Hotel brands looking to increase their profit margin and retain customers should focus on Travel SEO services to boost direct bookings. Top hotel brands are currently turning attention to search to ensure direct bookings instead of bookings through OTAs (online travel agencies). By targeting the customer directly with a strategic campaign, rather than relying on OTAs to pull in guests, hoteliers increase sales numbers and improve customer loyalty.
It’s become increasingly important for hotel chains to understand where their bookings come from and how to reclaim bookings from companies like Expedia, Priceline and Hotels.com. With so much competition and noise in the travel sector today, this can be hard to do. But, it’s essential for hotel brands that want to stay afloat in a rapidly changing industry.
Within the hotel industry, we see some brands relying heavily on traffic and sales from OTAs, with as much as 10% of booking revenue coming from the off-site sources. Many brands that have typically relied on substantial OTA booking volume are showing increases in direct bookings, suggesting they’re making efforts to capture and convert customers before they head back to an OTA to make any other decisions.
Most of the Top 10 Hotel Brands Increased Direct Bookings in Last Year
Out of the top 10 hotel brands in May of 2017, 6 showed an increase in direct bookings compared to the same month just a year prior. Marriott International earned the highest volume of direct bookings at 26.21% of total bookings in 2017, up from 25.13% in the same month the previous year. The largest year-to-year increase in direct bookings, looking at the May 2017 numbers, was a jump of 6.76% from a pretty large chain.
An analysis of web traffic and bookings among hotels and OTAs showed that a few of the major hotel brands have increased direct bookings while other well-known chains have failed to amp up the number of direct bookings from their website. The report highlighted increases and declines in direct bookings for budget and luxury hotel companies as well as for smaller hotel chains and international powerhouses.
Out of the major players in the OTA market, only 3 increased hotel bookings from May of 2016 to May of 2017: Expedia at 28%, Booking at 19% and Priceline at 16%. Cheap Tickets, Hotels, Orbitz, Travelocity and Hotwire all lost hotel conversions.
SEO Helps Hotels Retain Control Over Their Guests’ Online Activities
The state of search in today’s travel market, particularly pertaining to hotels, reveals a need to focus on direct bookings and the success of brands already doing so. It also highlights how much more top hotel brands are retaining control over their guests. Galileo Tech Media currently coordinates a comprehensive SEO campaign for an international hotel chain with the specific goal of boosting direct bookings, which for this brand means driving traffic to domestic and international properties.
Our client is one of the top hotel brands that is successfully reclaiming bookings from the OTAs and converting directly through its website. Through strategies that include SEO keyword research, content creation, social media optimization and local SEO audits, we’ve increased visibility for this client and driven traffic to property websites worldwide – fueling more online conversions and helping the client gain customer loyalty for future sales.
Galileo Tech Media can do the same for your hotel brand. We’ve created efficient processes that allow us to scale the team we assign to each client’s SEO campaign, making it possible for us to meet the unique needs of each company we work with. Contact us to discuss your hotel’s goals, and to see how we can implement a direct booking-focused search campaign for you that seamlessly integrates with your property managers’ and stakeholders’ current processes and guidelines.