What is an online travel agency (OTA)?

Many properties have started to discover offers provided by the Internet just recently, but accommodation industry is actually among the industries having discovered benefits of the Internet first. In 1999, 15 million people in USA made reservations via an online travel agency, which indicates that Internet had an impact on accommodation industry earlier.

However, it was between 2003 and 2004 when this impact jumped to a global level, having reached an expansive capacity, which continued to speed up further after 2004 and brought about its current position enjoying billions of dollars.

Online travel agencies or OTAs in short, which are currently used actively by millions of people, bear a lot of importance for the accommodation industry as well.  Let’s have a closer look at OTAs and their impact on this industry.

What is an OTA and how does it work?

Basically, an OTA is a travel agency that operates online. Your property can be discovered by many potential guests, thanks to OTA which charges you a commission rate over online reservations it makes for you.

High traffic

OTAs serve numerous guests, which is among its most important features. Normally it might require an enormous marketing budget for you to introduce your property to such a large group of people; however, OTAs make it possible for you to pay only when the sales are performed, without bearing high amounts of costs.

“OTA first” say the guests

Internet changes consumer habits. Thanks to its offers, customers prefer checking many alternatives and making their decisions accordingly no matter what they purchase online. OTAs have a great advantage in terms of meeting the needs of hotel guests as they have a lot of properties within their structure.  Therefore, many Internet users prefer choosing which property to stay at first by checking the alternatives on these OTAs when their decision is not certain yet.

A part of research

Some guests consider OTAs as part of their research on accommodation. Although they make reservation finally via the website of hotel, they evaluate alternatives on OTAs. According to research, 82% of Internet users seeking accommodation for holiday and 81% of those seeking accommodation for business purposes visit OTAs in addition to particular hotel websites.

OTAs have become one of the most important reservation sources for many properties today. Therefore, they are indispensable. On the other hand, working with an OTA is one among many sales channels you need to refer to. In the meantime, you should have your own website and provide sufficient information about your property for your potential customers. Besides, providing a direct reservation option −just like HotelRunner does− will increase your profitability.  HotelRunner, which has more than 100 integrated sales channels, is specially designed to increase your sales on all channels. Create your HotelRunner account for free today to witness a unique infrastructure for accommodation industry and test how helpful it is.

Cihan Coşkuntuncel

Director of Sales and Business Development

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