Podcast: Quick Guide To Working With Online Travel Agents

Welcome to the third episode of the Boost Hospitality Podcast!

I have released this new six-part series to go over the five of the easiest ways you can boost your direct bookings. Each episode is under 10 minutes long, so you can easily consume as you’re getting on with your busy day. You can download all six episodes right now via iTunes, CLICK HERE to listen!

This episode, I am going to talk about the Online Travel Agents.

Now, for those who don’t know what an online travel agent is, think Booking.com or Expedia. An OTA is any company that functions as a digital middleman to help your customers find and book your rooms online.

Simply put, they offer planning sources and booking capabilities of your property. They’re important because 1 in 3 people will book a room through an OTA.

Why? Because it’s easy and simple. OTA’s spend tonnes of money on marketing and web developers. Consumers know that they can go there. They trust that they can enter their information and get the property they want.

Well, what’s the problem?

OTAs are expensive. They actually charge hotels a commission of between 10% and 20% just for putting a booking through. Besides this, communications with OTAs are difficult, which is not ideal when something goes wrong.

However, OTAs are essential because they do get the majority of the bookings out of there. So it’s better to figure out how to work with them instead of against them.

Firstly, make sure you’re listed on all of the OTA websites. Make a list of all the popular OTAs that you’re not on and make sure that your properties are represented on each one.

Podcast: Quick guide to working with OTAs

Next, focus on the 80/20 rule. This means that you should focus on the 20% of the OTAs that are bringing in 80% of your bookings. For example, if 80 of 100 of your bookings have come from Booking.com, it is quite clear that Booking.com is where you should focus most of your energy.

Once you’ve determined the source of most of your bookings, how should you work with that OTA? Speak to your account manager at the OTAs you want to prioritise. If you don’t have an account manager, ask for one. Ask them what you can do to appear higher in their rankings and how you can get more bookings. If you’re bringing revenue for them, they will want to help you.

 

booking.com logo

Make sure you’re taking advantage of the benefits of OTAs. Make them work for you and not the other way round.

What’s your opinion on the OTAs? Let us know by sending an email to me at mark@boostly.co.uk!

Also, check out my training videos here.

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