The hotel industry has become inundated with content. There are literally hundreds of photos circulating for each and every hotel. Then there is all the text-based content describing amenities and services offered. An more recently, there is the flood of user-generated content that hoteliers at times may or may not appreciate. Breaking it down even further, we have content specific to each room, each feature of that room and the associated rates. Now imagine the challenges of integrating all of this content into your own brand website as well as the online travel world?
The plethora of content creates a massive problem for those trying to ensure consistency between all online and offline channels. The hotel industry has moved toward an "ingredient-based" approach where partners on both sides of the distribution equation require complete flexibility to deconstruct and reconstruct content to support different markets, devices, and business models. This can be a difficult process to fully understand and so best practices need to be developed and adhered to in order for this complexity to become seamless.
One more thing. Once you add consumer dynamics into the equation, it brings up a whole new set of issues. Certain guests may make decisions based upon images and rates, while others may delve into the description to find precisely what they are looking for. And for some guests, it all comes down to finding the lowest rate available.
So fundamentally, every type of content matters. We just need to figure out what kinds of content are better able to deliver the information that converts more bookings and reduces abandon rates.
In a study delivered late in 2016, it was revealed that the following are drivers related to content:
- Guest rooms are the #1 most viewed images on travel websites and are viewed 2X more than the second most popular category, restaurants
- 45% of travelers worldwide consider special offers valuable to booking
- 53% of travelers will not book a hotel that does not have any reviews
Finally, the report stated that 81% of online travel bookings are abandoned each year. This means that as an industry, we need to do a much better job at ensuring the booking path is intuitive and frictionless.
Travelers have become extremely adept at shopping for hotels online. However, as hoteliers, we should find ways to make this even easier for them. By delivering content that informs as well as promotes a genuinely positive feeling about our property, we can ensure guests have all the details necessary to make a reservation and look forward to their stay. If only we could be confident that this experience would occur consistently - regardless of the channel!
The HEDNA Content Working Group is tackling these challenges and content issues. Our goal is to have our industry at large deliver consistent content on whichever platform, in whichever format, the traveler/guest wants to consume it. This is certainly a lofty goal, but it is achievable.
Content matters. Travelers searching for accommodations must have access to informative, accurate and engaging content that converts lookers into bookers. After all, isn't that what it's all about?