Online & Digital Marketing

How to decrease your hotel’s dependency on online travel agencies (OTAs)?

Online travel agencies are among the most effective tools to market your property. Occupancy rates, for sure, help you significantly achieve your goals. But, is it likely that you have become dependent on online travel agencies?

Actually, problems associated with online travel agencies are not caused by online travel agencies themselves, but, most of the time, by the hotels benefiting from OTAs.  The problem is when you start following the same path as your competitors, who, through help of agency services, aim to maximize their occupancy rates and thus end up offering discount over discount.

Given the OTA service rates varying between 15%-20%, which follow those discounts, it becomes clear that you actually make quite low profits and even lose, while maximizing your occupancy rates.

Proper use of online travel agencies may provide attractive offers. However, it could be helpful to have a look at the tips below to decrease your hotel’s OTA dependency…

Consistency

You need to develop effective strategies in order to ease your facility’s sales burden on the OTA. To start off, coming up with consistent prices would be a good idea. Thus, you could even find it easier to convince your guests that your quality has a reasonable price. Of course, arranging these prices depending on the season is indispensable. Therefore, the cleverest step would be acting in compliance with pre-determined conditions. Consistency for early booking dates and times of indispensable discounts, such as campaign periods, could help you.

Affiliate programs

An OTA might be selling a high number of rooms in your hotel. However, OTA is not the only option that could support your online sales. Affiliate networks might be another option you can refer to for sales in your hotel. Moreover, you can agree on commission rates below app. 10%, depending on the size of your complex, instead of sales commissions starting from 20%. You would be benefiting from external sources again. However, commission rates would remain at more reasonable levels.

Add value to direct sales

Booking a room in your hotel through an OTA is easier for a potential guest. But what else could you offer to your potential guests, for them to book directly on your website, rather than through an OTA?

Your guests would not resist booking on your website if they find out an attractive reason for direct booking. Start with considering what you could offer as an extra, instead of changing your prices, for those guests who book online…

Establish direct communication with your guests

On OTAs, potential guests come across a host of options with lots in common. In order to emphasize your distinction, you could establish direct communication with your guests. Once you achieve this, guests, while trying to make a decision, would be able to check out what your offers are on your website, rather than wasting their time on an OTA. And when they find your offers satisfying enough, they would book on your website, not on an online travel agency. The easiest way to create direct communication with guests is social media marketing. Have a look at our previous article on the traps hotels most commonly fall into The traps hotels most commonly fall into to have an idea about social media marketing.

As we emphasized above, online travel agencies act as important sales channels. However, you need to control your dependency on OTAs. HotelRunner offers you the tools that help you with direct sales. Then do not waste your time. Sign up for a HotelRunner account and get the best of it…

Arden Agopyan

Managing Partner

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