It's not news that online travel agents charge significant commissions or that hotels would like to claw back some of that business direct via their own channels.
However, UK-based digital marketing specialist Crafted has looked at how both paid and organic hotel search results on Google UK add up and who is occupying the top positions.
Take paid results, for example, OTAs with large online marketing budgets and specialist digital teams, take up unsurprisingly 73% of paid listings for generic terms such as "hotels in...".
National chains, the likes of Premier Inn and Travelodge, take up about 19% leaving 6% for independent properties and chains.
But, OTAs also occupy 73% of organic listings (between seven and eight of the 10 available spots on the first page) with national brands taking about 24%, leaving 3% for the independent hotel sector.
What's also interesting, and clearly an opportunity for independent hotels - is the OTAs dominance of results slips to 57% for long-tail terms such as "luxury hotels in...".
Advice comes from Crafted via a whitepaper on how independents might use 'brains not brawn' to compete more effectively with key takeouts including:
- think about a local search and build up brand awareness via blogs, customer reviews and local websites to boost position on Google +.
- taking more advantage of the long-tail terms in paid search.
The research was carried out by analysing the organic and paid hotel search results for five UK cities - Brighton, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool and Oxford for a selection of popular terms. Local results were also taken into account via Google +.
NB: Little guy image via Shutterstock