Putting OTAs in your Digital Marketing Mix


Putting OTAs in your Digital Marketing Mix

February 07, 2023 Trish Leighton
View of hotel balconies

As a marketing professional in the hospitality space, it can be hard to know where your marketing dollars are best invested. Between SEO, PPC, Metasearch, and OTA ads, there are so many channels to choose from—and the ROI will vary greatly from one to the next. But one thing is for sure – you need to be visible where your potential guests are shopping, and OTAs (online travel agencies) are often the first stop in the travel booking journey.

OTAs often have a large customer base, strong global marketing, and a significant online presence, which can make it easier for smaller properties to market themselves to a larger audience. Hoteliers can also benefit from how OTAs aggregate user reviews and photos, which gives potential clients important information to help them book.

In the second quarter of 2022, Expedia saw 82.5 million room nights booked. As one of the largest OTA sites in the world, Expedia’s market share makes it an important channel for marketing spend. Their Expedia TravelAds product has proven to be a valuable tool for targeting qualified shoppers and converting them into hotel guests.  

But aren’t direct bookings the best bookings? 

Yes, of course direct bookings are the most valuable for your property. But with the increasing difficulty getting visibility for high funnel searches, it would be detrimental to your marketing plan to ignore OTAs and the purpose they serve.

As we have mentioned before in our recent keyword strategy blog (link), OTAs dominate page 1 search results on Google for competitive broad location terms like “hotels in Denver.” This makes sense when you look at OTAs not as individual sites, but rather as mini search engines specific to hotels and travel. It’s where people go to narrow down their choices, compare prices, and filter hotels by desired amenities and location. Being visible here, where people are making decisions, is how you can get the booking either then or later when the guest is ready to convert. When you think about how many people book travel, they do use OTAs to search and refine, and then ultimately later book directly with the hotel. Advertising on OTAs won’t necessarily keep people from booking direct, but it will put you in front of those who haven’t yet considered your property.

So, while we at Vizergy have and will always tout the benefit of designing your marketing campaigns to encourage direct bookings, we also know that keeping OTAs off the menu can lead to you missing great opportunities to engage with and convert your next guest!

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