3 Ways to Bypass the Travel Booking Sites (and Keep More Money)

woman fighting the ota's
Alex Corral
Alex Corral
October 21, 2013

Table of Contents

October 24, 2019

Big travel booking websites such as Expedia, Hotels.com, and HotWire are all large online platforms to market a hotel. However, inclusion into these platforms means your hotel needs to hand over a portion of the money for each booking.

Wouldn't it be nice to bypass these channels and keep more in your pocket?

You can continue to use these services to keep your quota. It's worthwhile to begin exploring other online options that allow your hospitality business to get straight through to the customer. The following are three different ways to do so.

1. Leverage Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a collection of tactics and strategies to gain higher placement on the search engine results. The primary tactics include link building, keyword optimization, social media participation, and blogging.

One potent form of SEO is to go after the reviews.

People seeking your business are very likely to type "reviews" after their search query. It will allow them to see what others have to say about the company. Sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor are a portal for soliciting feedback about the business. Increasing your review count will allow your property to rise to the top.

Seek the aid of SEO professionals. Pricing will vary depending on the strategies to be implemented. It's a worthwhile investment if you wish to cut back on travel booking websites and keep a more significant cut of your customers' stay.

2. Participate in Social Media, Locally

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn provide a free channel to reach individuals seeking accommodation. Additionally, it gives you the ability to tailor content and your market message to those in your area, which encourages followers to inquire about more information.

Join the major social media platforms, create a complete profile, and begin sharing with the community.

· Write posts about popular destinations, eateries, and relaxation spots in the area

· Share discount codes

· Interview guests about their stay

There is no limit to what you can do with social media. Get out there, connect, and you'll begin building a solid foundation of new and repeat customers in a timely fashion.

3. Implement a Referral Engine

Word-of-mouth marketing can be one of the most potent forms of gaining new and repeat business because the recommendations come from trusted sources.

For example, the app HotelTonight was able to quickly take off in popularity because it implemented a referral engine. This gave users credit toward hotels for each new person they referred to and had booked a hotel. The use of this strategy grew the userbase by thousands in a fast fashion.

Your business can begin implementing this strategy on a shoe-string budget. Through the clever use of business cards with referral codes that customers, leaving, could hand to friends and family.

The business could also use specific keywords that tip the receptionist to the referral.

There are technological options, too, such as using an affiliate marketplace. These will allow you to use referral codes and cookies to track visitors to your website and pay those that promote your site.

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