Written by Nicholas Blasi, Distribution Channel Manager at IcePortal

A Photo is Worth a Thousand Words, but a 360 Virtual Tour is Twice as Much
Using Rich Media to Combat Negative C2C reviews

As hoteliers well know, the rise of the Online Travel Agency (OTA) has drastically changed the marketing and distribution arena of the Travel and Tourism industry. The transition from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 saw the beginning of a new ball game that delivered consumers all the information they needed to comfortably make their travel purchases.  The human element was stripped, so high quality visual content displayed over the web spoke for them; consumers knew what to expect on their upcoming trip.

Many of us may remember, as it does not seem so long ago when this sales network looked considerably different (ahhh the 1990’s when pay phones roamed the earth and Sony Walkman ruled supreme). This market was dominated by the travel agent who provided in depth, professional advice and personal reviews on destinations and lodging; a stark contrast to an interactive mash up website. This model was supported more by the advice of the travel agent and less by any marketing material they had to share with their clients. This advice is back and it is in the form of consumer to consumer reviews (C2C) popping up all over the web.

HD Photography of the ME Cancun Resort

As we say in our business today, “Content is King.” This couldn’t be truer as C2C reviews become an integral part of an increasing number OTAs, it is clear that displaying your property in the best light possible should be at the forefront of your marketing strategy. The numbers show that reviews from fellow travelers are influencing the decisions they make on travel arrangements. In a recent study by Deloitte, 82% of online consumers say their purchase decisions have been directly affected by consumer reviews. One negative review claiming a bad experience or even unfolded guestroom sheets can really hurt future conversions.

Hoteliers must do all they can to hedge this, so what is the answer? Rich Media.

What better way to trump a negative review of your property than to give the consumer a complete 360 tour of your establishment? I can’t think of many, except for a fantastic video! The truth is, consumers today want all the information they can get and are expecting that with the capabilities of today’s technology, they will find it when making arrangements for their next stint of fun in the sun.

High quality still images continue to be an important element of marketing your property, but consumers are expecting more. In addition to beautiful photo galleries consumers are seeking an interactive experience that will “Virtually” take them on their next vacation. This will allow them to make decisions on their own rather than making decisions based on reviews of the disgruntled patron.

Think about setting yourself apart from the rest by defending your property with Rich Media and enjoy more consistent occupancy rates.

Interested in Rich Media production or Distribution through IcePortal but aren’t sure where to start? Give us a call at 1-954-893-6778 or email any time!

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