Thursday 4 October 2012

Dialogue for great hotels

One of us spoke to a potential hotel client in East Anglia today. It raised an issue which we thought we ought to post for everyone to see. It went something like this:

"We are No 10 out of 73 hotels in our area, and everyone checks us out on TripAdvisor before they book (we ask them), even if they have found us somewhere else and already visited our website, and we get a steady flow of business. So we don't see that Dialogue can help."

Here's our reply:

"We completely accept that you will always get 'a steady flow of business' if you remain in the TripAdvisor top 10 in [town]. But there is a 'but': You also say that after finding you, however that happened, 'they then went to TripAdvisor'. This raises two points: the first is 'Why?' and the second is 'what happened when they went there?'

Why? is the simplest to answer: they wanted reassurance from previous guests. And with your lovely hotel they are getting it in spades! Job done, we might assume, but there is a fly in the ointment:

What happened? This is a slightly more complex question. Right under your fantastic ranking is TripAdvisor's 'See Hotels' button:

This takes your potential guests straight to four online travel agencies (OTAs), none of which list your hotel. HelpHound has spent the last six years understanding, amongst other things, the behaviour of TripAdvisor users. We know that a percentage of people who first visit your website and then go to TripAdvisor go on to book through these OTAs. It's partly a 'trust' thing: they trust TripAdvisor, therefore they trust the OTAs TripAdvisor link to.

So: back to the question at issue: how can Dialogue help you? It will satisfy a lot of visitors to your site, so they don't have to visit TripAdvisor and get 'poached away' by their OTAs."

We could have gone on to make another crucial point: that for any given number of potential guests that visit TripAdvisor, a significant proportion will book elsewhere, whether the hotel subscribes or not.

We hope this helps you understand how Dialogue can help even the best rated hotels.

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