Online travel agents-The Complete Guide
In the current digital era with an abundance of choices and overwhelming options, the role of an Online Travel Agent (OTA) has become increasingly important within the travel and hospitality industry.
Back in 2015, OTAs accounted for about 60% of online bookings of independent properties and hotel chains combined. Currently, OTA travel controls nearly 2/3rd of all online hotel bookings.
Let us delve into how they play a crucial role in increased hotel bookings and how to implement them correctly.
What is an Online travel agent?
Online Travel Agent or OTA is a web-based marketplace that specializes in the sale of travel products and services including hotel, flight, car rental, tours, cruises, activities, packages, and more. They allow customers to research, compare and book travel services over the internet from the comfort of their homes.
OTAs can provide access to customers at different locations and handle bookings in large volumes which is rather difficult to access through retailers’ marketing efforts alone.
How Do Online Travel Agents (OTAs) work?
- OTAs are able to pull travel deals and booking options from all around the internet and provide the user with many options so they can choose what fits all of their needs. Find the right OTA partnership and optimize it to reach your target audience and generate revenue.
- Next, you can list hotels and properties of all sizes and showcase rooms through the product description, photographs, nearby points of interest, etc. Listings can be thoroughly searched using filters that narrow search such as Wi-fi, pool, spa, etc. and OTA will align travel criteria with the matching properties.
- OTAs provide real-time access to price, demand forecasting, current bookings, etc. to further help the travelers. The booking platform is secure and can be used as the main point of contact to make amendments or cancellations.
Also Read: OTA vs Travel Club
How Online Travel Agent (OTA) help to increase revenue?
Adding your hotel on OTAs can significantly improve hotel bookings and increase revenue. Here are a few reasons to have multiple OTAs connections for your hotel –
Increased traffic –
One of the major benefits of OTA is that it drives traffic to the hotel’s main reservation website. OTAs act faster than the hotel website and redirect guests to research and book. According to Google, nearly 52% of customers visit the hotel’s main website and view the available rooms, etc. before the final booking.
Increased exposure = more bookings –
Hotels can get more exposure by partnering up with OTAs. As your hotel gets more visibility, it leads to increased bookings, also known as, Billboard effect. Many guests prefer to book via an OTA before direct booking. According to a study around the online pre-purchase behavior of guests, about 75% made the reservation through an OTA website before booking directly with a major hotel brand.
Better OTA ranking and reviews –
OTAs include reviews and rankings to individual hotels that allow customers to get a good idea about hotel services and eventually give a push for conversion. Increased conversion rate means more revenue for your business.
Target high-value customers –
OTAs can target high-value customers through their listing tools and drive profitable growth for hotel brands. Marketing programs of OTAs can help achieve specific business goals and generate more revenue.
Access to analytics, insights, and tools –
OTAs provide free access to competitive insights, marketing data, travelers’ preference and more to help your business with overall strategy and pricing. It allows you to compare your performance with your competitors and understand target markets that help to increase ROI.
Online Travel Agent