough that your property stays top of mind as they click around looking for the best experience at the right price
3) Lead them to your booking engine
Leonardo provides purpose-built digital marketing solutions that drive consumers down the purchase path to the ideal destination – your direct channels. Our solutions compliment those of Triptease, a platform designed to optimize your website and booking engine to drive more direct bookings. We’re excited to team up with Triptease next month at their Direct Booking Summit in Washington D.C., where we’ll share our best practices for how to affect purchase intent and drive direct bookings.
I recently sat down with Charlie Osmond, Chief Tease at Triptease (don’t you just love that title?) to discuss the mission of Triptease and why they’re hosting this Summit.
Darlene: Great to speak with you Charlie. What’s new?
Charlie Osmond, Triptease: Well, I recently moved over to New York from London and what a journey it’s been! I love the pace of life and more importantly the coffee. We’ve been expanding our office here and developing relationships with some of the big American hotel chains that are seeing great boosts in the direct bookings using our tools.
How do you think the OTAs will react to Triptease?
OTAs deliver tremendous value to consumers. We love OTAs when they are delivering incremental revenue to hotels. But there are clear dangers in over-reliance on the OTA channel and many hoteliers talk of undue pressure from some players. Healthy levels of direct bookings are essential to ensure fair play and they also offer the ability to deliver improved guest experiences. We’re here to help hotels worldwide increase their profitability and improve their relationships with guests.
Are hotels being punished by pushing for direct?
We have seen evidence of hotels being punished or threatened for their efforts to increase direct bookings. There is cause for concern. The retaliation is understandable as the OTAs know, all things being equal, consumers prefer to book direct. A study by Koddi shows that if the hotel price is the same price as the OTA, 65% of consumers would choose to book directly with the hotel. But that’s not all. The same experiment also proved that even in scenarios where there isn’t price parity, more than half of consumers still prefer to book direct. Therefore, if hotels can improve their online experience, they will get more direct bookers.
We’ve witnessed OTA-dimming (where a property has imagery and other assets removed from the OTA search results). This is harming the OTA booking experience and is unsustainable as more groups and independents make an effort to drive direct. As hotels continue to make a significant push to promote more and more transparency to guests, the lack of transparency elsewhere will be a deterrent to certain consumers.
What’s the Direct Booking Summit about?
This event is not just a conference. It’s a call-to-arms. We all know the big hotel groups are taking action, but what about the rest of the industry? How should they be working to increase direct bookings? What’s working and what’s not?
Our goal is to build momentum for the shift to direct. To facilitate a conversation between hoteliers and to share best practice. This will help hotels improve guest experience and increase direct bookings as a result.
Earlier this year, we hosted the Direct Booking Summit EU in London, and we’re very proud to say it was the very first of its kind. This September 13-14, we’re hosting the Direct Booking Summit in Washington D.C., a two-day event that includes more talks with industry experts, as well as personalized, in-depth seminars and workshops.
Who is coming?
Already lined up we have Alexander Pyhan, VP, Global Distribution of Marriott International; Bill Linehan, VP & CMO of Red Lion Hotel Groups; Greg Duff, Chairman of GSB’s Hospitality, Travel and Tourism Law Practise; Rafat Ali, CEO and Founder of Skift, you of course Darlene, VP of Best Practices at Leonardo, and many more. You can see all of our speakers, the agenda, and more information about the event at www.directbookingsummit.com
Is there an offer for our readers?
Yes, there is! Hoteliers can get 15% discount on tickets by using the promo code DIRECTDISCOUNT15 when booking.
Awesome, thanks for your time Charlie. We’ll see you at the Summit in September!