Hotels will shift a portion of their online search marketing budgets from Google to TripAdvisor's new TripConnect, a new metasearch auction bidding tool.
NB: This is a guest post from Craig Stewart of FreeToBook, an internet booking engine that is a certified provider of TripAdvisor's TripConnect service. [See editor's note below]
In the real world of limited marketing budgets, one company's gain will be another's loss. The much-awaited TripConnect system is a new way for properties to spend their advertising money.
Why is Google Pay Per Click inferior to TripConnect?
Consider the perspective of the owners of an independent hotels and bed and breakfasts, with the following five reasons.
1) Google Pay Per Click is wasteful
TripConnect will not show advertisements when a property is unavailable. The TripConnect system checks availability and rates with the property's Internet Booking Engine (IBE) before showing the advert.
In comparison, Google Pay Per Click adverts are not “availability dependent” and will always show, costing clicks when a property is unavailable.
2) TripAdvisor's TripConnect puts the customer directly into the booking process
That cuts out wasted time by the user spent browsing. A traveler has all of the information to make the purchase.... price, price comparison, availability, and a quality ranking. A Google advert provides none of these.
3) TripConnect goes further down the transaction funnel
When a potential customer is searching on TripAdvisor they are beyond the simple Google search “London Hotels” they are looking for “Which London hotel” where would you rather put your money ?
4) Easy ROI Tracking
TripConnect has built in return-on-investment (ROI) tracking to show bookings completed alongside the costs. Yes, Google has their analytics software, but Google Analytics requires more specialist knowledge to interpret.
TripConnect has a much simpler interface. It clearly tells a property what they want to know: booking revenue versus advertising costs.
5) All about relevancy
TripConnect advertisements are on a property's TripAdvisor page, providing rich context (and content).
So what does it all mean?
Google's lack of connectivity to the world's property owners, their booking engines, and inferior review data are three weaknesses they would need to rectify before a realistic chase can commence on TripConnect.
Our guess is that Google Hotel Finder will be watching TripConnect with their data microscope, after all not even Google wants to see their click revenue start to shrink.
It will be interesting to see how the search giant responds. Perhaps it will get creative with Google Carousel, the rotating series of images at the top of search results that point directly to property websites.
NB: This is a guest post from Craig Stewart of FreeToBook, an internet booking engine that is a certified provider of TripAdvisor's TripConnect service.
NB2: Editor's note - readers may well be thinking FreeToBook, as a software partner to TripAdvisor, has a vested interest in playing up the likely success of the new TripConnect platform.
Stewart explains via email that Google's Hotel Finder does actually have benefits over TripAdvisor, but until it connects with hoteliers in the same way as the user review giant then these are not worth considering.
"We simply want to connect the world's properties to the world's distribution systems. We know it is possible - it is what has to happen," he adds.
Stewart says that Google has been approached to get this connection for hoteliers, but has yet to receive any reply. The potential for Google, he believes, being "massive".