Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) such as Expedia, Agoda or Booking.com have become a crucial source of hotel revenue. Independent hotels are particularly dependent on OTAs for their revenue. While this is not necessarily a negative trend, hoteliers should avoid relying too much on this channel for it may hurt the hotels’ profitability. OTAs usually demand around 10-20% in direct commissions. Additionally, the rate parity agreement with OTAs limits the hotels’ pricing options. Hotels, therefore, should work hard to boost direct bookings from their own websites and reduce the cost of acquisition. You as an hotelier can follow these best practices from experts in the field of hotel management to drive your direct revenue.
1. Pay attention to the review sections
Travellers often read online reviews before choosing their properties. Constantly monitor the review sections on the OTAs’ sites as well as review websites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor. You should try to respond to as many reviews as possible, and as soon as possible, regardless whether they are positive or negative.
2. Utilise OTAs to drive direct bookings
You should consider OTAs much more than booking engines in your marketing strategy. A large number of travellers use OTAs as a tool to do research and plan their trips. 52% of them will eventually visit your website after seeing your hotel on an OTA, according to Google. Therefore, you need to make sure the information on your website and on the OTAs are consistent.