In hotel distribution and reservations, content enables a higher degree of comfort for the consumer. This comfort translated into a greater likelihood of purchase.
Many distribution channels resort to spreadsheets because they don’t need a lot of information ‐ just the hotel name, location and a few specific amenities such as free WIFI, airport shuttle, etc. If that’s all the company needs the content for, then it’s not necessary to obtain every available detail about each hotel.
Yet the speed of technology upgrades means that today's distribution is usually far more complex. And not just on the business side of things.
Today's traveler wants to see a variety of images and content types when it comes to selecting a hotel. If your hotel is limited in offering those perspectives to potential guests, then your conversions will also be limited.
Here's how to choose the right content implementation for your hotel.
Your listing matters
The right image makes all the difference when it comes to booking a hotel. Guests prefer multiple perspectives in order to be comfortable with making a decision to stay. Having unflattering or inaccurate photos on a hotel listing will put off many potential guests.
Trivago found significant benefits to having robust content on hotel listing. For profiles with high quality images, there are 63% more clicks. Profiles with accurate details receive 70% of clicks. And profiles that take time to build out their hotel description get 79% of clicks.
So, before you go about switching or finding a new content provider, be sure that you have the necessary assets to improve your profile. Gather your high quality photos, tweak your description, and ensure you have the most up-to-date details. Then you're ready to get started.
Content is king -- and questions are queen
Now that you have the hallmarks of a successful hotel listing, it's time to consider which content provider is right for you.
These are the five questions to consider as you evaluate solutions. When choosing the “right” content implementation, the objective is to enable a better level of detail and planning that supports future online development. And, of course, while also presenting the content favorably for visual merchandising.
#1: Who will be using the content?
This is critical when curating content for a user group or specific audience.
Is it a public audience or private? Are their nuances specific to the group you are targeting such as language requirements or must you be more cautious with images and descriptive information?
It’s also possible that you would be hosting and supporting the same content for multiple groups within one company organization. How the content is shared, and reliability, freshness and accuracy as it is disseminated, is important when updates and changes occur. Brands change, colors change, seasons change etc.
You need a solution that can swiftly handle any changes!
#2: What will the content be used for?
This helps determine the types and amount of content needed.
Consider the platform in which the content will be used, such as mobile website, app or desktop. On a mobile site, you may wish to use lower-resolution images and less descriptive content to improve speed and enable one-click consumer actions.
If you’re using content to support activities, meetings or to enhance the presentation on a page, review sizing and clarity. The brightness and contrast of the content is critical when adding images and rich media to an existing design.
You want to consider how the content will look in the view that consumers will see!
#3: Who will be providing the content?
This will determine your API options for getting the content and keeping it up to date.
Some distribution channels might choose to get descriptive text content from one source and the visual content from another source. In that case, you would need to determine how you will synchronize the two feeds to ensure proper sizing and data alignment for your images.
To ensure interoperability, have a clear understanding of your third parties’ capabilities, your own solution provision, and/or any intermediary supporting your distribution.
#4: What is the delivery method (push/pull) and update model (full update vs overlay)?
This will factor into the processes you will put in place for managing updates to the content.
Fo more detail on this technical issue, refer to the Delivery Methods and Update Model sections in our comprehensive whitepaper on descriptive content for hotels.
#5: How complex does the technology need to be to support the content requirements?
If you only need to share basic attributes, a spreadsheet delivered via FTP is the quickest and easiest solution.
However, this process doesn’t scale well. As your content needs increase, or if you are sourcing from multiple partners, a web service might be more efficient, improve accuracy, and provide a better audit trail of changes.
Making the decision
As you strategically deploy your solution requirements, clearly define any standards, including the ability to implement multi‐lingual, multi‐byte characters. This should be inclusive of tools for the hearing and visually impaired according to certain consumer laws.
Also: Check that images are tagged with multilingual terminology, the character counts match the display, and that content meets any limitations due to platform, localization or design.
Given how crucial content can be for running a successful hotel, this decision is bound to be stressful. Once you have thoroughly considered the above questions, you should be well-prepared to choose the best solution for your particular situation.
To see the full matrix of content providers, view Appendix A on the Hotel Descriptive Content Whitepaper.