How Social Media Can Help Beat OTAs

There are always multiple sides to the same story. While hotels are continuing to advice travelers to book directly though them, Online Travel Agencies (OTA) are fighting back with reports claiming direct bookings hold the same cost to hoteliers.

The report believes that the cost of moving bookings to the direct channel is marginal and “possibly negative” in terms of revenue for a property.

All the while, hotels now have more options than ever to place their rooms -from OTAs themselves to websites such as Airbnb. However, companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google are directing traffic differently.

All this means the idea of distribution still has no definitive answers.

Clarifying the Hotel Booking Experience

Hundreds of websites list the same hotel at different prices based on different room types. Cancellation policies and packaged offers is currently a cumbersome process.

At AQUA Intelligence, we believe by understanding the traveler’s intent, a hotelier’s goal should be to get travelers thinking about booking a stay at your hotel without visiting Expedia, or even Google.

Everyone is on Social Media

Social Media is an untapped market when it comes to the hospitality industry. We have potential travelers, their intent as well as recommendations and reviews from their peers among other points.

Facebook’s goal in travel is to dynamically recommend the right hotel to the right traveler at the right time, taking into account destination, availability, dates and pricing.

As the largest social platform in terms of logged in users, Facebook is unique in its ability to target travelers (not cookies) across devices and platforms

The company recently launched a product called Trip Consideration, which is meant to reach people who have shown they want to travel, such as liking a company’s Facebook page, but haven’t decided on a destination.

“Selecting a destination often comes after someone shows travel intent,” Christine Warner, head of travel for Facebook, told Skift. “After you show them a trip consideration ad, then a brand could potentially retarget travelers with a dynamic ad.”

Facebook Dynamic Ads will allow hotels to display real-time rates in your Facebook ads that changes with your supply and demand. This ensures Facebook users by clicking on your ad, they see the same rate or offer listed in the ad, rather than the common bait-and-switch frustration.

From Facebook, travelers are sent to your website to complete the reservation, saving on OTA commission costs and giving you all the guest data that OTAs won’t.

And if you ask guests to sign up for your loyalty program to receive these special rates, you’re using a fenced offer to stay within rate parity constraints.

Giving Hotels the Tools to Fight Back

Hoteliers looking to take back control of their business won’t be able to beat the OTAs at their own game. If done correctly, however, social media can be the great equalizer.

A December 2017 survey of ad buyers by financial services firm Cowen and Company showed Facebook as the second-best platform for ROI on ad spend, behind only Google. Nearly half of respondents named the platform as offering the highest ROI. Facebook ranked second, named by 30% of those polled.

At the end of the day, social media holds all the same travelers that OTAs spend millions of marketing and advertising dollars to drive to their site. Reaching them with the right personal offers at the right time has never been easier.

About AQUA:

AQUA Intelligence is developing a data-driven platform on the blockchain that will allow consumers to monetize and validate their personal data. AQUA has planned a complete roadmap to build AQUA Intelligence and is proven in their ability to execute with a demonstrable product in service. Part of their strategy is to gather data from their current products and discrete data sources to build the industry’s first comprehensive profile system for the global market. By leveraging Artificial Intelligence along with predictive analytics, these profiles will enable enterprises to improve sales, retention, conversion and customer satisfaction, significantly. AQUA is poised to evolve in a multi-billion dollar industry with significant market potential. You can learn more about AQUA at and help support our mission.

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