You’ll hear that the “billboard effect” is the answer. The idea of the billboard effect arose out of two Cornell School of Hospitality studies (one in 2009 and the second in 2011) that established a link between a prominent, first-page presence on Expedia and an increase in direct bookings. While the studies have been critiqued repeatedly, we can safely posit that under certain circumstances, OTAs can and will drive direct traffic to brand.com. It is also safe to say that those circumstances, driving OTA traffic to brand.com, that is, are more likely when a hotel ensures that branding and reputation are consistent across all channels.
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