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Optimize your hotel's advertising spend with attribution reporting

September 08, 2020
Monique Jaspers-Wijn
Monique Jaspers-Wijn

As recovery gets underway in the travel industry, hotels stand to benefit first from the demand for domestic travel. In this competitive climate — and with many marketing budgets drastically cut — it's never been more important to get the most from your hotel's advertising spend. That's why Travelport has adopted attribution model reporting for hotel advertising campaigns. 

In this blog, we’re running through everything you need to know about attribution model reporting — how it will give you more accurate insight on return on advertising spend (ROAS) performance, and how this data can help to inform your future banner advertising campaigns.

What is attribution reporting for banner advertising?

Until now, the performance of banner advertising campaigns was calculated by examining on year-on-year (YOY) change to your hotel’s bookings. This reporting style focused on comparing the performance of the advertised property during the campaign period against the same period in the previous year. 

In response to growing customer interest, Travelport is now shifting to the attribution reporting model — a highly credible method used within the advertising industry.

Unlike the YOY model, it measures success by reviewing which agencies saw the advertisement and subsequently went on to book within a reasonable period of time (usually 30 days). These agencies are considered to have been influenced by the display advertisement, and as such we can directly attribute the value of those bookings to the campaign, irrespective of what external factors influenced demand. 

In this way, your hotel can tell what bookings arose only by agencies that saw your ad campaign, rather than all advertising-enabled agencies. This makes it easier to isolate the true impact of your campaigns and be more confident in the results.

Why is the travel industry adopting this standard?

The travel industry needs to bring in the best practice technology and standards that other industries benefit from — particularly when it comes to retailing its offers. The YOY reporting method that we have been using until now was developed some years ago, at a time when advertising data was used for a different purpose.

To demonstrate, you only need to look at the events that have unfolded across the globe in 2020 to understand how this year is an outlier for comparing ROAS performance results. The same can be said for a multitude of events that could skew the numbers and potentially make YOY reporting misleading. We live in a turbulent, hyper-connected era where the accelerated pace of change makes a year far too long to use as a benchmark for accurately measuring impact. 

Even before COVID-19, the accommodation marketplace was crowded, making it difficult for hotels to promote their brand and get their message across to bookers. Banner advertising campaigns therefore have significantly more potential to impact your bookings.

It's more important than ever for hotel to get the best possible insight onto what’s working and what’s not in its advertising campaigns — without unrelated external factors warping results. Today what we want to know is: has an agent seen my ad, and did it have a direct and positive effect on driving incremental revenue?

Four ways this will enhance the potential of your hotel advertising

1. Improved accuracy of reporting

The main advantage that attribution model reporting offers is that you can confidently connect a booking to a specific advertising campaign. This means more relevant insights and detail on ad ROAS, plus new data and capabilities.

2. Clearer view on property and brand level campaigns

Using the attribution reporting model, your hotel can see performance by hotel or by brand. This was not possible before, and presented a significant challenge for chain brands.

How do we attribute brand/chain campaigns?

Brand/chain campaigns are targeted to a specific city/cities. We examine the searches the agency made, the cities targeted in the campaign and the booking to derive a match. Only bookings made in the targeted cities are counted.

For example, consider a targeted brand campaign for 3 x East Coast USA cities: New York, Boston and Philadelphia.

Attribution reporting table
3. Better understanding of reach and agency performance

Knowing who you are reaching and which target agencies are performing better is very valuable information for hotels. Previously this was presented in terms of periods of time — not in relation to a specific campaign — which didn’t provide the answer to whether targeting was effective or whether a booking was influenced by external factors.

4. More flexible attribution window

Attribution model reporting allows for a flexible window of measurement, which can be tailored according to what exactly you want to know. The advertising industry standard is 30 days, but this could be changed to monitor ad performance for one week or a couple of weeks within this window.

New, user-friendly reporting design

Travelport listened to the demand for aligning GDS display banner advertising measurements with the standards used by experts in the advertising industry. Our new reporting design was developed using feedback from customers about what matters most in terms of presentation.

While the terminology used in these reports remains the same, we have developed these FAQs to ensure our customers understand this new method and how to use it to their advantage. 

We believe this move is a very positive step for the hotel industry, which will enable our customers to identify what works better for them, so it can be used to aid recovery and optimize future campaigns. 


Want to know more about how attribution reporting? Check out our FAQs page.