Weathering The Trends

When it comes to what’s visually luring travellers into booking a particular hotel, it turns out the money shot isn’t just of the view, but also the loo.

“Oddly enough, a bathroom photo [is important],” Bonnie Vesterfelt, Expedia’s Toronto area manager tells Canadian Travel Press’ Ann Ruppenstein. “It does really help on an increase in Average Daily Rate, typically, if you have a really good solid bathroom photo, which are sometimes hard to get. Also, with an international traveller too, they love to see the size of the bathroom.”

Vesterfelt, whose market management team at Expedia Group in Toronto works alongside hoteliers to implement revenue management strategies and ensure they have a strong online presence, notes that photos featuring different angles of the rooms and seasonality are also key to driving demand.

“When we talk about some of the things that could help a hotel with their online presence, it’s making sure their content is up to date, especially for winter travel. If someone is looking for Toronto in February, and you’re showcasing this beautiful summer outdoor pool, the experience isn’t quite right, so you have to look at your content based on the season,” she says. “Don’t just think of it as show me a picture of the bed, show me a picture of the experience I’m going to have when I’m in your guest room.”

Coming off a strong year for travel to Toronto, she says the Average Daily Rate for rooms in Toronto was up nearly 10% for winter 2018 compared to 2017. Notably, there was also an increase of 10% in domestic room night bookings through Expedia during the same period.

“We did see package booking room nights in Toronto up about 20% during the winter of 2018 versus the winter of 2017, which is very interesting,” she adds, pointing out that their packages are either flight and hotel or hotel and car bookings. “And a really interesting stat is Toronto saw about a 20% room night growth in international stays. That’s a lot of package customers coming from other parts of the world, wanting to see what Toronto is all about.”

For the full story, check out this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press.