The newspapers took a less charitable view:
- artificially inflating prices by denying the hotels the right to undercut their (the OTA's) quoted prices - rate parity clauses
- using their financial firepower to dominate Google PPC - resulting in individual hotels being unable to afford to compete for their own names in search
- using cookies to harvest price sensitive information about travelers in order to up-price offers
- giving preference in search to hotels who pay the OTA the most commission
- not committing significant resources in the battle to eliminate fake reviews
- using misleading advertising to give the impression that the consumer would be financially better off booking through the OTA
- Look great on Google and TripAdvisor: get great reviews there and have a mechanism for managing comments from less than thrilled guests direct - and offline
- Look great on your own websites: what does your prospective guests want to see there? Loads of high resolution images, lots more independently verified reviews and a 'best price promise'.
Why would this hotel be satisfied with ranking at 385 in London when, virtually at the flick of a switch, they could increase their positive guest reviews by at least a quarter and reduce the negatives by three-quarters?
Why would they allow their Google score to dwindle to within 0.2 of being filtered from mobile search?
And where are the reviews that their potential guests crave? And their price promise?
The hotel - and every other hotel - needs to engage with proactive and professional review management:
- to minimise the amount of inaccurate and misleading negative reviews that are published about them - anywhere in the web
- to give their guests an easy channel to enable them to write reviews - on the hotel's own website and to external sites that matter: Google, TripAdvisor and the rest