Online traffic lost to competitors and unnecessary commission payments costs hotels £1.3b a year worldwide, according to a report from MarkMonitor.
The Brandjacking Index reveals that more than 580 million visits from travllers are siphoned away from online booking sites of major hotel brands.
The search traffic is being intercepted by online travel agencies, where it is potentially diverted to competitive properties. As a result, hotel brands lose customers and revenue to those competitors or pay unnecessary commissions.
Frederick Felman, chief marketing officer of MarkMonitor, said that with online travel flourishing, it is vital that hotels their intended traffic.
"The hotel industry's e-commerce experience demonstrates how easily online traffic and the resulting revenues and customer relationships can be lost if a brand protection programme is not in place and enforced," he said.
The study from MarkMonitor, which specialises in enterprise brand protection, examined five global hotel brands, including economy, mid-market and luxury brands, during the early spring of 2011. It scanned ecommerce sites, consumer marketplaces and email campaigns promoting the hotel brands.
More than 1,750 online travel agencies which has purchased keywords using one of more of the five monitored brand names were identified, resulting in traffic being diverted to competitive properties.
The study also highlighted cybersquatting, a technique which abuses the domain name registration system by registering domain names containing brands not owned by the domain registrant. Over 2,100 cybersquatted domains using the five brands surveyed were identified.
The full report from MarkMonitor can be downloaded for free at www.markmonitor/resources/brandjacking-index.php.
By Janet Harmer
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