How to steal (back) market shares from OTAs? Part 1: Set-up your

By. Uwe Gundlach 17th Oct 2013

One thing upfront; It will cost you money! If you don’t want to spend money, then those advices are not the right ones for you!

For all the others; The below points will make you consider and understand that the money spent is a good investment, as you will save on commissions.

Some of the readers might feel less interested, as they do some or all suggestions already, but there are plenty of hoteliers and revenue managers out there, who haven’t started and don’t have the knowledge yet, how to tackle e-distributions.

  • Start doing PPC / SEO

One of the main reasons why hotels don’t produce bookings online is that their own website is not promoted and/or nobody finds your While SEO is the marketing and PPC the advertising part, both are important to get found and to get visitors on your page. Advise 1: Found an agency who can take care of this part – BUT be involved as many agencies are not specialized in hotel terms and language. Make sure you give them your knowledge to promote your page.

  • Work with landing pages

Once you work with PPC, work on landing pages on your Landing pages are sub-pages, which are created just for one topic, e.g. christmas promotions. Then you use your PPC campaigns to link to your landing pages. This would bring you targeted customers. Customers who were looking for a christmas promotion in a hotel at your location. Chances are high that they will turn into a reservation. Another reason is that on landing pages you can load cheaper rates than on OTAs, different booking conditions or just some add ons to promote your Advice 2: Get in touch with your creator, and start creating additional sub- pages for different occasions and also for more information for your customers (this is a part of SEO as well).

  • Translate your into your key feeder market languages

Another important point is to be ‘understood’. Nowadays people from all over the world are traveling, but many of them speak only their own language. Be more flexible and translate your page into different languages. It doesn’t have to be in 20 languages and neither all pages. Many guests appreciate already a one-page information about your hotel in their language. The effort will mostly be rewarded in a booking. Advice 3: Find out which feeder markets are visiting your, get your page translated into those languages and promote them (use PPC as advertising; search engines do their part anyway – SEO)

  • Use an effective booking engine

One main reason why hotels don’t generated bookings is their booking engine. Some hotels don’t even have one!! If you have no booking engine, nobody will fill out a form on your to request a room. After just some seconds, they open their preferred OTA and go ahead with a booking there. And you have to understand – they WERE already on your page, ready to MAKE a reservation and you LOST them, because they COULDN’T book or it was too complicated to reserve in your booking engine. Most effective and productive booking engines nowadays have no more than four steps to complete. Check the booking engines on OTAs. They weren’t so successful if their booking engines were user unfriendly or customers have to fill out a form. Advice 4: Get out there and check all the different supplier of booking engines, let them show you some example and get in touch with those hotels to find out how good it works for them and/or if they would recommend this product.

  • Use Google Analytics or another analyzing tool to understand your customers browsing habits

It is inevitable to have an analyzing tool. It can be any one, but Google Analytics is free, has live updates and is easy to use. Install it on all your pages on your and you will be surprised how your customers visit your page, from where they come and how much time they spend on each page. There are so many more information, which are important for you to understand to improve your conversion on your Advice 5: Find an analyzing tool and get started. Talk to your creator to copy the codes in. Wait some days to get first data and be surprised.

  • Use good images and plenty of them on your and in your booking engine

One result of using an analyzing tool will be to see that your subpage with your pictures, your gallery, will be in the TOP 3 of your most visited pages! Your potential customers want to see what they will ‘buy’, where they will stay. Never wondered why OTAs are so picky with pictures? And why they always ask you to upload more? That’s why! Advice 6: Pictures sell more than thousand words. Make sure you spend some money into impressive and very good pictures. Also here make sure the photographer you choose has experience with hotels. Portrait or landscape photographers don’t have necessarily the knowledge of taking awesome hotel pictures. Don’t save money on photos! They will pay back.

  • Keep your up-to-date

It sounds stupid and as self-evident, but do the test yourself and check some of your competitors. You will see old pictures, old information and some even still have their easter promotion active and so on. It is very crucial for the customer to get the latest information. Many customers come for vacation, come to see something new or something which doesn’t take place at their homes. Make sure that you have a kind of event calendar on your, which is ALWAYS up-to-date. Two reasons, your customers might look for that information and it will help your SEO ranking. Advice 7: Dedicate or hire one staff to do only such things. Event calendar, change pictures, load promotions – keep it up-to-date! Do the calculations; in some regions it costs you less to ask your creator to do this job for you.

This first part of my advices focuses on your ‘hardware’ – Get your ready! It is crucial for your success to have your web pages optimized before you re-market your sales efforts. You might lose a lot, if not you are not well prepared.

Part 2 will show you how you make use of above points and how you get back your market shares from a revenue manager’s point of view.

About Uwe Gundlach

Revenue optimization is Uwe’s superpower. His 20-year hospitality career has been built on a foundation of getting to know each property from the ground up and tailoring revenue and e-distribution solutions that maximize profits to meet individual needs. A strategic thinker, Uwe is passionate about implementing programs that make hotel investment a more profitable asset. He specializes

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