This week we’ve been keeping a close eye on industry updates with OTAs (Online Travel Agents), Google and Airbnb. All of which seem to be making big leaps with the technology they’re using to offer bigger and better experiences to their users.
It’s certainly food for thought for the independent hotelier, whilst some of the technology these giants are implementing is simply out of reach for small hotels, there are ways to combat the effects with your Book Direct Strategy.
Google Hotel Ads could be seen as yet another money spinner from Google, but they’re also another means in which to demonstrate that users can get the best rate by booking direct with the hotel, with a side-by-side price comparison directly in the SERP.
You can also ensure you’re constantly testing your site, to check you’re offering the best user browsing and shopping experience. Reduce any site friction and take inspiration from the OTAs, after all, whether we like it or not, people are familiar with the site layout of the likes of Booking.com and Expedia etc. See how you can conduct a usability test on your site today, in one of the articles linked below.
With barely any opposition from hotels, Booking.com is taking big steps to continue growing and capturing sales for your hotel which are currently coming in through other channels, including your own website. Get ready, whether you like it or not, to see your Genius rates on metasearch engines.
Google has been rolling out changes to its hotel search on mobile and desktop platforms as part of a broader, year-long realignment of its travel strategy.
And as the company steps up its efforts in travel-product development, we expect Google to further ramp up Google Hotels from both consumer-facing and tech-stack perspectives in a way that has parallels to what it has recently done with Google Flights.
Not everyone is happy with Google parent Alphabet Inc.’s more assertive effort to move from being a research tool to becoming even more of a booking venue.
In February of this year, Airbnb acquired social payments startup Tilt. Today, the fruits of that acquisition are being passed along to Airbnb users.
Starting now, Airbnb users have the ability to split payments with their fellow travelers. Before now, one traveler was forced to front the cost of the trip and hope that their friends/colleagues/family were responsible enough to pay them back in a timely fashion.
Payment splitting will work with up to 16 travelers, offering plenty of flexibility for large groups who travel together.
How often do you go to your hotel website and look at it with fresh eyes? It can be difficult to look at your own hotel website impartially, from the user’s perspective. The solution to this problem is to conduct a usability test.