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E-commerce is vital to the travel industry, with almost three-quarters of travel research taking place online and around a third of hotel revenue coming from online bookings.

As such hoteliers are constantly trying to master the art of selling the right room, to the right customer, at the right time.

A new report from QuBit shows looks at the search and social performance of ten of the UK’s top hotel brands and online travel sites including Hotels.com, Booking.com, Agoda.co.uk, Hoteldirect.co.uk, Venere.com, Premier Inn, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Marriott and Travelodge.

It found that while Booking.com has the strongest social presence, Hotels.com is most visible in search.

Here’s a look at the results...

Social

Social has had a huge impact on travel as reviews and recommendations play an increasingly important role in the purchase journey.

According to data included in Google’s Zero Moment of Truth marketing white paper the average traveller looks at 10 sources of information before making a booking. So it is important for travel sites to have a social presence to try and be part of the thousands of conversations taking place online.

To measure how well each of the brands is performing on social media QuBit assessed their presence across Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Facebook.

Social scores are calculated based on each company’s reach on social networks, which is then weighted based on the average time spent on the website and revenue driven through each source.

Booking.com has the strongest social presence, being the most followed travel site on Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.

Interestingly, despite having very different brand images Hilton and Holiday Inn have a very similar number of fans and followers.

Also, six of the ten sites analysed have begun using Pinterest. Booking.com is one of the top performers on this site with 657 followers and 39 pinboards.

Search

With so much of their revenue coming from e-commerce it’s vital that travel brands are visible in search. For this report, QuBit looked at the result from these high traffic search terms: Hotels, Cheap Hotels, Hotels UK, Book a Room and Hotel Rooms.

This table shows a breakdown of the number of Google searches in which each site will appear on the first page of results, with Hotels.com the clear winner thanks to its visibility in brand search terms.

None of the sites appeared on all search terms both organically and paid for, while Hilton, Hoteldirect.co.uk and Venere.com did not appear on any of the high traffic search terms.

David Moth

Published 1 October, 2012 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1679 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

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Teri Ross, Chief Marketing Technology Officer at Imagine That Consulting Group dba your CMTO

I take issue with the title of this story. As the article reports, the study identified that "Booking.com has the strongest social presence." The title claims that Booking.com "outperforms hotel brands on social media," which implies a very different conclusion to the study.

That a company has a larger presence in a marketing channel doesn't necessarily translate into achieving business objectives ... i.e. revenue. In the same way counting the number of "likes" on a Facebook page or "followers" on Twitter are not a measure of bottom line objectives, marketers as well as the media need to be careful when drawing conclusions that aren't tied to business performance, such as revenue. Just because Booking.com is generating more noise on social media doesn't mean they are generating more revenue or "outperforming" the competition, it just means they are making more noise. Period.

almost 4 years ago

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Aaron Zwas

Followup to Teri's comment above, more fans/followers does not necessarily mean that a brand is "more successful" in social. I agree that the assumptions in the study are misleading.

Example: This chart from FacebookEngagementIndex.com (http://goo.gl/PY7ny) compares the same brands as this study. Booking.com does have the most fans, but it's at the bottom of the barrel in terms of engaging with them (FEI score of 5%). Marriott, by comparison, has only 20% of the fans, but is engaging at a level 4x higher than Booking.com (FEI score of 20%). My long-term money is on Marriott.

Content from engagement-based strategies are valued much higher by Facebook's EdgeRank algorithm, and often make it to a higher percentage of a brand's fans.

FEI currently tracks about 700 travel brands -- perfect for apple-to-apple comparisons of social engagement in travel, just like this one!

almost 4 years ago

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James

The brand missing from the results is LateRooms, far bigger search reach than some of the hotel brands and OTAs listed. Any reason for the omission?

almost 4 years ago

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