What are OTA rankings?
An OTA ranking is a way of evaluating accommodations based on the quality and completeness of their textual and visual content. The scores are used to rank hotels and B&Bs based on various factors:
- Comprehensiveness of profile
- Conversion rates
However, each channel uses its own criteria for hotel ranking and often changes strategies, making it challenging for hotel managers to adapt to this. Below we give you 5 concrete tips to improve your ranking and increase your revenue.
#1 Find the right OTA mix
An important first step is to make sure you are using the right OTA mix. Being present on different booking sites enables you to reach different target groups. The number of OTAs has significantly grown in a short period of time, and many of them appeal to specific groups with specific wishes. Take your time to research different sites and then engage with the right ones. Being present on the right platforms ensures maximum interest from visitors, resulting in a better position for you.
#2 Keep your profiles up to date
It is important to manage your profiles properly and keep them up to date, as OTAs punish profiles that have not been updated for a long time. Using low-quality photos or having room types that are not comparable will play to your disadvantage too. Also keep in mind the price parity requirement; Booking.com will positively rank an accommodation if the price on their website is the lowest. So be sure to monitor your own prices and those of the competition. The better updated your listings are, the more likely you are to receive more bookings and improve your OTA rankings.
#3 Collect reviews and respond
Reviews are often a determining factor for your position in the OTA rankings. Hotels and B&Bs with many positive reviews are rewarded with a higher position. So don't forget to ask clients to leave a review. You could even use an incentive, such as a free drink. Whether the reviews are positive is of course determined by the quality of the service and the stay. Obviously, it is important to always strive for the highest possible standards for your accommodation.
After the reviews have been posted, you as the hotel owner still have a certain amount of control. Responding to positive, but especially negative reviews is essential. It shows the OTAs that you are an active user, and potential customers will view you as more reliable. It’s also a good way to keep a finger on the pulse and to discover and address the pain points of your accommodation. That way, future guests get an increasingly better experience. Those positive experiences, in turn, lead to positive reviews and better OTA rankings.
#4 Minimise cancellations
Receiving a lot of cancellations also reflects in your position on booking sites. So come up with a watertight cancellation policy before you roll out your availability on different channels. Try not to be too flexible and not too strict either. This will help you improvise in different situations and get more confirmed bookings from the OTAs.
What can you do? First of all, it’s important to understand why people cancel. Collect and analyse the reasons and figure out when you get those cancellations. Is it just before their arrival or a few days before? Is it on the part of the third party, or is it because of overbooking? This information can help you minimise last-minute cancellations. That way, you can maintain consistency in your bookings and increase your room occupancy, which certainly helps your position on the OTAs.
#5 BEO algorithm
Although these tips can come in handy, it remains difficult to really get a grip on the position of your accommodation in OTA rankings. That's why consultancy firm Loreca has developed a unique algorithm that automatically places your business as high as possible on these sites. Loreca is the first company to use BEO or booking engine optimisation: techniques to place an accommodation higher on booking websites.
The algorithm finds its foundations in a parametric study that examined the influence of parameters on an OTA. In total, 951 parameters were examined. From these, Loreca took the 100 parameters with a significance of 80 percent or more. In this way Loreca found an ideal mix to optimise an accommodation.
BEO is applicable to Booking.com, Airbnb, Agoda, Expedia and many more booking websites. The algorithm provides an average increase in sales of 24%. Recently, Cubilis has partnered up with Loreca, allowing us to offer our clients an even better service and take their online visibility to the next level.
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