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How to sell the direct booking and still leverage the reach of Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)
You want my parents.
Every hotelier would want my parents.
They travel for pleasure… a lot. At least six times each year, often more. They leave in a car from Florida with no return date and are gone for weeks at a time. They drive because they enjoy the flexibility to stay an extra day here, or take a detour to explore something new over there. They are a DMO site’s dream.
They have been to every national park, almost every state, and have regions they love and loyally return to year after year. As I write this, they are spending a week in Maine showing my sister and her family their favorite places… restaurants, attractions, scenic drives…and, importantly, resorts. The same...
The pendulum always swings back.
Information overload has officially arrived.
Mindfulness, tuning in to the present – the act of shutting out the noise competing for one’s attention – has become a “thing.” A thing that must be taught, studied and diligently practiced to achieve. Where once we endeavored to improve our golf swing or up our tennis game, now it seems we must employ techniques to train ourselves to avoid distraction.
So, cruelly, just as technology has evolved to bring us visually dynamic functionality – like parallax scrolling, which allows for multidirectional navigation and wonderfully creative, narrative-driven websites with integrated streaming video...
Last week, some hotel properties received their first booking from an IATA registered to Google.
From a company whose latest innovations are eagerly anticipated, this major event happened without the typical online chatter and hyper-dissection, seemingly catching industry insiders and resort revenue managers by surprise.
Booking on Google
As the Google-registered IATA suggests, Google is testing a means of getting the credit – and therefore the commission and booking fee – rather than delivering the customer to a third party to complete the booking and simply collecting the click-thru fee. The transaction (including payment) is taking place entirely on Google, facilitated by an integration with Sabre accessing the resort’s commissionable rates through SynXis.
By partnering with Sabre – one of the leaders in hotel CRS systems – Google is...
If your business were retail, you wouldn’t dream of advertising a Grand Opening before you had inventory on the shelves. Before you open your doors, you would identify the products your customers need and want and you would stock your shelves in anticipation of their arrival.
In the travel industry, your website is your retail store. Do you have content on the shelves? Are you stocked with the information necessary to make a sale? Can potential customers browse your storefront and find what they are looking for? Or are you, like many others, sending customers to the store without giving them something to buy?
Without content, your store is empty. True, PPC or paid search will bring traffic, which is great—but content is what drives the sale. Content allows you to align with your customer’s needs (i.e. a beachfront hotel in Florida with family suites)...
Attention, interest, credibility, desire, action. The goal of advertising hasn’t changed much in the last century—it’s the delivery method that has changed dramatically. In the travel planning cycle, this can be envisioned as a broad-mouthed funnel with a multitude of increasingly narrow routes. Each decision point or search refinement offers an opportunity for marketers to capture the attention of future guests. Understanding that all resorts have unique need periods, audience mixes, marketing objectives and media budgets, there is no standard formula to determine the right mix of online and offline spend. However, there are several considerations which can be weighed to guide you in crafting the right media mix for your particular property.
Prioritize your goals
With the goal ultimately to produce revenue, branding messages should be...