How to increase online travel agency bookings

Real estate
17 Jun 2019 by Thomas White
10 MIN

© Meero

76% of all online bookings are carried out using Online Travel Agencies. That means to really optimize your hotel business online you have to be thinking about how to best use these OTAs. With so much competition on so many different sites, you have to have a thought-out strategy for this to really pay off for you. Just TripAdvisor alone now has over 4.4 million different listings!

By far the most important part of your online presence for any accommodation is professional photography. It enables you to paint a picture of your facilities, your surroundings, and your brand itself. Without high-quality visuals, your bookings are going to fall far behind any competitors. Here’s how to use them to build an effective OTA profile.

Master the details of your profile

Updating content on a page can lead to up to 400% higher page traffic

First of all, you need to make sure the written details and information you give customers on OTAs are up-to-date and concise. Keep full inventories and regular updates of your profiles on any online sites, and make sure to give any necessary updates when necessary. To do this you can make use of different online tools like a hotel booking engine or a channel manager. Not only does this mean customers have relevant information about your site, but it plays an important role in your online Search Engine Optimisation, making people see your site higher up in the search results.

Mentioning specific details like high-quality internet or particularly good beds, while not immediately obvious, will have a great impact on visitors to the profile on the site and increase your bookings without changing any material at all.

You should also consider which OTA you want to use for what region. There are some countries where certain sites are less popular than others, and some, where you can’t use their services at all. There are laws restricting a lot of the activity property owners can do with Airbnb in cities like San Francisco and Las Vegas, for example.

Choosing which OTAs you use is an important task because it means you can cut down on commissions that spend revenue and streamline your online service to the markets where it’s most effective. To really do this effectively, you need to have a good understanding of your target audience and client base, and which OTA best fits your business itself, but once you have this knowledge this a fairly easy step to make.

Use professional photography

Hotels on booking websites with high-quality photos have a 63% higher click-through rate, according to Trivago

Recent studies have shown 63% higher click-through rates for listings on OTAs that use professional photographs in their profile (whether they’re hotels, restaurants, or tourist sites).

meero interior

© Meero

With professional photography, it’s as simple as whether you’ll be getting bookings at all. You simply can’t do without them on your OTA profile against that much competition!

Statistics go on to show that establishments with at least one photo are 225% more likely to get a booking inquiry—and those with more than 100 photos increase their chances by 238%. That’s a huge increase for just a few bits of visual content!

© Meero

Customers want to be able to see what the facilities and accommodation of your hotel look like. If they’re paying luxury prices, they’re going to need to see luxury visuals of what you have available to really be convinced. That means photos of rooms, surroundings, reception, and social areas, the works. Every aspect ought to be captured.

Meero’s photography service comes with a community of photographers all around the world, meaning no matter where your hotel is, we can order a professional shoot for you in no time at all, just using our online platform. We set small businesses up with professional photographers and bring you back the photo content you order within 24 hours of the shoot, all at competitive prices.

Create a unique brand image

Trivago accommodations with a unique, high quality main image receive 96% of all the website’s traffic.

Having basic, uninspired visual content on your OTA profile is an easy way for your hotel to get lost among the competition. With so many other profiles available these days, you really need to provide images that stand out. To take just one example, on Trivago, a rising star in the Online Travel Agency market, accommodations with a really high quality, outstanding main image receive 96% of all the website’s traffic.

Statistics show as a general rule that OTA profiles with outstanding, high-quality photos have a 63% higher click-through rate than those without. You need to have images that particularly stand out from other profiles, and give your brand a bigger impact.

exceptional hotel

© Meero

Make sure you capture unique aspects of your hotel: pools, gyms, tennis courts, restaurants, or particularly scenic grounds. 

Also important to consider is lifestyle photography—shots of the hotel at work, capturing the ambiance of the site and what a daily experience there would be like. Make your staff a selling point! Take up-scale hotels like The Savoy for example, where the doormen are synonymous with the quality of the hotel. That’s the kind of visual content that sets you apart from the competition on an online travel agency website and increases bookings.

The aim is to capture the ‘experience’ of your hotel—which particularly appeals to the millennial demographic. People searching through large marketplaces like Expedia are going to want to see photos that convey a full atmosphere and ambiance to a hotel, and not just plain surroundings. Three out of four millennials prefer to spend money on an experience over a product, after all. To really market to what is now the largest demographic of hotel visitors, you need to think about these visual content strategies.

Our AI-driven photo editing service ensures uniform quality and a professional image for clients of any size. Professionally vetted and trained photographers handle the shoot, making sure a cameraman experienced in the field of hotel and real estate photography will handle your visual content - guaranteeing visuals that match your brand image and make you stand out. Our services have already been found to get our clients 3 times the click-through rates and twice the online traffic they had before.

Use new visual styles

Properties captured with drone photography generate revenue 63% faster than those without

Increasing bookings in 2020 doesn’t just happen with outstanding pictures: twilight photography and drone photography are the new visual content trends.

Twilight photography of house

Photo by Stephen Leonardi, Unsplash

Twilight photography shows viewers the outside of a property a few minutes after dark with all the lights on inside. The aim is to give a warm, homey impression to the property, and entice viewers into opting for comfort and security. It takes a while to organize, and requires reorganizing business for a short amount of time to get the right set up of the exterior, but has a very appealing effect on online travel agency websites.

Drone photography

Photo by Josh Sorenson, Unsplash

Drone photos and videos go a step further by giving a unique angle on your premises - quite literally! Showing an aerial view of the exterior of the building, getting a wider angle shot of the top of the hotel grounds, or giving a bird’s eye view of the property guests have access to gives a complete, professional appearance to your profile and is guaranteed to attract attention that competitors will be missing out on. Not many profiles on your average OTA are going to be using aerial shots! That’s why when listed online properties can make money 63% faster with drone visuals than those without.

Meero’s unique visual content solutions also provide drone professionals at low prices to small businesses at any time and have already worked with major clients in real estate like Barnes and Sotheby’s. You place the order and describe how you need the shoot done, we handle all the processes, billing, and customer service, and you receive high-definition content on our platform indefinitely. Our photography solutions are cost-effective, hassle-free, and perfect for an Online Travel Agency listing.  

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