Are OTAs becoming your partners in profit?

Hotels and Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) often have a complicated relationship.  If you have been in the hotel industry for some time, you are well aware of the impacts that they can have on yous business – for better AND for worse. It’s more than likely that a sizeable portion of your bookings actually come via Booking and Expedia.
With a well-established support base, these giants are great at what they do. They create publicity and bring hundreds of guests to their clients’ check-in desks. Best of all, your hotel only gets charged if you get guests, it sounds like quite a deal, right?

 

Question is: Are the OTAs slowly becoming your partners in profit or can you do good without them?

What OTAs have to offer

Behind all major OTA brand names, stand multi-billion companies with multi-million annual marketing budgets, thus gaining the importance and influence over you target audience – the potential guests. OTA sites are popular with guests solely because they provide simplicity in the booking process. Potential guests see the bare essential data to compare hotels against one another and make a single accommodation decision. The entire process can be complete in a matter of minutes. It’s also a good deal for guests, as they pay nothing for this service, frequently they are even given extra benefits if the booking is done with the OTA!

It is you, the hoteliers, who pay for all this facilitation in the end. Commissions have doubled in the past years, so many OTAs charge 20% and more on every single reservation provided through their service.

If a guest books by phone or by e-mail inquiry you don’t pay commission to anyone, naturally. So why do you throw money at the OTAs for online bookings? Are they the only realistic options due to the volume of traffic they can drive to your hotel?

Of course not! Bet on your direct booking channels.

The smarter, better way

Marketing. And we’re not talking ads, we mean serious marketing strategy.

With the right planning and implementation, you can revolutionise your direct-booking sales.

Efficient long-term marketing strategy, coupled with strong direct booking channels, will significantly reduce your dependence on OTAs over time.

By all means, maintain a presence on all possible OTAs, and even explore more than the ones you’re currently on. Exploit the free publicity they give you, but play smart. Strengthening your direct booking channels is a key element for this transformation.

Travelers choose to book through OTAs just because it is easy and familiar, remember that!

So give them exactly that – a simple and familiar way to book on your own website. They will always check your website before they book anywhere. Transform your site into an enticing environment and ensure your booking engine is easy-to-use to convert potential customers into booking clients. By providing added incentives by booking direct, you can offer them a better deal than any OTA. With a good deal on offer they will jump at the chance to book right there and then! After that, it’s up to you to over-deliver on every possible guest expectation and check the reviews on TripAdvisor for ways to improve even further.

The degree of how advanced your direct booking channels are, will determine the ratio between the reservations that take money out of your pocket and the ones that put money in.

If you are ready to improve your sales and quit leaving money on the table, get in touch with us today and our team will help you achieve your goals.

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