Back in 2009, Chris Anderson’s study found that hotels’ brand websites saw an additional three to nine bookings from shoppers who had first visited the hotel listing on Expedia. And if anything has changed since the study, it’s that the billboard effect has gotten stronger and will continue to do so. In fact, consumers continue to book directly after finding hotels on OTAs. A 2011 survey found that two out of every 10 hotel guests booked directly on a hotel website after finding the hotel on an OTA. A more recent report from HSMAI and AH&LA found that more than eight in 10 rooms were booked directly, with only two out of 10 booked on third party channels. Surprisingly, 59% of leisure travelers actually use OTAs for inspiration and destination planning, another important reason hotels must appear on third party sites. Leonardo predicts social media will be a big driver in the strengthening billboard effect, causing consumers to “look, not book” on OTAs and eventually travel to the hotel website. Hotel marketers are starting to realize that social media can help them build a following online, improve their brand and connect emotionally with guests – an important factor considering 70% of travel shoppers will book with a hotel that connects with them emotionally, not just based on rational factors such as price. Hotel marketers that leverage the power of a social community will benefit and connect to guests who are going to reward them with loyalty. Get the full story at Leonardo Read also "The demise of the OTA billboard effect for hotels" and "The OTA billboad effect and airline websites"