We all want direct bookings to cut down on guest acquisition costs yet many of today’s travelers rely on OTAs to find accommodations. It can be the quintessential “you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t” argument as OTAs are a major player in the hospitality industry. In our recent webinar, we covered why OTAs are valuable as well as some tactics to drive direct bookings.
Watch the webinar below, or jump down to the highlights and key takeaways for a high level overview of the presentation.
- OTAs: Websites offering comprehensive travel shopping and reservation solutions to consumers.
- Direct bookings: When a guest makes a reservation with brand.com without the involvement of a travel agent.
- Two major OTA players: Expedia and Priceline Group. Expedia owns Hotwire, Orbitz, Travelocity, and more. Priceline Group owns Booking.com, Agoda, Ctrip.com, and so on.
- Most OTAs charge commissions between 10% and 25% per booking.
- 40% of OTA bookings result in cancellations (NetAffinity).
- “Over 60% of OTA bookers will visit your website before they book with an OTA” (Triptease).
- “81% of people abandon their travel bookings online” (SaleCycle).
- Booking value of direct reservation is twice that of an OTA booking (Siteminder).
- Two major benefits of partnering with the OTAs:
- More exposure
- More revenue as a result of that exposure
- You can negotiate your commission rate with the OTAs and should try to keep it around or below 15%.
- Identify your most profitable channel – what are you spending and what are you getting out of it?
- Now, what can be done to generate more revenue through that channel?
- Direct booking strategies:
- Content marketing – like a blog or SEO-optimized content that reaches guests in the planning/discovery phase
- Having a strong presence on a meta search site like TripAdvisor or Google’s Hotel Finder.
- Use a price checker tool on your website so guests can compare prices directly on your site.
- Incentives – like a room upgrade, early check-in/late check-out, dining credit, etc.
- Email remarketing – Encourage travelers who abandoned their booking to complete it
- Own the guest relationship and teach OTA bookers to book direct next time.
Treat OTAs like a valued partner but keep the control of your inventory in your hands. Invest in a direct booking strategy and tactics to bring guests to your site first or to encourage them to complete their booking directly with you while they check out your property.
Watch the webinar recording and view the presentation for a deeper dive into this topic.