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Online Travel Agencies and Meta-search Websites - A Travel Studio System?
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Online Travel Agencies and Meta-search Websites - A Travel Studio System?

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The topic of online travel agencies is a hotly debated topic within the hotel industry. Like the major Hollywood studios that powered the golden age of film, a small number of OTAs dominate …

The topic of online travel agencies is a hotly debated topic within the hotel industry. Like the major Hollywood studios that powered the golden age of film, a small number of OTAs dominate distribution, promotion and production of hotel bookings.

While hotels may prefer to have as much traffic as possible channeled directly to their websites, the reality is that consumers value the convenience of cross-brand shopping. For the vast majority of hotels, excluding the OTA channel does not increase profitability. Instead, to be successful, hotels must effectively manage their distribution and content across all channels - particularly those that possess a significant amount of business potential.

This unabridged collection of slides supported my portion of the VFM Leonardo webinar "Turn OTA Lookers into Bookers - How Improving Your Look on OTAs Can Drive Direct Bookings" helld on September 25, 2013.

Published in: Travel, Business, Technology

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  • 1. OTAs & Meta-search - A Travel Studio System? VFM Leonardo Webinar Benefits of Marketing on OTAs September 25. 2013 Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox (All Rights Reserved)
  • 2. Major OTA/Meta-search Travel Studios • Powerful Machines – Production – Distribution – Promotion • Create Stars – Develop Talent – Showcase Leaders – Create Opportunities • Sell The Product – Right Script – Right Casting – Right Direction VFM Leonardo Webinar | Sep 2013 OTAs & Meta-search - A Travel Studio System? Robert Cole ● RockCheetah | 1 Image Credit: Paramount Pictures (All Rights Reserved)
  • 3. Major Forces in Travel • Priceline | $51.3B Mkt Cap | 36.4M US UV’s – Booking.com | Agoda | Kayak | RentalCars.com • Expedia | $7.3B Mkt Cap | 40.6M US UV’s – Hotels.com | Hotwire | Venere | eLong | Trivago • TripAdvisor | $10.6B Mkt Cap | 43.8M US UV’s – JetSetter | CruiseCritic | SeatGuru | GateGuru • Google | $300.8B Mkt Cap | 192M US UV’s – ITA Software | Zagat | Frommer’s | Waze • Apple | $425.0 B Mkt Cap | 600M Credit Card #’s – See iTravel Patents | Starwood & Hipmunk iOS7 Apps VFM Leonardo Webinar | Sep 2013 OTAs & Meta-search - A Travel Studio System? Robert Cole ● RockCheetah | 2 Statistics:Yahoo! Finance & C Image Credit: RKO Radio Pictures (All Rights Reserved)
  • 4. Intermediaries Love Media • Expedia Brands – $870 Million Total Advertising Spend 2012 – Average $22.28 Core Ad Spend per Room Night • Priceline – $1.27 Billion Online Spend 2012 (38.6 % Increase) – 2.6% of Google Search Advertising Revenue – Priceline Offline Ads $35 Million in (US Television) – Average $11.50 Core Ad Spend per Room Night • TripAdvisor – Considering $50 Million Television Campaign VFM Leonardo Webinar | Sep 2013 OTAs & Meta-search - A Travel Studio System? Robert Cole ● RockCheetah | 3 Data: Susquehanna International Group, Priceline/Expedia & Bloomberg | Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (All Rights Reserved)
  • 5. OTAs & Meta-search Rule Mobile Rank Travel App Type Downloads Satisfaction Rating 1 TripAdvisor Meta-search 23.3 Million 8.5 / 10 2 Hotels.com Online Travel Agency 13.0 Million 7.5 / 10 3 Kayak Meta-search 12.1 Million 8.0 / 10 4 Booking.com Online Travel Agency 10.9 Million 8.0 / 10 5 Hotwire Online Travel Agency 8.4 Million 6.2 / 10 6 Expedia Online Travel Agency 7.0 Million 6.5 / 10 7 Priceline Online Travel Agency 5.4 Million 6.0 / 10 8 Travelocity Online Travel Agency 2.9 Million 3.7 / 10 9 Hotel Tonight Online Travel Agency 2.8 Million 8.2 / 10 10 Orbitz Online Travel Agency 2.3 Million 7.0 / 10 11 Agoda Online Travel Agency 2.1 Million 8.1 / 10 12 HRS (iHotel) Online Travel Agency 2.0 Million 5.3 / 10 13 Airbnb Online Travel Agency 2.0 Million 7.3 / 10 14 Trivago Meta-search 1.6 Million 4.9 / 10 15 Hipmunk Meta-search 1.3 Million 8.0 / 10 16 IHG Hotel 1.1 Million 7.5 / 10 VFM Leonardo Webinar | Sep 2013 OTAs & Meta-search - A Travel Studio System? Robert Cole ● RockCheetah | 4 Data: Xyo.com, PhoCusWright & RockCheetah | Image Credit: Dimension Films (All Rights Reserved)
