The Billboard Effect: how online travel agents help your visibility
Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) – Booking.com, Expedia, Lastminute.com, Rates to Go, and so on – offer free advertising, and it’s good to list with many of them. It’s known as the Billboard Effect, and it brings bookings, and drives traffic to your website.
But it’s a pain to update these sites manually.
If you’re a nightsbridge user, though, the problem is easily solved: the system pushes the data to all the different sites you want to maintain.
The OTAs spend vast amounts of money on search engine optimisation and pay-per-click advertising, which makes it easy for people to find them online. They also spend heavily on developing their brands, so that people can search using a brand they trust, and use the booking process and the backup that they’ve come to know.
The OTAs take commission, but they don’t charge you to list with them – and this billboard advertising is what adds the greatest value. Many people search on these sites, but don’t book on them: they find out who has availability, and then search directly for the properties they like, often going to the B&B or guest house’s own website.
In other words, those sites work like free advertisements.
Cornell University studied this. According to the ‘CASE STUDY: Cornell University and Expedia’s Billboard Effect’ “presence on Expedia creates brand visibility for suppliers” – since travelers use the site to research their trips – and it also “increases traffic and bookings on the supplier site. This is known as the Billboard Effect.
“4 same-brand hotels were cycled on & off Expedia for similar time periods. When Expedia displayed properties they were found on the top of the first page of search results. When properties were cycled off, the properties could not be found anywhere on Expedia.
* “There was a lift of bookings made on the supplier site ranging from 7.5% to 26%.
* “The data confirms and quantifies the Billboard Effect, or the lift in reservations made on the supplier site as a result of the listing on Expedia.
* “With the boost in reservations, also came a lift in ADR (average daily rate).”
But the problem with signing up for all these OTAs is that they all require real time availability updates – and most guest houses don’t have time to log in and out of twenty different web sites to keep them updated.
That’s where nightsbridge offers a one-stop solution: update your available rooms on the nightsbridge system, and the system will push the data to all your chosen web sites using the information you’ve supplied.
It stays accurate; there’s less work; and you update rates across all the sites.
(This article was first published by Martin Hatchuel of This Tourism Week, on behalf of nightsbridge.)