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February 5, 2024

8 Tips to Improve Your OTA Conversion Rates

In this blog, we will share 8 Tips to Improve Your OTA Conversion Rates, improving your OTA conversion rate is crucial for your property.

8 Tips to improve your OTA conversion rates

Standing out online can be challenging in the competitive world of online travel agencies (OTAs). With 75% of traffic on Expedia going to the first 15 hotels listed, improving your OTA conversion rate is crucial for your property’s ongoing profitability. Here are 8 tips to boost your OTA performance:


Get Higher on the Page

There are two ways to improve your property’s ranking on the OTA search engine results page (SERPs):

Advertising: Paying for premium placement as a “top pick” on OTA search results can be beneficial, potentially leading to 20% more bookings. This approach requires careful monitoring of ROI, especially during the trial phase, to ensure that the increased cost of acquisition (approximately 5% more) is justified.

Organic Search: Boosting page ranking organically involves maintaining a high conversion rate, which OTAs favor when determining a hotel’s page position. This rate is determined by the ratio of bookings to clicks on the hotel’s listing. Regularly updating the hotel’s OTA profile with high-quality content can improve ranking and bookings.

However, these strategies are not straightforward. OTAs consider long-term booking potential and prefer hotels that offer substantial booking capacity on their platforms. Therefore, providing more room inventory can lead to a higher search result position. It’s suggested that hotels not at full capacity on specific dates should allocate all available rooms to OTAs to increase their ranking.

An exception exists for city hotels in major tourist destinations, as offering too much inventory at low prices to boost rankings can backfire if unexpected events lead to a sudden increase in demand. A balanced approach between OTA inventory and direct sales is recommended for these types of hotels to mitigate those risks.

 

Your Images are Worth 1000 Words

Studies done by the OTAs have proven that high-resolution, emotionally engaging photographs are the most effective content for converting lookers into bookers. Your images should enable guests to imagine themselves at the property, enjoying their stay, as that emotional connection will result in a booking. Photos that depict the property’s amenities accurately, including rooms, bathrooms, common areas, pools, and restaurants, in detail, are particularly influential; in fact, 60% of travelers consider images of bathrooms necessary, indicating that even these less glamorous details matter to potential guests.

The significance of high-quality photos grows with the price point of the hotel. While budget accommodations may focus on practical features, luxury hotels need to showcase their opulence and comfort through their images to justify higher rates.

In short, the better the quality of the photographs, the higher the likelihood of selling more rooms.

 

The Words Matter

Rich, descriptive, and factual text detailing what guests will experience drives bookings. Avoid flowery language; focus on clear, sales-oriented content that outlines the key benefits of staying at your property. If budget allows, hire a professional copywriter to fine-tune your property’s description to be as engaging as possible.

 

The Power of Your Amenities

Don’t underestimate the power of your property’s amenities in influencing guests to book with you instead of the competition. Sift through guest reviews to identify what they love about your property and highlight these features in your listing. Whether it’s your centralized location, stunning pool, or strong Wi-Fi, ensure these are front and center in your OTA listings.

 

Manage Your OTA Availability Intelligently

To effectively manage OTA availability, the general strategy is to provide as much room inventory to OTAs as possible when your hotel is not expected to be fully booked, as OTAs favor hotels that share more inventory; however, you should reduce OTA availability during peak times to encourage direct bookings, lowering your cost of acquisition and boosting profits.

Pricing strategy plays a crucial role in converting bookings. In situations where a hotel is expected to reach full occupancy without OTA help, it’s recommended to increase room rates to boost ADR and RevPAR.

An exception to this approach arises during special events or high-demand periods, like concerts. In such scenarios, overpricing could alienate regular customers. Instead, manage demand with strategies like minimum length of stay (MLOS) requirements or by selling only through the direct channel, thus maximizing revenue without increasing rates.

 

The More OTAs, The Better

Being listed on the OTAs gives you additional reach and the benefit of the “billboard effect”; therefore, the more OTAs you are listed on, the more people who will see your rooms and the better chance that you will have to convert the sale (either through the OTAs or direct).

Maintaining your presence on more OTAs requires more work, including setting up your profile, updating your content and photos and updating your pricing. That’s why we suggest that you include a channel manager in your basic tech stack, as it will manage all of these updates automatically, allowing you to be listed on as many OTAs as possible without extra work.

Evaluate each channel’s performance on an ongoing basis. If you find that you aren’t converting bookings on a certain OTA, you can remove your inventory from the site and reallocate it to a more profitable channel.

 

Plan Your Availability in Advance

You should be making your rooms available at least twelve months in advance across all online channels for two main reasons:

  1. The more availability you allocate to the OTAs, the higher your property will be ranked in the search results, both in the short- and long term.
  2. If your property is not listed when potential guests want to book, you won’t get any bookings.

Even if you get very few reservations made 11 months in advance, there is still no harm in being available to accept bookings.

 

Respond to Reviews Proactively

Did you know that 91% of travelers report that their impression of a hotel improves when they see management responding to reviews? As such, responding to reviews on OTA platforms is highly beneficial, as it can lead to an increase in bookings. It’s particularly important to address negative reviews in a constructive manner. Hoteliers should acknowledge any criticism and outline the steps they have taken to resolve any issues raised without being defensive or attacking the former guest.

This approach not only demonstrates a commitment to customer service but also has the potential to mitigate the negative effects of poor reviews on prospective guests. When potential guests see that a hotel responds thoughtfully and proactively to feedback, it enhances their perception of its customer care standards.

Following these eight tips can increase your visibility on OTA platforms, improve your conversion rates, and ultimately drive more bookings for your property.

Remember, it’s not just about being seen; it’s about being booked.

To learn more ways to maximize your property’s revenue, download the free RoomPriceGenie guide, “49 Tips to Supercharge your Revenue”. Trust me, your bank account will thank you for it!

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