What to Look For in a Media Distribution Partner

Hospitality content distribution is complex, and hotel media is an integral part of that equation. Many factors go into a comprehensive distribution partner, and we’re here to share what to look out for. Individual product features are important, but first and foremost hotel chains must evaluate the measurable, real benefit to every feature offered by a distribution partner.

If you’re a hotel chain evaluating a partner who offers image distribution either as a core or supplemental service, here are key questions to ask.

How is distribution automated for channels’ upkeep and maintenance?

Hotel chains need to know what happens once they upload an image. Specifically what happens before distribution to optimize it, and then after images are distributed to third-party vendors. Once photos are shared with travel channels, are those channels required to proactively come back and verify for updates? How often are they checking for updates or changes?

With Leonardo, distribution is automated with all of our network partners. Our media is sent through an optimization engine that ensures they are ready for display across the network. This process standardizes content according to each channels’ requirements, while still maintaining copyright metadata.

Once displayed, our feeds have data that tells channels when the photo was first uploaded. We mandate a regular update schedule with our channel partners, in order to ensure the most up-to-date display possible. Every time a channel updates their feed, the upload data ensures that they can easily read and ingest only new or updated photos. This makes it easier for channels, and ensures that updates display faster.

How are they harmonizing property information?

Every channel stores property information differently. Between simple typos, formatting, location information, short forms, and more, it’s possible for the same hotel name to be stored a dozen different ways across channels. As the link between hotels and channels, distribution partners must be experts at syncing all information (about properties and media) between them.

To ensure seamless syncing, it is worth asking how your distribution system is integrated with travel channels and what they do to stop matching errors before they occur.

How do they ensure reliable distribution?

With onward distribution systems and OTA affiliate programs, it is easy to claim a vast distribution network, but how your distribution partners connect with that network is what really matters. Realistically, most hotel chains have 5-10 travel channels or networks that matter most to their region. Additional distribution channels are likely to be covered by those affiliate networks. Quantity is great, but quality drives revenue.

Leonardo partners with travel channels to ensure that their media needs are met. As a partner to both chains and channels, we also get to share trends happening on both sides. It also means that we guarantee reliability because we have a contract determining distribution requirements. That contract helps provide legal protection and guaranteed content accuracy and freshness.

What happens when something goes wrong?

Let’s face it: no technology is perfect. Even tech giants like Amazon have had their website crash at key times. Realistically, something may go wrong. Or you may just have questions down the line! Technology is important, but don’t forget to ask about post-sale service. Some things to consider: how often you’ll be hearing from them, how long they’ll take to respond, and what their uptime guarantee is.

As a promise to customers, we have guaranteed response times and service-level agreements in place to cover if something goes wrong. What’s more, we provide proactive account management with on-demand reporting that increases content score and conversion on travel channels.

What’s next?

Asking question is an essential part of evaluating software. Leonardo is focused on creating solutions that solve problems and focus on the big picture: what will drive conversion and improve travel experiences.

Learn how our solutions make content management & distribution easier, better, and faster.