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While several thousands of properties are promoted per destination, the odds of closing a booking aren’t equal for all properties on OTAs and metasearch engines. Indeed, the vast majority of bookings are closed by the ones appearing on the first two search result pages. Although the property’s conversion rate is used as a ranking criterion (distributors are meant to provide users with relevant data), many other factors such as traveler rates, competitive pricing compared to competing distributors or the commission received by the distributor explain the ranking of a particular property. In this context, what steps can hotels take to improve their ranking?
Five tips for more visibility
1. Pricing is crucial
For OTAs and metasearch engines, the attractiveness of the property’s prices is undeniably one of the key factors to attract potential clients to their platform. Hotels must therefore have a rational pricing fitting the standing of their property and their market, but also regarding the booking period (day of the week and season). With prices taking these variables into consideration, hotel managers can be sure to have a competitive pricing, which will multiply their chances of having their property well ranked in user searches.
2. Controlling your distributors without upsetting them
Both rational management, and balance of the relationships with the different distributors must be constantly taken into consideration by hotel managers. They are expected to focus more on the distributors selling their products best, without neglecting the other ones, including OTAs. Over the last couple of years, we’ve noticed in the industry a desire from hotel managers to promote Direct Bookings by offering advantages to the clients booking on their official website (better prices, room upgrades, welcome gifts…), which sometimes caused coercive measures, including a bad ranking on search results. Controlling your distribution combines respecting your contractual agreements with distributors and your own interests as a hotel manager.
3. Analyzing, and using data wisely
Hotel management tools keep getting more accessible, thus helping hotel managers anticipate many trends and implement actions to optimize their outcomes. However, this analysis must use the right data for the decisions to have the sought after impact, including a good treatment from OTAs and metasearch engines. In the next years, we shall see a high number of actions from hotel managers based on data analytics, even for the smallest aspects.
4. Some attractive, and up-to-date content
The goal of OTAs and metasearch engines is to provide the users of their platform with the best possible experience. For that purpose, the content they show from properties – photos and descriptions in particular – must be perfect. According to the numbers provided by Expedia, a comprehensive description of the room (instead of a brief one as it’s sometimes the case) may increase the odds of a booking by 5%, which will undoubtedly impact the property’s ranking. Hotel managers must therefore offer some quality, comprehensive, and regularly-updated content to expect to appear on the first two pages of search results.
5. Having a good reputation does help!
Properties’ ratings are an increasingly important factor in their rankings by OTAs. It’s actually one of the most used types of filters. Therefore, hotel managers must give this factor the consideration it deserves by asking their clients at the end of their stay to add a rating and/or a comment about their stay. Furthermore, they should reply to all comments – negative ones in particular! – so they can defend themselves in case of defamation by a client. The higher the user ratings, the better your ranking will be since OTAs must provide users with quality information before everything.
Despite the power OTAs, and metasearch engines have regarding search results, hotel managers can take actions to see their property climb up in the rankings. They just have to watch the factors that really make a difference.