For years, hospitality revenue managers have been clamoring to reclaim the direct hotel booking from the online travel agency (OTA). As Revinate recently addressed in the How to Drive Direct Bookings webinar, the cost of direct bookings ($2 to $6) vs. OTA bookings ($40 to $120) can have a major impact on hotel profitability. With high commissions to pay and a diminished ability to build brand loyalty with the customer, hoteliers have come to a universal understanding that, in an ideal scenario, a customer booking direct is preferable.
Given this industry norm, TripAdvisor has just opened up, for the first time, the ability for any hotel property to participate in its “Show Prices” cost-per-click (CPC) advertising program. Until this point, this powerful hotel rate tool – which Hospitality eBusiness Solutions (HeBS) reports generated over one billion clicks last year alone – was only available for OTAs and large hotel chains that could support the significant required advertising spend. Now, any hotel property – whether you are brand affiliated or independent – can participate at a far less cost-prohibitive starting point of $500/month.
What kind of impact can this kind of advertising model make? According to HebS’s recent case study, independent hotels, casinos and resorts that took advantage of TripAdvisor’s CPC program averaged between 1000% – 1500% return on average spend. By participating in the program, each property was able to directly send traffic to its respective booking engine and website, thereby leveling the OTA playing field and offering site visitors a direct booking option. The program championed by HeBS includes a mix of “Show Prices” CPC, property CPC (which appear on the right-hand column of the property page), and amenities and images (AIM) CPC functionality.
In close, this exciting new functionality, coupled with TripAdvisor’s massive user base of 54 million monthly visitors and over 75 million reviews, represents a significant marketing opportunity, catering to a travel-searching audience with purchase intent on the mind. As you prepare your 2013 hotel marketing budgets, mark this opportunity for worthwhile consideration.