Are the Online Travel Agents hijacking your brand? Recent actions by some leading players in the accommodation market, may give rise to asking this question. And if the answer is “yes”, what can be done about it?
Mantra Group has toughened its stance against Online Travel Agents, threatening to take legal action against those that use paid search marketing to target their brands Mantra, Peppers and Breakfree.
In an article in the October issue of TravelTrends, Kent Davidson, Executive Director, sales, marketing and Distribution, stated “ We will not tolerate parasitic practices that detract from our brand integrity……We are prepared to take further action to recoup revenue lost through consumer traffic being diverted as a result of this [activity]”. Mantra has previously fought and won trademark cases in the Federal Court and will not hesitate to do so again. Read the full article here…….
Likewise, Hamilton Island has pulled its luxury resort, Qualia, from all Online Travel Agents because GM Sales Phillippa Harrison said they were collectively damaging the brand. They were unable to control the affiliate marketing through OTA’s and kept finding the product in the “strangest” places, and didn’t know how it got there………read more
Add to that the concerns with terms of payment from the OTA’s and it becomes increasingly evident that it is very important to negotiate the terms of business acceptable to you…..read more about OTA’s and terms of payment
It is clearly important to have web traffic directed to your website rather than the OTA’s, and a google search of your brand should always bring up your resort, not a listing of your resort on an OTA site. A couple of sample searches of resort names in your area on google quickly indicates that generally this is not the case. Paid search advertising results at the top of the google page (shaded in yellow) often bring up a multitude of OTA sites before the prospective guest reaches the resort’s own website. Should they really be allowed to hijack your brand name to achieve this end?
At the very least, you should definitely make sure, through optimisation of your own website, that you are the first site to appear in the unpaid section of the results.
It is also vital to have an effective online booking system to allow you to capture (and book) the enquiry traffic that reaches your website. HiRUM offers you effective and integrated online booking software that will allow you to capture those bookings with ease. There is an increasing tendency for consumers to check the OTA’s and then have a look at your website for more information, additional photos etc before they book. If your website is appealing, easy to use and MOST IMPORTANTLY has an easy, mobile friendly “Book Now” button, there is no need for them to divert back to the OTA to make the booking. HiRUM offers an online booking system that makes this journey an easy, painless one for the consumer.
(image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net)
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