Billboard effect

The billboard effect (in the travel industry) happens when a traveler sees the information about a hotel on an OTA site like or Expedia and then visits this hotel’s own website to get more information and complete the reservation.

Most hotels choose to sell through OTAs to increase customer reach even though commissions eat the lion’s share of their revenues. To avoid these losses, hotels take advantage of the billboard effect and strive to encourage as many direct bookings as possible. Some common practices are

  • optimizing the hotel’s website to best showcase the property, engage the traveler, and stimulate the desire to book;
  • incentivizing direct bookings with discounts, free upgrades, etc.; 
  • offering a variety of language and currency options;
  • implementing a modern booking engine to make the reservation process easy and smooth;
  • optimizing OTA listings and keeping them consistent, attractive, and up to date; 
  • offering multiple payment methods (e.g., digital wallets) and payment options (e.g., buy now pay later); and so on.

All these practices encourage the billboard effect, converting website visitors into bookers.

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