Third-party booking sites or online travel agencies (OTA) have become big competition for hotels and attractions. Around 38% of all travel bookings in 2021 were with third-party websites.1
Hotels and attractions wanting to win back bookings from OTAs should focus their advertising on two things: communicating the benefits of direct booking and creating personalized, customer-centric messages.
Promote the Benefits of Booking Direct
There are downsides to third-party booking. Missed loyalty points, fluctuations in price, and limited ability to reschedule are just a few. Use that to your advantage in your advertising to reinforce the benefits of direct booking.
Loyalty programs offer big benefits for members, plus they help keep visitors loyal to a brand. Over 50% of consumers say they would consider doing more business with a company for loyalty rewards.2 Take action and remind guests those perks are for direct bookers only.
Pricing clarity and value are the top factors in a booking decision.3 Third-party booking sites fluctuate their rates, which can be frustrating for travelers. That’s why 60% of vacationers say they always bargain hunt.4 Highlight a standard, discounted, or rate match for direct bookings.
Flexibility with cancellations and less risk of inventory errors are also big benefits of direct booking. Some 30% of travelers say a flexible cancellation policy is a top factor in influencing bookings.5 Create messaging about 24-hour cancellation policies to entice guests.
Use Personalized, Customer-Centric Messaging
Capitalizing on first-party data to inform marketing decisions can make or break a business’s advertising. With customer data, hotels and attractions can determine the perfect messaging for individual travelers—by demographic, seasonally, and more.
In fact, 80% of consumers say they want a personalized experience, and are more likely to do business with a company that offers one.2
Put Your Data to Work
Look year-round at first-party customer data and leverage it to send personalized messaging. For example, use travelers’ birthdays to send special offers, or see who came to the property at the same time last year. Thank them and welcome them back with a promotion.
Forget the “always be selling” adage. Provide customer-centric information travelers want to help them plan. For instance, 38% of consumers say they would prefer messaging to recommend what time of year to book a particular destination.6 And 37% are looking to sample itineraries for short one- to three-night trips.6
Get Your Share of Bookings
Travel spending reached $101 billion in May 2022.7 Get more share of overall bookings by promoting the unique benefits of direct booking and through personalized messaging.
Spectrum Reach has helped hundreds of hotel and travel destinations grow their business. Stay ahead of the competition with our data-driven, multiscreen advertising solutions. And with our precision targeting and measurement capabilities, our advertising gets the results you need to grow your business.
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- (1) “Travel Booking: Direct vs OTAs - US – 2022: Consumer Market Research Report: Mintel.Com.” Mintel Store, January 25, 2023. https://store.mintel.com/report/travel-booking-direct-vs-otas-us-2022.
- (2) Miller, Grace. “32 Loyalty Program Statistics That Will Make You Rethink Marketing.” Annex Cloud. Accessed July 21, 2023. https://www.annexcloud.com/blog/loyalty-program-statistics-will-make-rethink-marketing/.
- (3) “How People Book Hotels in 2022? What Gets Attention and Which Channels People Prefer?” Market Sampler, April 16, 2022. https://marketsampler.com/how-people-book-hotels-in-2022-what-gets-attention-and-which-channels-people-prefer/.
- (4) “Vacation Plans and Priorities in 2022-US,” Mintel, 2022.
- (5) “Travel Trends Report 2022.” Cloudbeds, November 8, 2022. https://www.cloudbeds.com/ebooks/travel-trends-report/?utm_medium=pr&utm_source=meltwater&utm_campaign=2022-trends-report.
- (6) “Travel Loyalty Programs – US – 2022, Competitive Strategies” Mintel, 2022. https://reports.mintel.com/display/1134485
- (7) Mageau, Jamie. “The Latest Travel Data.” U.S. Travel Association, June 29, 2023. https://www.ustravel.org/research/monthly-travel-data-report.