Should hotels share their best images with online travel agencies?News / Distribution | OnlineBy Viewpoints | October 9, 2014Share This article was originally published on The battle between online travel agencies and hotels has been long and tireless, but it’s time for both sides to wave the white flag.NB: This is an analysis by Alexandra O'Neale from Ice Portal.While online travel agencies transformed the way we book travel, some hotel brands believe that they should save their best visuals for their website – that could be a big mistake!Shunning the OTAs will adversely impact bookings.Brand sites should provide quality content and visuals to their own site as well as third party intermediaries. So why do brands need to provide the same visuals to OTAs?Many consumers booking through the hotel site, started on an OTAOne of the greatest benefits of working with an OTA is the chance to expand your consumer audience. Did you know that three quarters of the consumers who book your hotel found you through an OTA?You need to capture the attention of the consumer regardless which site they start on as well as where they book.According to a study by Cornell University (the famed "Billboard effect" report), 75% of the traffic that is booked on a brand’s website visited an OTA prior to making the purchase, and 3 to 9 of those bookings were directly influenced by the OTA listing.The take away: OTAs may help generate more traffic and bookings!Consistency across all platforms is keyIt doesn’t matter if a consumer is looking at your hotel on your site or through an OTA, your hotel needs to be well represented. By providing high quality, up to date visuals, you’re providing consumers with an in depth look into their travel plans.Want even more engagement? Hotels that provide 20+ photos receive 150% more engagement than hotels that provide only a few photos (TripAdvisor, 2013). Your hotel is being represented on hundreds of OTAs.If your visuals are inconsistent, consumers are hesitant to book.Stand out in a world of choiceWhen a consumer is shopping for the right hotel, how will your hotel stand out in a sea of properties? Your visuals!Let’s face it, people don’t read, they look at the "pretty" pictures.Visuals entice consumers to find out more about your hotel. Want an increase of bookings? Provide the best visuals that include relevant meta-date (captions, room types, descriptions, etc.).This will allow you to showcase clear and engaging content.The OTAs should be a marketing channel for showcasing your visuals. When OTAs are used correctly and are provided with up to date visual content, you’ll see a surge of engagement, bookings, and who knows, it may also increase brand loyalty.In the end, your hotel will benefit the most. So let’s call a truce, and focus on providing excellent visuals to distribution channels.NB: This is an analysis by Alexandra O'Neale from Ice Portal.NB2:Hotel pictures image via Shutterstock.