Honolulu, Hawaii - September 13, 2010
Some travel industry experts portray Expedia as a monopoly that is taking
online revenue away from hotels. No matter how you feel about this characterization,
there is no denying that Expedia is a powerhouse. The key is to using Expedia
is to harness its power to benefit your hotel’s online revenue, especially
as Expedia is morphing from a traditional OTA into a travel search engine.
Expedia placement comes at a cost. There is a commission based on several
factors, such as location, brand, business mode, etc. However, you must
view this expense as a cost of doing business. Just as we spend on Google
to optimize and buy pay per click ads for hotels, Expedia placement should
also be part of an overall online marketing campaign. Expedia can not only
influence your top line, but also boost bookings on your proprietary websites
and your Google campaign conversions.
Evision Worldwide’s experience with clients in top-tier markets reveals
to us a notable, positive relationship between a hotel’s ranking on Expedia.com
and the subsequent performance of paid search marketing campaigns on Google.
With all of our hotel clients, we underscore the necessity of incorporating
Expedia presence as part of their overall comprehensive online marketing
A four-star hotel client in a competitive, top-tier market obtained
#1 placement on Expedia. Almost immediately, a significant spike
in conversions and traffic was observed. More important, their Google AdWords
results were also affected by the placement.
The hotel saw the following changes during the immediate 3-month period
following the #1 Expedia placement, as compared with the same 3-month period
the previous year:
22% increase in AdWords impressions for brand name keywords
7% increase in AdWords click-through rate (CTR)
16% increase in overall online conversion rate
Though changes were made to the PPC campaign strategy during the year,
the large increase immediately after the Expedia listing, coupled with
consistent gains following the listing, indicate that a large portion of
the gains can be attributed to the Expedia listing. Not only were the effects
immediate, but the placement also produced longer-term results that were
similar to results obtained by other domestic and international clients
in our portfolio.
In the 8 months following #1 placement on Expedia, CTR for the
brand name keywords in AdWords increased by 35%.
In the 8 months following #1 placement on Expedia, online revenue
the hotel booking engine increased 16%.
The Google Effect
Your hotel’s presence on Expedia doesn’t end there. It also gets you
exposure on Google. This increased visibility is especially valuable if
your hotel is not yet ranking in Google for some of the highly competitive
city-based searches (ex: hotels in Sydney, hotels in San Francisco, hotels
How does your Expedia listing expose you to millions of additional online
searches? A majority of the savvy searchers on Expedia will copy and paste
your hotel’s name right from Expedia into Google to check out your website,
and potentially will book directly with you. Of course, you will need to
show up in Google for your own name, have a decent website with the right
messaging, and an effective booking engine. Independent hotels who have
addressed these factors usually see the best ROI from an Expedia placement,
as it effectively helps them drive direct traffic and reservations on their
Strategies for Leveraging Expedia Placement
Here are some strategies hotels can employ to make the most of their
presence on Expedia:
Go for higher Expedia rankings. Remember that your hotel brand and
revenue will definitely get a boost from healthy exposure on Expedia.com.
View your commission payment as the cost of marketing on the world’s biggest
travel search engine.
Have a strong search marketing program. Make sure you dominate your
brand-related searches on Google. Expedia will drive higher brand-related
traffic your way. It’s your duty to dominate the search engine results
page with SEO and PPC to capture and convert this traffic into revenue.
Convert visitors on your site. Online travelers who find you on
both Google and Expedia have a choice to make about where they book. Make
sure you offer an above-average website experience and a robust booking
engine. You also need to offer rate parity and as many extras and conveniences
as you can to entice guests to book directly with you.
Use Expedia PPC. If for any reason (brand-related pressure, rate
restrictions, etc), your hotel is not able to get top-level placement on
Expedia’s location search, you now have the opportunity to bid for top
placement in Expedia’s paid search area. Expedia’s own pay per click program
can be seen in full force if you search for rooms in any major US metropolitan
area. These ads can really help you get you hotel name out there. Expedia
PPC is especially relevant for independent hotels, hotels that have recently
renovated, and hotels that have changed their brand affiliation. But getting
your brand name out there is always a priority.
In conclusion, we must all start to acknowledge the massive online presence
that Expedia has built for itself over the years. It’s easy to get caught
up in negative propaganda on how some hotels have been robbed of their
online share. Instead of thinking of Expedia as a competitor, hotels should
think of ways to leverage Expedia’s massive spending and advanced search
marketing efforts. You need to explore every option to boost your online
revenue. The fact is that, when used to your advantage, Expedia.com is
one of the best ways to start driving direct revenue and bookings to your
About Evision Worldwide
At Evision Worldwide,
it is our mission to help hotel owners and asset managers get the most
out of their hotel investment. We work with hotels and resorts worldwide
from our offices in Chicago and Honolulu, providing a high level of service
and personalized support that is unmatched in the hotel marketing industry.
Our online revenue
optimization services include: website design and development, hotel
ecommerce and revenue management, hotel takeover strategy, search engine
optimization, pay per click advertising, and mobile marketing.