two chess pieces with one fallen over reflecting the need for hotels to checkmate otas and drive direct bookings

If you work in hospitality, you are aware that one of the main challenges for hotels relies on reducing their dependency from Online Travel Agencies (OTAs). OTAs are offering guests the best of both worlds: lots of information about properties, pricing comparisons and real guests reviews.

NB: This is an article from Bookboost

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However, it comes with a price: they charge commission fees that can significantly cut into hotels’ profits, they reduce the amount of data available for the properties and interrupt the direct communication needed to foster loyalty.

Fortunately, there are a few strategies that hoteliers can use to checkmate OTAs and encourage more hotel direct bookings. These strategies will help you boost direct bookings, reduce reliance on OTAs, and increase your hotel’s profitability.

What is the impact of OTAs on hotels?

While OTAs provide hotels with bookings, they also come with a commission fee that hotels have to pay for each reservation. Over time, hotels may become heavily reliant on OTAs for their bookings, leading to a decrease in their direct bookings, a higher cost of distribution and less brand recognition.

It is true that OTAs’ increased visibility helps hotels reach a larger number of potential guests, including those who may not have been aware of the hotel otherwise, however, if hotels become too dependent on them, they won’t strengthen their own channels.

On the other hand, it makes it difficult for hotels to establish direct communication with guests, to develop a loyal customer base and ultimately, to grow their brand awareness.

But, what can you do to increase your direct bookings and reduce your OTA dependency? Take note of these hotel marketing strategies:

Enhance your online presence on social media

Enhancing your hotel’s online presence involves building a community online where you get to showcase unique selling points and values, so potential guests can easily find their next holiday stay.‍

Your direct booking channels -a.k.a. hotel website and social media accounts- shouldn’t have the same information as your profile on the OTA, but on the contrary, have richer content, pictures and more that showcase the real value of the hotel and of making direct bookings.

For example, hotels can use social media to post high-quality videos to highlight their services, amenities, location, and history to show their unique value and attract potential guests. You can also post picturesque photos of the surrounding views of the hotel to entice the guests to book their stay.

Another tactic you can try is using formats of content that are not supported by the OTAs, such as virtual reality, preparing room tours, and videos showcasing your facilities (spa, pool, etc.), among others.

On the other hand, research found that more than half of all global hotel bookings are now made on mobile devices, which means hotels need to ensure their booking engine is optimised for mobile and that all content is optimised for this device, so guests can easily spot you.

Read the full article at Bookboost