Despite that sites remain hotel brands’ primary source of digital revenues, research from L2’s recent Digital IQ Index: Hotels illustrates that many brands have yet to adopt basic best practices. Only 17 percent of brands in the Index offered ratings and user reviews, despite the fact that those brands that do send 39 percent less traffic to Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) like Expedia, Priceline and Orbitz. The decision to forego these two relatively simple features cost hotel brands $2.5 billion in 2010 alone. In fact, the average cost of bookings to hotels on OTAs is 7 to 60x more expensive: $40-$120 versus $2-$6 on their own sites.
Another example of a missed opportunity lies in social sharing functionalities, which only 40 percent of brands in the Index currently have. Those brands that do install the Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram sharing icons on their site saw average page views grow 12 percent during L2’s three-month data collection window–this, compared with negative two percent for those that did not.
All told, hotels that invest in brand-specific content average longer average time on site and a greater number of return visitors, as the chart above shows. Visitors spend nearly one minute (16 percent) longer on hotel brands’ sites that include concierge or staff tips than those that that do not. Curated itineraries encourage an extra 40 seconds (12 percent) on site.