Increasing revenues during the pandemic may be quite challenging especially now that travel restrictions are in place. But even if the hotel industry is one of the most affected, this doesn’t mean you can’t maximize your revenue anymore. One of the ways hoteliers can do is to improve Online Travel Agency (OTA) rankings.
However, the question arises: do we really need OTAs?
The short answer is yes. OTAs can be a major source of revenue. In fact, in 2019, about 60% of travelers booked their accommodation through OTAs according to Costar. But simply listing your property on OTAs doesn’t mean it would necessarily increase your revenue especially if your listing is not on the first page of OTA search results because many travelers looking for an accommodation don’t make it past the second page. That’s why it’s important that you rank high in OTA search results.
So how does a property rank higher in the results? And how can OTA rankings affect your revenues? We will discuss these and more in this blog.
How to improve OTA rankings
Here are some of the best ways to improve OTA rankings in order for you to maximize your revenues:
- Update your content
- Post high-quality photos
- Get more reviews and respond to them
- Maintain rate parity
- Keep an eye on your competitors
What’s inside this blog?
- About OTA Ranking
- Why is it important to improve OTA rankings?
- How to improve OTA rankings
- Frequently Asked Questions About OTA Rankings
About OTA Ranking
An OTA ranking is a way of ranking properties based on the quality and completeness of their content both in text and visual. These scores aim to help hotels understand how the quality of their content ranks, and to encourage hotels to add the content that OTAs consider important for driving bookings. These are the factors that influence rankings:
- Photos and text descriptions – Updated content affects the rankings because if your content is not the same as what the guests experienced, OTAs will penalize you.
- Guest Reviews – The better your reputation is, the better you’ll rank higher.
- Commission – OTAs will improve the ranking based on how high the commission is.
- Conversion – The rate of the guests book your rooms after opening your property’s listings.
- Quality of content – For OTAs, it’s quality over quantity.
Why is it important to improve OTA rankings?
OTAs are among the major factors that can boost your sales and increase revenues as they allow hotel rooms to be sold to a larger audience.
Since many travelers don’t get past by the second page of OTA search results, ranking higher on OTAs means you have an advantage of being discovered first by travelers that could lead to more bookings, and therefore, an increased revenue. That’s why it’s essential that you improve your rankings as OTAs push customers to properties with great reputations.
Related article: Choosing the Right Online Travel Agency (OTA) For Your Hotel
How to improve OTA rankings
When you get a higher score from the factors that influence your rankings, you have a greater potential to rank higher in OTA search results, so it’s really important to do what you can to make your score higher.
There are many ways to improve OTA rankings so we just summed up the most essential points you can do.
1. Update your content
The more updated your listings are, the more likely you are to get more bookings. Details like your room amenities, location, direction on how to reach nearby attractions as well as hotel policies should be accurately stated in the listing because if your content is not the same as what the guests experienced, OTAs will penalize you. Plus, updated content helps bring up your hotel on relevant search results when guests use filters on OTAs. Lastly, updated content builds customer trust and helps them make informed decisions.
2. Post high-quality photos
Improve your OTA rankings and quality score by posting photos and videos of your hotel’s exterior, interior as well as your location in high-quality. As they say, a picture speaks a thousand words. Travelers like to know how the place looks before they decide if they want to stay there so with high-quality photos and/or videos, you will be able to help your customers to decide faster and easier. There are also travelers who rely on the attractiveness of the hotel’s photos before they book.
3. Get more reviews and respond to them
Having a good reputation leads to more bookings because this means that your hotel is trusted. To build your hotel’s reputation, you need to get more reviews. Instead of waiting for guests, be proactive in getting reviews. For your guests to be motivated to give reviews, you can give them incentives or a small token of appreciation like a voucher code for their next booking. Or, while your guests are still at your property, solicit feedback and reviews during this time to increase the likelihood for submitting.
4. Maintain rate parity
Another very important factor in making your OTA rankings higher is the rate parity. OTAs monitor your rates on other OTAs and when they find out that the rates you gave on different OTAs are not the same, you can get warnings, penalties, or worse, discontinue your listing from that OTA.
That’s why it’s best to follow OTA agreements and maintain the same rates for all OTA sites so your rankings won’t get affected.
5. Keep an eye on your competitors
If you’re aware of the activities of your competitors in the market, you could have an opportunity to catch up on extra bookings on OTAs and improve rankings.
Keeping your rates competitive and reasonable is also important to achieving a higher OTA ranking. The best way to do this is to do a competitor analysis as this will keep you informed that you aren’t underpricing or overpricing any rooms.
Most OTAs regularly check if rates being offered are reasonable for the property type and/or the season. If the OTA finds your rates skeptical, they’ll either flag your listing or drop your ranking on the OTA search results.
However, monitoring your competitor can be tiring and time-consuming so opt for an ideal way to get data through an efficient hospitality tool like ZEN eManager Express that features AI-backed intelligent pricing, real-time automated updates, and in-depth analytics for performance review. Not only does it give you the right prices for the right season, but it also helps you monitor your competitors’ pricing, improves your listings, and maximizes revenues.
Save time and start increasing revenues now. Leave the most crucial aspect of your hotel to be handled by experts in the industry. Let ZEN help you bounce back and increase your revenue. Book your free appointment now at www.zen-hs.com/book-a-meeting/.
Frequently Asked Questions About OTA Rankings
Q: How do I increase my hotel ranking on OTAs?
A: Hotel reviews and ratings are more important than ever. OTAs will promote properties with better ratings and a lot of reviews. Therefore, don’t hesitate to seek reviews from guests. Do not wait for them to leave reviews at their own will. Be proactive, offer some free welcome drinks, small gifts, or vouchers for their next stays when they leave reviews for your hotels.
Q: How do I improve the visibility of my hotel on OTAs?
A: It is super important to keep your listings up-to-date and attractive. Ensure that you have posted good recent photos of your hotel’s amenities, i.e. swimming pools, gym, reception area, restaurants, etc. Do not hesitate to use the service of professional photographers for it. Ensuring rate parity across all OTAs will also help. Joining OTA campaigns and implementing discounts are also good as they will normally show some tags on your listings as well. Last but not least, reviews and ratings are pivotal. So, be proactive in asking your guests to leave reviews
Q: How do I increase my hotel bookings through OTAs?
A: Maintaining good visibility on OTAs is crucial in boosting your hotel sales through OTAs. Ensuring your listing’s content is attractive, maintaining rate parity, joining campaigns, and having a lot of good reviews help a lot. Furthermore, do not complicate your guests in selecting the rooms at your hotel. Do not have too many different room types. Try to combine similar room types together so the guest’s attention can be focused on less options. Lastly, partnering with experienced hotel management companies like ZEN Rooms will also help to boost your hotel’s presence online.
Q: What is hotel rate parity?
A: Hotel rate parity is the practice of maintaining consistent rates across all different OTAs. It is important to have consistent rates for the following reasons:
- Disparity will damage your hotel’s reputation by presenting inconsistent messages, also it will make your hotel look like it is not managed professionally.
- OTAs also do not like to see your hotel is being sold cheaper on other OTAs. They will put your hotel at lower rank and it will damage your visibility online. Using a channel manager is the best way to prevent rate disparity, and ZEN Rooms provides the best channel manager under the brand of eZee, which you will get if you join our eManager Express.
Article by Cielo Fernando