  • 6. Purchase Path Is Not Short or Straight VFM Leonardo Webinar | Sep 2013 OTAs & Meta-search - A Travel Studio System? Robert Cole ● RockCheetah | 5 Data: Millward Brown Digital/ Expedia Media Solutions | Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (All Rights Reserved)
  • 7. What Sites Do Travelers Choose? When Comparison Shopping Leisure Business Expedia.com (E) 42% 44% Hotels.com (E) 39% 36% Travelocity.com (E) 37% 34% Google 35% 25% Priceline.com (P) 32% 27% Orbitz.com (O) 29% 31% Hotwire.com (E) 25% 26% Specific Hotel Brand Website 23% 25% Kayak.com (P) 17% 24% AAA.com 15% 15% VFM Leonardo Webinar | Sep 2013 OTAs & Meta-search - A Travel Studio System? Robert Cole ● RockCheetah | 6 Data: Google Travel Study. May 2012. Ipsos MediaCT | Image Credit: Warner Bros. (All Rights Reserved)
  • 8. Celebrate What Makes You Unique • Compelling Descriptions that Explain How You: – Make the Guest Feel Special – Simplify the Traveler’s Life – Satisfy Guest Needs Better than Competition • Engaging Images Showing Your Hotel in Action – Is a Building Exterior the Most Important Sales Benefit? – Why is the Property Empty? – Are Interior Design Shots more for Hoteliers or Guests? • Relevant, Guest Oriented Video Content – InterContinental’s Concierge Video Guides Offer Local Tips – Four Seasons Buenos Aires – Films Gala Events – Best Western Plus Sedona – Destination, Hotel & Guests VFM Leonardo Webinar | Sep 2013 OTAs & Meta-search - A Travel Studio System? Robert Cole ● RockCheetah | 7 Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (All Rights Reserved)
  • 9. Effectively Communicate Message VFM Leonardo Webinar | Sep 2013 OTAs & Meta-search - A Travel Studio System? Robert Cole ● RockCheetah | 8 • What Story Are You Telling? – Different Channels May Require Different Messages – Tailor Message to YOUR Audience Through THEIR Platform – Not an Update & Forget Environment - • Use All Available Tools & Across Major OTAs – OTA Resources Often Used by Meta-search Sites – TripAdvisor Support Hotelier Video Posts – Google Business Photos - StreetView Virtual Tours • Google Knowledge Graph is a Game Changer – Hotel Images Prioritized at Top of Search Results – Photo | Rating | # Reviews | Street Address – At Present, More Relevant List than Hotel Price Ads Image Credit: Gracie Films (All Rights Reserved)
  • 10. Looking Good Will Attract Attention • Important Segments Deserve Targeted Images – LGBT – Families – Honeymoons • Engaging Images Showing Your Hotel in Action – Proper Orientation – Understand Cropping Methods – Appropriate Sizing – Different Resolutions Are Important – Descriptive Titles, Captions & Tagging • People Stay in Hotels – Guests Enjoying Key Points of Differentiation – Guests Naturally Interacting with Staff – Guests Interacting with Other Guests VFM Leonardo Webinar | Sep 2013 OTAs & Meta-search - A Travel Studio System? Robert Cole ● RockCheetah | 9 Image Credit: Twentieth Century-Fox (All Rights Reserved)
  • 11. Difficult Decisions • Total Revenue Management – Need to Transition from RevPAR to GOPPAR as Basis – ADR Higher Under Agency Model, But High Commission – Need to Incorporate Pay Per Click Costs for Meta-Bookings • Rate Parity Under Attack in UK & EU – UK Office of Fair Trade Rate Parity Ruling – Resolution: Rate Parity Does Not Apply to Frequent Guests – Result? New Battles for the Returning & Repeat Guest • Customer Lifetime Value – All Want 1st Time / International / Brand-Agnostic – Challenge is Returning & Repeat Guests… – Try to Convert Hotel Direct or Their Preferred Channel? VFM Leonardo Webinar | Sep 2013 OTAs & Meta-search - A Travel Studio System? Robert Cole ● RockCheetah | 10 Image Credit: Lucasfilm (All Rights Reserved)
  • 12. True Love or Marriage of Convenience? • OTAs/Meta-search Drive Volume – Strong Traffic & Advertising – Dominate Mobile Platforms – Tactical Promotion Capability to Shift Share • Quality Presentation Across Guest’s Preferred Channels – Try to Convert to Hotel Direct or Guest Preferred Channel? – Want Best Opportunity for Conversion – Across Channels – Does Not Mean OTA/Meta Should Take Priority Over Direct • The Studio Never Overshadows the Star or Project – Ignoring OTAs & Meta-search Shifts Share to Competitors – Need to Leverage Channel to Your Benefit, Not Just OTA’s – Must Focus on Setting Common Goals & Mutual Benefits VFM Leonardo Webinar | Sep 2013 OTAs & Meta-search - A Travel Studio System? Robert Cole ● RockCheetah | 11 Image Credit: Buttercup Films (All Rights Reserved)
  • 13. OTAs & Meta-search - A Travel Studio System? Robert Cole twitter: @robertkcole phone: +1.262.309.9560 email: robert@rockcheetah.com VFM Leonardo Webinar | Sep 2013 OTAs & Meta-search - A Travel Studio System? Robert Cole ● RockCheetah | 12 Image Credit: Warner Bros. (All Rights Reserved)