I’m sure you have already heard the news that Expedia is planning on buying Orbitz in a $1.34 billion deal. To read the Wall Street Journal’s take on situation, just click here.

What caught my eye was a line in the second paragraph which says the “deal is sure to spark grumbling from hotel and airline operators, who are wary of having even bigger companies standing between them and their customers.”

As a hotel operator I hope you are doing more than just grumbling. There has never been a better time for hotels to commit to driving significantly more direct bookings. Here are some actions that can be taken immediately.

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  1. Determine how much you are paying the OTAs – To quickly calculate how much your hotel is paying OTAs just go to the OTA Hidden Cost Calculator. Just enter a few figures and you’ll get a good sense of what its costing you. In the majority of tests we have run for small luxury hotels, the amount paid to the OTAs was significantly more than what the hotel spent on marketing directly to consumers.
  2. Commit to maximizing direct bookings and customer loyalty – To do this many hotels need to rethink the way they market themselves. They have to move away from having various marketing disciplines (web, PR, PPC, email, etc.) in different silos where it is difficult to coordinate messages.
    The silo approach is being replaced by the integrated Customer Relationship Marketing, or iCRM approach to building loyal customers. It is a disciplined approach designed to ensure you customers are taken care of before, during and after their stay and until they become your brand advocates.
    MP&A Digital & Advertising has just published an overview of iCRM along with two short case studies that demonstrate how effective this approach can be. If you would like a copy, please send an email to me using your hotel email address and I will send it to you right away.
    Now if the time to take action, take control of your destiny, build more loyal customers and drive more direct bookings.
AUTHOR: Madigan Pratt

Madigan Pratt is President of MP&A Digital & Advertising, an award-winning agency helping luxury hotels attract and retain profitable customers. Principals with over 60 years of collective experience at some of the world's largest advertising and direct marketing companies lead the agency's team of marketing, creative, public relations, Internet and social media professionals.

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