Accurate Online LisitngsIn my first post “Price Parity Across OTA’s – Why it Matters” I talked about price parity on OTAs and how large variations of pricing can confuse prospective guests. Price is one factor in a traveller’s decision-making process, but there are many more and sometimes they are not what you’d think.

I was chatting with someone the other day (let’s call him Ron) talking about what he looks for most when shopping for travel online. It wasn’t what I would have thought, and it probably wasn’t representative of what most people look for, but it was worth thinking about.

When Ron books accommodation online he is most likely to book the room that, when he turns the handle and opens the door, is exactly as he expected it to be.  More importantly, the room must be as his girlfriend expected it to be, otherwise there will be trouble.
So, if the photos, room names and descriptions are poor, Ron won’t book. If there is a large discrepancy between the photos, descriptions and room names across different websites, he won’t book. If all these are consistent across sites, then he’ll book on his favourite site that has the best price.  Why?  Because he’s been burned too many times with rooms that are nothing like the promise he’d made his girlfriend based on what was viewable online.

This is pretty extreme (and a little whipped, sorry to say fella), but the basics are sound.  Photos, room names and descriptions help clarify expectations. The more accurate they are, the better prepared your guests will be for what they get when they arrive.  Is your “executive room” a “king executive room” on some sites when it is the same thing?  Does every product have at least one photo attached to help clarify expectations?

Just in time for those Valentine’s Day check-ins it’s worth thinking about what your listings have promised your guests and help men everywhere keep their girlfriends happy.

Here’s a recent tv ad from Stamford Plaza that touches on guest expectations.
Until next time, happy Valentine’s Day.

2 thoughts on “Accurate online listings: a Valentine’s Day plea

  1. Good topic Daniel. A tourism operator’s online presence will make up a large percentage of their ‘first impressions’ and I believe many tourism operators let themselves down (resulting in lost business.) Whether it is their own website, a listing on an OTA or a paid spot on a travel directory it is vital to ensure QUALITY, CONSISTENT (across online channels)and ACCURATE content. A relevant quote that springs to mind is – The bitterness of poor quality remains long after low pricing is forgotten!

  2. Totally agree with Daniel and Chris. The first impression from the tourist might just very be the last impression too. Been travelling alot in the past half a year and there were many unpleasant incidents, especially relating to accommodation. For instance, i had a hotel stay which seemed more like a hostel stay in madrid. Shrugs.

    anyway, would just like to add on that, apart from having an online presence with their products/services information, businesses should also be aware of the importance of customers’ reviews and ratings on them. With the power of social media (as what I have learned in my communications class in Singapore Management University), its the customers who play a bigger role in defining the company’s brand and business today. (:

    ps. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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