New opportunities to increase the direct bookings

TripAdvisor has recently launched TripConnect, a program dedicated to the hospitality sector which allows independent hotels to use a self-service auction platform in order to bid for position in hotel metasearch. Trip Connect is only available to Business Listings subscribers and to independent hotels working with a certified, integrated internet booking engine.
The question is how will this new platform impact smaller, independent properties? Are the marketing budgets going to change, will there be an important impact on the conversions ?

How does Trip Connect work?

Independent hotels that subscribe to TripAdvisor Business Listings can place a bid for a favourable position in the Hotel Price Comparison rankings by choosing how much they wish to pay per click. Participating hoteliers only pay when a traveller clicks through to their reservation page. This will most likely increase the number of ‘click-throughs’ to the property and the online bookings.

If you use Trip Connect and you would like to monitor its benefits, you should check out the additional features, Review Express and revenue tracking services, which enable you to monitor the benefits of the service. The user interface is really simple to use as it was designed to save property owners time and money in their marketing efforts. If you are a traveler in search of accommodation, you will also benefit from reduced research time and quick access the hotel’s direct rate and availability. As a tourist, you can access the website’s booking page, where you can book directly with them.

The new Trip Connect can be a real game changer for your hotel as it offers you a self-service CPC advertising plaform that websites like Expedia, Booking.com or Travelocity can’t provide. And even though your hotel won’t invest the money that large online travel agencies and hotels will bring to TripAdvisor’s hotel metasearch, the innovative platform can be to your small property a powerful and effective tool.

Maybe small hotels and B&Bs will only outbid the big chains for some properties where the competition isn’t that important, but in situations when they show availability, while the larger hotels are “sold out”, Trip Connect becomes an advantageous new weapon. There is also a category of travelers who want to avoid the big chains and would rather go for smaller hotels. Trip Connect will probably be among their options when searching for a place to stay.

Trip Connect versus Google Adwords

Due to its numerous advantages, the new TripAdvisor metasearch auction bidding tool will most probably make many hotels shift a portion of their online search marketing budgets from Google. Google fails to connect the user directly to the world’s property owners, it lacks proper booking engines and provides inferior review data ; these are three weaknesses that will make TripConnect a better advertisement choice.

The most important advantages of the Trip Advisor new tool are:

  • Unlike Google Adwords, it will not show advertisements when a property is unavailable. Owners have to bid for position on a cost-per-click basis and can manage their spend depending on where they want to appear in the list.
  • TripAdvisor’s TripConnect offers the traveler all of the information to make the purchase: price, price comparison, availability, and a quality ranking.
  • When it comes to ROI tracking, TripConnect has a built in tracking tool to show bookings completed alongside the costs. Google has their analytics software too, but it is more difficult to interpret as it requires specialized knowledge.

TripConnect can become a useful tool for independent owners which can now drive more direct bookings and increase revenues, as well as collecting more reviews and tracking performance.