Garry Viner: Hello, it’s Garry and Mariano, the Argentinian dynamo from Rocket. Mariano has had a number of clients across the hotel industry and, as any hotel advertiser would know, the number one challenge in this space is dealing with the presence of OTAs – that’s online travel agents, as such as Expedia, Wotif, Booking.com. Why do they present a challenge and what do we do about it?
Mariano DiLascio: So it’s definitely a challenge because of two things. The OTAs are great as distribution channels so they can potentially skyrocket your reach, which is great, but they charge you a commission for each booking that they score. So now that we are discussing branded traffic, when it comes to branded traffic, you really want that branded traffic to go through your website. First and naturally because you prefer not to pay commissions for your branded traffic you shouldn’t.
Mariano DiLascio: And secondly, and most importantly because the OTAs, they don’t care if a user ends up booking with you or with someone else. Let’s say you have a hotel, Garry’s Hotel, I type, “Garry’s Hotel room summer,” in that case, I will be presented with a lot of OTA ads. So there’s a risk in that because if I go to their website, to the OTA website, I will be presented with a lot of options. We can see different reviews, we can see different hotel features, different opening times, deals, whatever. So in that case there’s a risk of me booking through someone else when I was originally intending to go to your website.
Garry Viner: Okay, so you’ve searched for Garry’s Hotel, you click on an OTA and suddenly presented not just with ads from Garry’s Hotel but ads from other hotels as well. That’d be tragic, I mean you’re one of my best customers, I’d hate for that to happen.
Mariano DiLascio: Yeah.
Garry Viner: All right, so protect your brand, I know advertisers pretend, usually don’t like to bid too much on their brand because it you know kind of rankles a little bit because in theory that should be something that comes for free. But if ever there was a space where this was important, this is it. And I guess on mobile it’s even more important because you don’t get as much advertising space. If you’re not the number one ad in mobile, you’ve got very little chance to compete.
Mariano DiLascio: Yeah. Yeah. And definitely something that we see in reality. So at some point it’s important to understand that we think in some way and then we face reality, we have to adjust our marketing behaviour to whatever brings us the highest results. And in this case we know for a fact that if you don’t bid on your brand, you end up losing business.
Mariano DiLascio: And one of the critical things is that you cannot measure how much business you are losing for that branded traffic going through the OTAs because you never know who ends up booking with you or who ends up booking with someone else.
Garry Viner: Yeah, makes sense. I guess also with your branded ads you can control the message as well. If you spend a lot of time on your brand image, you want the sort of somebody who’s searching for your ad to actually see that image rather than that which the OTA thinks is the right one to put forward in your behalf. And that came out all wrong. But I don’t care. Thank you so much for watching. We’re happy to advertise your hotel at Rocket or any other industry. You’ll see the URL on the screen. Thanks very much.