Monday, November 9, 2009

The Billboard Effect

We enjoy finding new accommodation industry specific jargon and catch-phrases. Using our own coded language gives us an air of superiority, loftiness and self-importance;-)

We were reading an article the other day and discovered a new term that we can add to our vernacular: 'The Billboard Effect."

So, What does this mean?

The Billboard Effect is the benefits that accommodation providers gain from marketing their property across many mediums. This can include listing inventory with an Online Travel Agents (OTA) such as and This exposure will generate complimentary reservations through other direct channels, such as the accommodation provider's own website, telephone etc.

A worthy question would be: "how much business does The Billboard Effect generate?" This would vary between properties, however we know ourselves that we have regular email, telephone and even off-road inquiries from potential guests that first source availability, room configuration and tariff details from our listings on OTAs.

An extreme example of this is that we now regularly see potential guests sitting in their car outside our motel with a laptop, researching accommodation options before they walk through the door.

Cornell's Center for Hospitality Research, has recently done an interesting study on The Billboard Effect and  has measured the actual direct reservation volume benefits from OTA exposure. This travel research is available HERE.

For those that do not wish to wade through the report, the findings report that OTA exposure increased direct reservations from 7.5 to 26 percent.

Although accommodation providers can grumble about "evils" of OTAs, it must be kept in mind that they provide valuable exposure and commission free bookings can be gained from OTAs' bleeding sales opportunities.

There is an increasing amount of potential guests that are using the internet to research accommodation options, however a hard core of them will still book through traditional channels.

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