When travel shoppers moved to the internet to plan their trips, searching broad queries via search engines was the favoured way to start the travel shopping process. During the past 5 years this approach is changing as Google Insight has seen a steady decline in the use of broad queries on search engines – such as “hotels in New York” – for researching, planning and booking travel.
The growth of meta-search systems and OTA’s may be to blame for this decline. Shoppers are using these sites throughout all stages in the travel shopping process due to their simplicity, sorted results and ability to book directly from the site.
What does this shift in search mean for your hotel?
To start, you should ensure that your hotel is being showcased on OTA’s and meta-search sites in a way that a) shows your hotel and the story of your hotel in its best light; b) is engaging and compelling enough to motivate consumers to book your hotel.
Online travel shoppers want to see visual content that tells a hotel’s story. Regardless of the site that they are using, travelers will want to ‘experience’ a hotel before they decide to book. A proven way to do this is to use visuals. A study we conducted with a major North American hotel chain tracked the behavior of one million online travel shoppers and found that viewing virtual tours and videos makes them 67% and 89% more likely to book, respectively.
Once you have developed engaging multimedia for your hotel you need to ensure that it is being displayed across thousands of channels and websites and in front of millions of online travel shoppers. Consumers are using OTA’s and meta-search sites more frequently, so make sure that your media is being displayed consistently across them (in addition to displaying it on your brand and/or vanity website). You may want to tailor your story to a website’s audience – for example you might display your hotel differently on a Managed Travel site (like Concur) as opposed to leisure site – but they must be consistently visually compelling. The best should be everywhere.
Take control of the message that third-party sites are sending to consumers about your hotel. Tell your story in the way that you want it to be told.
At VFM Leonardo we are committed to innovation and keeping up with up to date with the developments of the travel industry. Our VBrochure enables hoteliers to better merchandise their hotels wherever travel shoppers are shopping online. It includes an industry-leading multi-media player that is distributed across the largest network of travel and travel related websites in the industry. You’re your hotel’s story and showcase it with images, videos and virtual tours to ensure that your hotel is always presented in its best light with consistent and engaging content online.