TripAdvisor has just announced the launch of a new direct booking feature within the existing TripAdvisor Sponsored Placements product, giving business owners premium exposure to those travelers who are ready to book, and willing to be guided to make direct bookings with the properties concerned.
This new direct booking feature makes it easy for travelers to seamlessly connect with hotels through a prominent link – meaning hoteliers can also benefit from their sponsored promotion by avoiding the costly commissions charged by online travel agencies, which can be up to 25% of the price of a booking.
“We hear frequently from hoteliers they need help solving their biggest booking challenges without breaking the bank,” said Martin Verdon-Roe, Vice-President of B2B Hotels. “We have launched this new direct booking tool based on feedback from owners, and it’s one of a number of things over the next several months we plan to offer hoteliers to better meet their needs.”
Sponsored Placements, which first launched on TripAdvisor in 2017, appear on high-profile pages across TripAdvisor, including above search results and on nearby properties’ listings. These ads put a property in front of potential guests looking for places to stay when the property matches the guest’s search and has available rooms to book.
The original Sponsored Placements offer proved effective in increasing the prominence of participating hotels on the site, according to the Panviman Group which operates the Panviman Resort Koh Phangan and the Panviman Spa Resort Chiang Mai, and has used Sponsored Placements since its inception with the goal of boosting direct bookings. The result has been a 1% increase in bookings and 1.5% increase in revenue while website visitors now spend slightly longer on the Panviman site than before.
Having previously tried the strategy of offering extra benefits to customers who booked direct, Panviman reported that Sponsored Placements had a more powerful effect in increasing the brand’s visibility and conversion rate, as well as helping to build customer loyalty. In particular, the positioning of the hotel on TripAdvisor makes it the obvious choice for travelers who will first encounter the offer when they are researching the destination and are ready to make their booking.
This belief is backed up by the evidence in a recent study in which TripAdvisor partnered with Ipsos Mori to reveal that more than 70% of travelers took the decision to make a booking after reading TripAdvisor reviews. In addition, a separate study involving TripAdvisor users carried out last month confirmed that as many as 41% of travelers expressed a clear preference for booking directly with a hotel if at all possible, making it readily apparent that travelers appreciate the benefits of having a direct relationship with their hotel of choice.
The new feature is not only advantageous for travelers, but augments an exciting suite of management tools that can help hotels to thrive online. Other TripAdvisor services that assist hoteliers in growing their business include the free Management Center tools for online reputation management, Business Advantage to optimize their TripAdvisor listings, and Sponsored Placements to increase their properties’ exposure to millions of high-intent travelers.
Jenn Edwards, Owner of Groveland Hotel, California, has already started using the newest feature during beta testing: “Over the past eight years, we’ve seen that it’s increasingly difficult to compete with the OTAs to drive bookings through our direct channels. This new Sponsored Placements feature allows us to increase our property’s exposure and display our rates above those from the OTAs in the ads. This has allowed us to drive more guests to book direct while also cutting our acquisition costs for those bookings in half.”
Accommodation owners who are interested in taking a similar approach to increasing their direct bookings can find out more by visiting http://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/AdsManager