TripAdvisor helps hoteliers boost direct bookings through new Sponsored Placements feature

TripAdvisor is introducing a direct-booking feature to its Sponsored Placements product for accommodation providers designed to help them boost revenue.

Launched in April 2018, Sponsored Placements allows hotels to purchase sponsored listings that appear above search results and on nearby properties’ listings.

With the new feature, sponsored listings will now include a prominent link directly to a hotel’s website to facilitate a booking. Previously, listings linked through to an OTA.

Depending on where travelers click on the listing, they’ll be linked to the hotel’s website, its TripAdvisor page or an online travel agency’s booking page.

“This is the first time [hoteliers] can now drive direct traffic as well as visibility of their properties on TripAdvisor,” says Martin Verdon-Roe, vice president of B2B hotels for TripAdvisor.

“It’s very much an open marketplace for hoteliers to play in at a destination level to increase their visibility and allow them to increase their market share and hopefully see direct bookings.”

Verdon-Roe says listings will only appear when a hotel has availability, which helps hotels both fill their properties as well as manage their advertising budget.

He adds that occupancy is determined at the hotel level, whereas before occupancy was driven off of what was given to an OTA.

“Now all of a sudden, this can operate for [hoteliers], when before it wouldn’t have shown. This gives them direct controlling of when they show up.”

Hoteliers also have the option to not include a direct listing. Verdon-Roe says an example of a hotel that might go that route is one that “doesn’t have a brilliant website, or might not have that many languages, so therefore they actually would like an OTA to take control of it.”

Verdon-Roe says TripAdvisor added the feature after conducting extensive research with hoteliers to learn what they want from the platform, which includes harnessing the direct channel.

The research also revealed hoteliers want self-service solutions and the ability to interact more with travelers about what their properties offer. To that end, TripAdvisor has added an additional 200 amenities travelers can filter by.

Verdon-Roe says further optimization of Sponsored Placements will come around targeting ads.

TripAdvisor also offers Sponsored Placements in its Experiences division, where the company preferences Bokun suppliers (the platform purchased the technology provider in April 2018) with the product.

*Correction: An earlier version of this article stated hotels need to be subscribed to TripAdvisor’s Business Advantage program, however any hotel can purchase Sponsored Placements.