Many of today’s travelers prefer to use OTAs as they begin making travel plans, whether they want to compare pricing or read reviews, the OTAs have a pretty big hold on the market. That doesn’t mean that you just have to sit back and watch those commissions hit your credit card! By understanding those travelers and how to optimize your OTA distribution, you can drive direct bookings and strengthen relationships with your industry partners.
What are some ways to enhance your OTA distribution or why should you work with the OTAs in the first place?
Make it easy for travelers to find you
By partnering with the OTAs you can reach newer and bigger audiences online. Tons of travelers begin their travel plans by comparing destinations or hotels and by listing your property with the OTAs you can get some exposure for your property. Of course, once you have the booking and own the relationship with that guest, you can encourage them to book directly with you next time.
Reach segmented travelers
Similar to reaching new travelers, many types or segments of travelers prefer specific OTAs and if you’re trying to increase your occupancy with leisure, business, or family travelers, you can target them on the channels they use most.
You can also target specials offers toward these travelers or frame packages around their needs better. Essentially, let the channel do what it does best as some are targeted toward couples, solo travelers, etc. and some of those same channels are designed for bookings that are further out whereas others can satisfy a quick need period.
Many OTAs operate in multiple countries and in multiple languages, making it easy for international travelers to use their booking features to book at your property instead of landing on your website and finding they can’t understand it.
Take charge of your inventory
You can open or close your inventory as needed. For example, you know you book up for the holidays so you can limit your available rooms or if you’ve just had a group cancellation and need to fill those rooms, add them to the OTAs and maybe even add a special rate or offer to encourage new bookings.
Negotiate your price and understand the value the OTA is bringing to the table. Be sure to track the traffic and bookings coming from your OTA partners so you can find the right price for the ROI you’re getting when your contract is up for renewal.