How does TripAdvisor's newest feature affect you and your customers?
Last month I wrote about how sexy Trip Advisor's newly-launched search and book functionality is which is already proving popular with the travellers. This month they have announced yet another new feature - it is called TripAdvisor Connect.
At Tomahawk, we are thrilled that our booking engine ResBook is one of the chosen booking engines that TripAdvisor will be including in their initial Trip Advisor Connect launch. 210 booking engines from 48 countries worldwide were chosen for the the initial launch.
TripAdvisor Connect allows properties to have their own booking engine button on their listing page instead of just the Online Travel Agents (OTA) big fat buttons which lure bookings to their own sites. But before you jump to the conclusion that this is the answer you have been waiting for, there is some small print to read.
What does Trip Advisor Connect mean for accommodation providers?
Accommodations are tiring of the Online Travel Agents getting the bookings from their listing page.
TripAdvisor has heard properties plea to have their own booking engines displayed and have created an API so the accommodation's chosen booking engine can be added on their listing page.
But this new feature is not all about TripAdvisor hearing their customers' pleas and benevolently fulfilling the request. TripAdvisor Connect also means another new revenue stream for them.
First, every property will need a business listing on TripAdvisor. Then, like AdWords, accommodations will 'bid' to have their own booking engine placed on their listing. But be warned - the OTAs can bid too, and the property's own booking engine button could be one amongst the others.
Some travellers will still click through to their preferred OTAs site to book for a variety of reasons; they may have an account with the OTA so it auto-populates their information and credit card details or they may have a sexy app that meets all their travel needs. Other travellers will obviously want to click through to the accommodation provider's site to book directly with the property.
How does a property ensure the traveller books directly with them is key and a subject worthy of a an article or two of its own so watch for that next month.
What does it mean for Online Travel Agents?
It will be interesting to watch how the new TripAdvisor Connect is adopted by travellers and how it may change the cost of sale for OTAs. Will the OTAs keep bidding to be on a busy property's listing if the percentage of bookings is leaning towards the hotel? Will the hotel continue to have an account with an OTA that outbids them on their TripAdvisor listing?
The power and influence of TripAdvisor seems to be growing every month. It is important, no, more than that, it is vital for every property to keep those excellent guest ratings coming and to watch TripAdvisor developments.
With TripAdvisor perfecting the Google multi-billion revenue-generating AdWords model with this new initiative, I can guarantee you that Google is watching them too!