Online & Digital Marketing

Is the future of online agencies in danger?

Metasearch sites are the increasingly growing rivals of online travel agencies today. It is possible to search simultaneously through multiple databases and search engines with websites like Kayak and Trivago. Big players like Google are also taking part in the market with their own hotel booking systems. Having signed a licensing deal with Room77 for online booking software, Google plans to have a say in the industry with its application. Moreover, the challenges awaiting online agencies are not limited to these.

As suppliers are also becoming a part of the current landscape, a decline is observed in commissions, which is a threat for OTAs as critical as the one posed by metasearch sites. All these developments can be alarming for online agencies; however, nothing has ended yet. You can keep competing and claiming your share in the traveling industry with strategic changes.

Let’s take a look at the suggestions in order to help your agency survive among the growing competition.

Enrich your search experience

Although Metasearch sites offer great traveling options, they are not as experienced as online agencies. You can offer greater and more attractive opportunities by making the most of your network with travel companies and applying discounts.

Another strategy to enhance your search experience is to improve your mobile-compatibility. The number of people using mobile devices for travel searches increases each day. If you also have a mobile-compatible website like the one HotelRunner provides, it means that you have taken a great step in expanding your target audience. However, this may not be enough to boost your strength.

Engage marketing assistance

You might need to revise your marketing strategy to enhance your competitive edge. The current conditions suggest that many OTAs are developing their own affiliate programs. When digital and social media marketing prove insufficient, you can also take a chance with affiliate marketing.  With this method, you can make agreements with publishers to promote your tours for you and pay a certain amount of commission per customer you gain. The advantage of doing so is that you don’t have to pay anything to publishers when they do not bring you any customers. In addition, affiliate marketing is a scalable model which will help you enhance your distribution network.

Create added value

You need to add value to your tours to make them more attractive. Reward programs can be an option: For instance, you can make special discounts for large groups or provide some extra services free-of-charge for those who invite their friends. You can reward the winners of your social media contests with tours. You can access your campaigns to larger groups through your affiliate network. Well, at the end of the day, you will need to provide your customers with the quality, speed or discounts a supplier cannot directly offer.

Online travel agencies are becoming a part of a fierce competition due to their new rivals in the travel industry. Surviving requires using all the options effectively. The above hints can take your agency one step ahead in the competition. Apart from that, you will need a mobile-compatible infrastructure with the option of effective booking and payment management. The HotelRunner platform can help you increase your bookings with its online marketing features. Create your account now to survive in the accommodation industry with a robust and secure infrastructure.

Arden Agopyan

Managing Partner

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