OTAs Vs Direct Bookings; Finding the Right Balance
Finding the balance between direct bookings and OTAs (Online Travel Agents) has been a very delicate juggling act since the rise of online travel agencies in the hospitality industry.
What is essential is figuring out how to use the OTAs and making it a win-win for both direct and commissioned sales. To be able to do this, we're showing you the key differences and similarities between the two.
- Online brochure: Both your hotel website and OTAs act as an online brochure for your establishment.
- Increase Profits: Both platforms actively promote your hotel online and persuade guests to book at your property and increase your profits.
There are a few differences between the booking features of OTAs and a hotel website.
- Fast and Efficient Customer Experience: The OTAs display numerous travel options such as room prices, location, images, reviews, search and filter tools along with a quick booking process. Therefore, the main focus of OTAs is on providing a fast and efficient customer experience while the guest reserves rooms online.
- User Interface and Booking Process: Many hotel websites have all or similar features. But most of them lack the vital feature which is the easier user interface and a simple online booking process. The guests' online booking journey must be smooth and quick. If the guests are not satisfied with the performance of a hotel website, then they move on to other websites or OTAs.
- Personal relationships: There is one thing that OTAs have not mastered in the hospitality industry and that is the level of close relationships a hotel can build with its guests. Hotels are able to build a level of trust and personal experience for every individual which in turn creates familiarity and loyalty.
- Reach and Marketing: Ultimately, in order to have harmonious relationships with OTAs, you must consider the benefits they bring in terms of reach and marketing for your hotel. Most guests would usually check a hotel's direct website after seeing its listing on an OTA. These distribution channels are often a blessing for small and mid-sized hotel properties that may not be noticed on any other channel.
Finding the ideal balance
Booking Success helps hotels reduce their dependency on OTAs and helps pursue a strategy that will lead to more direct, commission-free bookings. Have you found your hotel's ideal balance between OTAs and direct bookings yet? Schedule a free demo for more info.