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The Marketing Benefits of TripAdvisorís TripConnect
By Feature Writer Jennifer Nagy
TripAdvisor recently launched an advertising bidding tool called TripConnect, a new metasearch channel which enables independent hoteliers to direct business to their property's website (instead of paying high commissions for bookings made through the OTAs). For the first time, all hotels - no matter the size of their budget - can take advantage of metasearch channels (which compile all of the available online rates from different sources into one list) to increase direct bookings and overall profit.
Obviously, there are many operational benefits offered by TripConnect. But if you are still not convinced about the value of TripConnect, perhaps these added marketing benefits will help you take the leap into the distribution channel of the future:
Increased online visibility
Independent hotels that use TripConnect will gain a greater online presence than those who do not - both in increasing their own website's traffic and having a greater visibility in potential guests' searches. An impressive 50% of people who bought travel products online made most purchases through OTAs (2011), with that number increasing every year. Some interesting stats on TripAdvisor's importance as an OTA:
Because TripAdvisor enables consumers to complete the entire booking process, start-to-finish, on a single site, it will only become more important as a booking channel as more and more consumers realize the benefits of booking through the OTA.
An added benefit to the increased visibility that a hotel can experience using TripAdvisor/TripConnect: the billboard effect. When a property is listed on an OTA, it increases their chances of securing a direct (non-OTA) booking because many consumers use the OTAs as a search engine to see what properties are available and then they click through to the direct websites of the properties they are interested in.
Cost-effective marketing channel
Using TripConnect, hotels bid for a position in the search results based on a cost-per-click fee (CPC). Unlike traditional OTAs which charge a set percentage commission rate, TripConnect gives hotels hotel control over their costs, as they can pay as little or as much as they want to increase their position in the metasearch results. TripConnect only charges a hotel if a user clicks on the property's listing, which ensures each marketing dollar is spent on valuable, qualified leads.
Improve overall business performance
Hotels with a business listing (which is required before a hotel can sign up with TripConnect) are able to access more analytical information about their TripAdvisor page, which is hugely beneficial in determining if your current promotions and listing are effective, and can provide information about how potential customers are interacting with your page.
TripConnect's analytical tool will also help to track business performance. If a property's Internet booking engine has enabled tracking, TripConnect can determine a property's booking revenue versus its advertising costs.
What do you need to do to get started?
In order to be qualified to use TripConnect, a property must be using an Internet booking engine that has been certified by TripAdvisor, such as SiteMinder's TheBookingButton*. For the full list of TripConnect Partners, visit http://www.tripadvisor.com/ConnectPartners.
In addition, hotels must purchase a business listing with TripAdvisor. Not only does the business listing enable a property to use TripConnect, it also provides a great deal of other marketing benefits:
If you are an independent hotel, or small property business looking to increase bookings and profit margins, TripConnect is definitely worth the investment as it gives you the tools to proactively accomplish these goals. Additionally, the marketing benefits of having visibility to TripAdvisor's 260 million unique monthly visitors (and the billboard effect that can come from even being listed in the site's search engine) makes it worthwhile for all properties to consider.
If you would like to find out more or sign up from TripConnect, please visit http://www.tripadvisor.com/TripConnect.
About the Author
Jennifer Nagy, President of jlnpr, is a seasoned public relations professional with a passion for the hospitality industry. At jlnpr, she works with companies to increase awareness of their property/product and get their story in front of the audiences that will have a direct impact on their bottom line. jlnpr works with international travel clients in the travel technology, airline, lodging, cruise and meeting/event industries. For more information about jlnpr, please visit www.jlnpr.com or contact Jennifer at email@example.com.
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