Crowne Plaza Portland Downtown
How One Hotel Uses OTAs to Drive Direct Bookings
While many hoteliers are convinced that OTAs hinder their abilities to acquire bookings through their own direct channels, Eno Spina-Denson, Director of Sales and Marketing at the Crowne Plaza Portland Downtown, sees the situation differently.
In a recent interview with our team, she explained “Our goal is always to increase our hotel-direct bookings, however, we cannot ignore OTAs and third-party sites.” She was on to something that we needed to explore further.
As our conversation continued, it became clear that Spina-Denson has a deep understanding of how travelers go about planning and booking their trips. “Even if travel shoppers are not booking through OTAs, these sites are an important part of the research process.” She hit the nail on the head.
Think about the last time you planned a trip. How many sites did you visit? Which sites did you use to research hotel options? You likely visited an online travel agency or two at some point along the way.
But if you’re like 82% of hotel guests, you prefer to book directly on a hotel’s website if you can get a good price and a trustworthy experience. “This is why showcasing the hotel in its best light and consistently on all of these OTA sites is valuable,” shared Spina-Denson. She has seen the results first-hand. The hotel’s direct bookings have improved since Spina-Denson started using VBrochure to enhance the property’s visual presentation on OTAs.
“Even if travel shoppers are not booking through OTAs, these sites are an important part of the research process.”
Eno Spina-Denson, Director of Sales & Marketing at Crowne Plaza Portland Downtown Convention Center
When visiting the hotel’s page on an OTA, travel shoppers can click to launch the multi-media gallery that includes high resolution virtual tours, images and catchy descriptions. It’s a much more engaging experience than clicking through small images. “I like having control over how the hotel’s images are viewed by the way that they are organized,” says Spina-Denson.
“We highlight what there is to see and do at the hotel and in the surrounding area. That helps to add value to what we offer.” Spina-Denson believes that the compelling visual story she tells about the hotel on OTAs is one of the factors that eventually leads travel shoppers to visit ihg.com, cpportland.com or pick up the phone to book directly – moving them from hotel shopper to confirmed guest.
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