What is OTA Insight?
Probably the most practical way to gain insights and take control of OTA performance.
We and our clients have been using OTA Insight since years and would gladly recommend it to any hotel management team who are looking for a simplistic yet practical solution to take control of their OTA performance.
OTA Insight collects data from all major OTAs (Booking.com, Expedia, Agoda, Ctrip...) and displays essential information on well organised dashboards:
Rate parity & rate evolution
Going beyond basic rate shoppers, OTA Insight can display rate comparisons based on board basis, as well booking conditions (advance purchase, free cancellation & special conditions). These can be viewed separately on each channel.
Probably most important metric to monitor: ranking on OTAs.
OTA Insight users can observe how their ranking have been evolved, which hotels are in-demand and benchmark everything with their hotel, as well their competitive set.
With a good understanding of OTA ranking, it is easier to optimise Expedia TravelAds an other sponsored listings to improve ranking where it really matters.
Another essential for revenue planning and management. OTA Insight comes with a day-by-day demand calendar which is based on the numbers of searches from all connected OTAs. This feature can be used for better forecasting and to prepare short term pricing strategies based on actual market demand.
Starting at $99 / month, OTA Insight is affordable for every hotel management team that takes their online performance seriously.
As per our agreement between dCommerce and OTA Insight, this tool is included free in our e-commerce consulting package.
To learn more about OTA Insight, visit www.otainsight.com
Short answer: no
In most cases, hotels should not use advertising agencies but manage their campaigns in-house.
Read on to discover why it is a bad idea, as well to discover how hotel advertising can be done right in-house.
During our consulting practice we have been working with hotels, hotel companies of all kind. From groups of five luxury resorts in top destinations to small independent hotels in hidden parts of the world, we have helped numerous companies to get their e-commerce and digital marketing activities optimal and profitable.
Why it is not a good idea?
There are several valid reasons why hotels should manage digital advertising on their own. Most importantly agencies take large premiums which has a negative effect on ROI, especially in case of relatively small budgets hotels allocate on online advertising - but there are several other reasons that make agencies a less optimal choice.
Agencies allocate more efforts to large budget clients
Successful and established digital marketing agencies often deal with large clients with enormous budgets, so naturally they will allocate more time on managing their campaigns. In many cases, campaigns of small budget clients are set up once and that's all - no further optimisation or attention is paid from that point.
Lack of optimisation efforts
Digital marketing campaigns of hotels are often simple compared to e-commerce stores or companies with extensive product lines. Because of this, campaigns of hotels poorly set up, rely on basic keyword selection and targeted to poorly defined audiences which will result in low ROI and poor quality traffic.
These are the main reasons why going with agencies is often a poor decision.
How can hotels manage advertising in-house efficiently?
There are many hotels managing digital advertising efficiently with relatively small budgets and efforts.
Their success depends on five factors, which are:
Knowing your values and identifying groups of people who will happy to pay for such values if half success. Setting up campaigns to target those audiences with relevant advertising is the other part - so if these two are done right then hotels can manage successful online advertising at relatively low costs. Well set up campaigns are can be optimised effortlessly compared to poor campaigns where frequent changes are required.
It sounds much better than paying for an agency, isn't it?
Here at dCommerce, we are happy to support hotels in setting up excellent digital marketing campaigns. With our expertise in advertising management and marketing intelligence technology, we can easily help to identify the right audiences, set up relevant campaigns and leave it in the hands of the hotel marketing team.
What is Expedia TravelAds?
TravelAds is a platform that can help hotels to improve their ranking on Expedia and other OTAs affiliated with Expedia. The platform allows to bid for higher ranking, create customised sponsored listings that stand out from organic OTA listings.
OTA rankings are determined by complex algorithms, prioritising hotels that deliver the most profit to the OTA - taking rates, discounts, promotions, commission, cancellation rates and reviews into consideration. This system makes it difficult to hotels to improve organically, but TravelAds offers the opportunity to bypass all these and place your property among the top of the search results.
As Expedia is investing enormous funds to grow and secure their market share against Booking.com, dominating it and it's affiliates can be one of the best investments hotels can do if they wish to generate additional revenue.
Best practices & strategies
Bidding and optimisation might seem to be a complex procedure but focusing on the below objectives will make advertising management on Expedia TravelAds simple and profitable.
1. Create outstanding ad copy
Communicate why travelers should book your hotel. Refrain from generic phrases like "best price" or "discount". They are looking for the best possible experience they can afford so tell them what will await after checking in. Write about the unique features of the hotel, such as pools, treatments, excellent F&B.
2. Choose the best image
Pick an image that will stand out from the rest. Night photos, pool photos and roomshots are performing the best. Make sure to use high quality images only.
3. Optimise for high ad coverage
Most hotels fail here, as they optimise for ranking. In most cases, going with lower bids will allow you more clicks for less, so your daily budget will last longer. This means more people will see your ads before your budget will be "clicked away". More view equal more clicks and opportunities to get bookings so keep your bids as low as possible to increase ad coverage.
4. Make use of scheduled ads
A brilliant feature of TravelAds is that one can schedule ads based on search date and stay dates. This comes especially handy for festive promotions or boosting demand for low season periods. Custom ad copies can be created for scheduled campaings so make sure that you use it the best possible way.
Include Christmas photos for festive promotions, use beach or pool photos for summer promotions and create create an ad copy that resonates well with the season.
5. Hotel & package bidding
On Expedia TravelAds, it is possible to manage hotel only & package channels separately. Research your destination specific travel trends to understand how people book hotels and flights and optimise your bidding and budget accordingly.
City hotels typically do not benefit from package bidding, while resorts and hotels in holiday destinations are more likely to get additional bookings by bidding on package channels.
Using Expedia TravelAds well can generate amazing additional revenue but keeping it optimised will put your hotel way ahead of the competition. Since it can be managed with budgets as small as $15 / day, there is no reason why not to try it and make it work for your property.