How to Create an Effective Hotel Web Design to Boost Direct Bookings
By Katarina Puckett Vice President of Marketing, Travel Tech Strategies | June 12, 2016
In today's highly competitive hospitality market, hotel owners need to make use of every possible resource that can give them a marketing advantage. A hotel website certainly falls into that category –correctly formatted, it can be the most effective marketing resource that hotel owners have at their disposal.
Hotel marketing strategies have evolved in recent years, moving from offline promotion methods such as print ads and television spots to focus primarily on online marketing methods. This has served to increase the importance of effective hotel website design, as a hotel's website serves as the heart and foundation of its online marketing strategies.
Hotel owners are no longer just competing against each other for bookings. They now face stiff competition from the large OTAs (online travel agencies) such as Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline, etc. These massive aggregators are wielding their marketing might to give them the advantage in the bookings war – and their efforts are paying off.
OTAs now capture a large percentage of the bookings that used to go directly to hotels. Google's landmark Travelers' Road to Decision report revealed that on average, one in three leisure travelers and one in two business travelers book their travel reservations through an OTA.
This puts hotel owners in a delicate position, as the OTAs may generate some reservations that the hotel would not have otherwise have booked. Also, by not listing their hotel on the OTA site, some owners feel they are essentially sending a whole pool of potential guests to book a stay with their competitors.
However, since these online travel agencies typically charge hotels anywhere from 12% to 18% or even more for every reservation, having OTAs intercept hotel bookings is a serious threat that can severely damage a hotel's bottom line. After weighing the options, most hotel owners make the decision to work with OTAs.