Unlock the power of the billboard effect
How Track’s Distribution Engine helps optimize OTA listings
As a property manager, are you confident in your management of distribution listings across various platforms? Or do you feel exhausted by the number of channels, the tedium of posting content, and/or the difficulty of maneuvering technology? Maybe you’re simply fed up with the commission fees you have to pay when guests book directly through an OTA?
If so, you might not be fully aware of the Billboard Effect—the phenomenon in which listing on OTAs can effectively drive bookings to your website. For short-term rentals, the Billboard Effect is potentially more powerful than ever. In 2021, the online travel market size worldwide reached the $433.2 billion mark and is expected to reach $690.71 billion by 2026 (Statista). Moreover, a whopping 83% of US adults today want to book their trips online (StratosJets). And among those, the largest growing segment is under 35.
One of the motivating reasons for this mushroom growth is that during the pandemic, would-be travelers—stuck at home—got a lot more internet savvy. In fact, today many travelers use OTAs like a Google search—to compare location, price, and amenities.
That’s why optimizing your OTA listings should be your number one marketing priority.
As Vanessa Moore, director of distribution at TravelNetSolutions, says about the billboard effect: “It’s all about product, price, and positioning.”
And the first step is getting as many eyeballs as possible on your product.
Picture this: some savvy marketer has placed your yet-to-be favorite cereal on every aisle in the grocery store. Every time you turn a corner, you see it. The branding catches your eye—the fun colors, the slogans, the peppy descriptions. Because you see it everywhere, the name (and your desire for it) gets branded into your brain. In fact, it almost seems to haunt you—in a good way. Finally—one day—you pick up that cereal box and place it in your cart.
That’s the power of the Billboard Effect.
Within the short-term rental market, the benefits are just as awe-inspiring. Among them:
- Increased exposure. Listing on OTAs can widen your circle of customers to those who may have never heard of your properties before—i.e., the “unlocals,” the first-timers, the international set. With the demise of travel magazines, how else would a traveler from, say, Brazil, find your charming rustic mountain home if not from the Internet? If you can get such a traveler to book directly on your website, listing on an OTA is like free advertising.
- Credibility and Trust. OTAs have become trusted platforms that travelers rely on for finding and booking accommodations. By listing your property on reputable OTAs, you align your brand with their credibility and trustworthiness.
- Reviews. OTAs often include reviews and ratings for their listed properties. Positive reviews from real-live people can validate the quality and credibility of your property and help build confidence in your brand.
- Brand Consistency. When listing, you can showcase your brand’s unique identity through descriptions and visuals. Consistently presenting your brand across multiple OTAs helps reinforce your brand image and creates a memorable image for consumers.
- Competitive Advantage. In the crowded, post-pandemic STR market, listing on OTAs gives you a competitive edge. By highlighting unique amenities or special offers, you help potential guests perceive your brand as distinctive.
- Repeat and loyalty business. Even if your guests initially book through an OTA, you still can capture their contact information upon arrival, which you can use to send followup marketing. This can lead to repeat business, brand loyalty, and positive word-of-mouth.
With all these benefits, getting listed on as many relevant OTAs as possible is a goal. But, you say, that takes a lot of work.
Enter Track: The Advanced Technology that Meets OTA Challenges Head-On
OTAs are always evolving, and developing marketing content across many platforms can be time-consuming and burdensome. Also, between the words and the visuals, there is an art to content listing. Staying competitive price-wise also takes intensive oversight, especially when you are handling multiple OTAs.
That’s why Track’s new Distribution Engine is the perfect answer to your distribution needs. In 2023 it was chosen by both AirBnB and Vrbo as its preferred software partner. And for good reasons: More advanced than any other PMS software, Track’s Distribution Engine allows you to manage OTA content from one single, powerful dashboard that gives you both channel- and unit-level visibility.
Our Distribution Engine’s benefits are three-fold:
- Enhanced Connectivity: Our deep-reach technology, connecting to all major OTAs (including Airbnb, Vrbo, Marriott Homes & Villas, Booking.com, Whimstay, etc.) lets you seamlessly manage your listings, monitor pricing, and promote discounts across multiple channels while gaining comprehensive visibility into your portfolio’s performance.
- Targeted strategy: Gain direct access to our knowledge experts and proven strategies honed through extensive work with thousands of customers. Our insights can help you optimize your listing content to stay ahead of the competition.
- Dedicated Support: Say goodbye to days of uncertainty and frustration when dealing with sticky issues between multiple vendors and systems. With dedicated distribution support, never wonder whom to contact for distribution issues. Our partner relationships mean expedited responses and less time for you to chase down people and problems.
Don’t Fear the OTA
Today, with the tsunami of STRs on the market post-pandemic, it is more crucial than ever to post your most compelling brand content online. Synching the information on your website to the OTAs is also essential. That’s why having a partner like Track’s Distribution Engine and our team of digital strategy experts can help you eliminate the hassle of managing disparate systems and vendors so you can spend time where it matters most–making your guests happy. With our best-in-class technology, customized strategies, and personal support, you can easily optimize your branded presence across OTAs, enhance your listing content, and navigate the complexities of multi-channel distribution with confidence.
Experience the difference our platform makes in your Billboard Effect and unlock new levels of success in the ever-changing marketing of online travel. Book a demo today and see for yourself.