28 February 2018 0 Comments Posted By : Glen Korstrom

StayVancouverHotels.com portal aims to open doors for downtown hotels

With Priceline Group Inc. (Nasdaq:PCLN) and Expedia Inc. (Nasdaq:EXPE) dominating the online travel-agency business, the launch of any new hotel-booking site is a bold move.

So StayVancouverHotels.com likely raised eyebrows when the Vancouver Hotel Destination Association (VHDA) launched the site in January with an aim of marketing downtown Vancouver hotel rooms.

Executives, however, say the new portal can succeed because it will target a tight customer niche and provide those who book hotel rooms through the site with perks such as free tickets to events or free gift cards that can be redeemed at stores and restaurants.

The VHDA’s 36 member hotels are also likely to help the portal gain its footing by promoting it because the hotels pay much lower commissions on its bookings than they would for bookings done through Expedia or Priceline brands.

“The big online travel agencies are good for finding a flight to New York or a hotel in Toronto but when it comes to something a little more local, that seems to be where they are lacking,” said Innovation Partners Group CEO Dipik Rai, who is the VHDA’s marketing partner for the portal.

Rai told Business in Vancouver that he plans to buy geographically based advertising on Facebook (Nasdaq:FB), Google (Nasdaq:GOOG) and other social media platforms to target suburban Vancouverites with promotional posts for StayVancouverHotels.com that appear in their social media timelines.

The posts will highlight various giveaways that come with booking a downtown hotel for a night or two.

Rai also intends to target people around the world who visit websites for large Vancouver events such as this week’s Vancouver International Wine Festival or next month’s 2018 Juno Awards and HSBC Canada Sevens rugby tournament.

Cookies placed in browsers mean that when those people visit other websites in the future, they are likely to see ads for StayVancouverHotels.com promotions.

“Our efforts are also very much focused on the traditional off-season period,” said VHDA CEO Russ Cowan.

That time frame includes the shoulder season, which ends in early May.

Cowan’s organization spent about $200,000 to create the new portal, and it contracted Innovation Partners to create the site and do the digital marketing.

Innovation Partners is motivated to increase traffic to the site and attract bookings because it gets revenue from low-single-digit-percentage commissions on each sale. That contrasts with Priceline and Expedia, which have brands that charge commissions in the 12% to 25% range, and sometimes more.


views : 406 | images : 1 | Bookmark and Share

Enter your comment below

Leave a Reply