For hotels, Online Travel Agents (OTAs) are one of the key distribution channels to market and sell their rooms.
NB: This is an article from AxisRooms
These third-party service providers sell your hotel rooms to their end-users. OTAs can help hoteliers sell more rooms to drive revenue growth with their deep reach across regions combined with a top-notch marketing strategy. This “all things OTA” copy will look at various aspects of this powerful online distribution channel and walk you through some of the ways to generate maximum OTA hotel bookings.
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OTAs account for a majority of all hotel bookings globally. Many travelers across regions rely on these OTAs to locate their accommodations (hotels) due to many reasons. OTAs are the best platforms for travelers looking for hotel reservations while comparing different hotel costs in one place. Additionally, they get to see hundreds of hotel reviews which give them the confidence to book. Additionally, excellent user experience and a secure booking environment are two more significant factors for travelers.
Likewise, as a hotelier, you can see immense value when you work with OTAs. They are:
- Increase your online visibility across regions
- Reach out to more travelers globally or in your target regions
- Ensure a simple online distribution across multiple channels (OTAs)
- Generate more bookings, leading to increased occupancy and revenue
Some of the popular OTAs
As part of your hotel OTA strategy, knowing which OTA works well for which region is essential. You will find hundreds of OTA selling hotel rooms, but we will now look at a few of them:
- North America: Expedia, Tripadvisor, Booking Holdings
- South America: Despegar, Best Day, PriceTravel
- Europe: Booking.Com, Expedia, HRS, Atrapalo, Hotels.Com
- APAC: MakeMyTrip.Com, Cleartrip, Trip.Com, Fliggy, Agoda
OTAs operate on two models:
- Merchant model: In this model, the guest pays the OTA while making the reservation. The OTA then pays you (the hotel) when the actual stay happens. In this arrangement, you sell your rooms to OTAs at a discounted or wholesale rate. Then the OTA sells your rooms to its customers at a markup price. You can determine the markup price with the OTA in your partnership agreement.
- Agency model: Here, your guests pay you directly when the stay happens, even if they book with you via an OTA. And then, you pay your OTA partner the agreed commission once the guest stay is over.
Tips to get more OTA bookings
As usual, “planning” is the key here. Let’s have a look at some tips to generate more bookings out of your OTA partnership.
Understand your target audience, their geographies, and the right OTA
Who is your target audience? Where do they come from? If you find answers to these questions, you will move to the next step – partnering with the right OTA. For example, if you want to attract leisure tourists from the South American region, you should work with some of the leading and popular OTAs operating in that part of the globe.
Work with multiple OTAs
Did you know that you stand to get up to 50% more OTA hotel bookings if your property is connected to five or more OTAs? Yes, this is correct. This happens for two main reasons: travelers love to book via OTAs, and the more OTAs you work with, the more your hotel brand’s online visibility is.
Promote your hotel with high-resolution images
Well-clicked images can attract the attention of your potential guests with a great first impression. Apart from pictures of your hotel amenities, including the lobby, rooms, restaurant, gyms, you may use some other images of your local area attraction for added advantage. Don’t forget to use a compelling description of your brand’s USP. All these activities will help you stand out from the rest, and your target/potential guest will find you easily.
Work on your hotel’s online reputation
Your hotel’s OTA ranking depends on how well you have managed your online reputation with positive guest reviews. OTAs help travelers look at hundreds of guest reviews on multiple hotels, including you. Additionally, over 95% of travelers consider guest reviews quite important. Therefore, to rank higher on OTA platforms, you need to boost your online reputation while efficiently managing guest reviews. Positive reviews encourage your guests to book with you. To make this happen, you will have to work with an online reputation management solution.
Work closely with your market managers
Market managers assigned to you by your OTA partners can help get more out of your investment. They can share many insights on the latest market trends critical to your business. They will help you devise travel packages to attract the right guest at the right time. They will also guide you with paid advertising campaigns and other OTA promotions to target specific demographics at specific times. As a result, you will see your property’s ranking go up, therefore getting you more OTA bookings.
Leverage the power of Hotel PMS and Channel Manager Integration
This integration will enable you to establish a seamless communication with all the OTAs that your hotel is connected with. Any changes in rates and availability will get updated in all the OTAs. Any discrepancy would lead to double booking or overbooking if you have 20 rooms available, but your OTA partners are selling 18 or 22 rooms. It will make sure that your real-time inventory is live and up for sale on all the OTAs. You need to understand that a channel manager plays a very decisive role in your OTA distribution effort. For example, AxisRooms channel manager helps connect with over 50 leading OTAs. You can confirm, cancel, and view all your bookings from different OTAs in one place while managing your rates with just one click. It also lets you know OTA-wise sales statistics to find better-performing channels and make informed decisions critical to your hotel business.