It’s no secret that the OTAs are on top of the hotel marketing game. Expedia and Booking.com are giants of the hospitality scene. If you want to book up your hotel, you’re usually going to have to list with them, whether you like it or not.
TripConnect tries to resolve OTA issues
Let’s face it: we don’t like to use OTAs! On top of the hefty commissions they take from every booking, these companies represent a lot of work for the overworked independent hotelier. If you’ve got listings on three OTAs, you’ll need to update each of those every time you post a new picture or complete renovations on your property.
TripAdvisor is trying to address some of the many reasons that small hospitalities dislike working with OTAs. How is it doing this? Through TripConnect, its listing management and statistics service.
Why use TripConnect?
TripConnect has been around since 2013. Its purpose was originally to allow hotels to advertise on TripAdvisor, which was a wonderful loophole for hotels that too often lose their bookings to OTAs. TripAdvisor is where many potential guests go during the research stage of their holiday planning process.
If a potential guest should happen to click on your hotel’s ad while searching for, say, good hotels in Scarborough, then you have a chance to make a direct booking right from your website.
You’ll pay per click for this kind of advertising, but that’s still a smaller fee than what you’d pay to Booking.com if a guest booked through their service. Furthermore, once you’ve converted a guest using TripConnect, they’ll never go back to TripAdvisor again. Next time they want to travel, they’ll come right to you.
TripConnect and Instant Booking commissions
Now, according to LittleHotelier.com, if you are a TripConnect member, TripAdvisor lists a button on your hotel’s TripAdvisor review page that lets your customers book your property seamlessly through TripAdvisor itself. Sound good? Well, if that were the whole story, I’d agree. But TripConnect also charges a commission of up to 15% on each of these transactions!
TripAdvisor isn’t quite an OTA, but they’re certainly acting like one. TripConnect comes with some other lovely features, including assistance with reviews management and a little bit of a competitive edge over the OTAs. But if you’re still paying 15% per booking, you’re still losing money!
Using TripConnect to get direct bookings
It’s important to have a presence on TripAdvisor. Of all the places guests go to research hotels before booking, TripAdvisor is among the most popular. You should use the TripConnect program, too. But from now on, you should treat TripAdvisor like an OTA.
If you’ve been reading my blog, then you know exactly how to do this. Send a follow-up email to your newly booked guest. Welcome them and offer an earlier check-in time if they should cancel and book with you directly. You can even offer a reduction in price.
After all, TripConnect won’t charge you for cancelled bookings. You can lower the room’s price by 10% for a guest who re-books directly while still making 5% more money than you would have using TripConnect!
Use your relationship with TripConnect wisely. No commissioned room sale through a third party compares to a direct booking. Take your marketing to the next level and take back that booking fee!
If you want advice on how to do this, email me at [email protected].