When we look in the past decades, the hotels were completely dependent on third party distribution channels such a OTAs in order to obtain more bookings. But in recent years there is a dispute between the hotels and OTAs. The reason being that hotels have to pay more commission and advertising costs.
So in this article, we will discuss how hotels can use their own direct channels and take advantage of third party booking platforms.
It is obvious, as an hotelier you would love to have direct bookings. After all, you won’t have to pay any commission to anyone and you will gain more profit.
But you are missing a point here.
The point is neither it is a good idea to totally depend on OTAs nor should you get rid of them. To win the online booking battle you must strike a balance between the OTA and direct bookings.
The OTAs are great in advertising and have a good reach in the market. They excel in reaching different types of customers, therefore they present your hotel to different market segments which may not have been available.
Thus, OTAs help customers to discover your property and also increase your online reach.
Many types of research have shown that majority of travelers visit OTAs to see deals on hotels and to discover hotels in a particular location. If they find a hotel interesting they visit the hotel website to gather more information.
On the other hand, direct bookings lead to more profit and add to your revenue. It also puts you in direct contact with the customer, which gives you chance to know your customer’s needs and to fulfill them when they reach your hotel.
1. If the hotel website is not user-friendly and has a complex booking process, then the potentials guests leave it and shift to the OTAs to continue their research.
This is where the hotels need to differentiate themselves from the OTAs. They must use a reliable hotel booking engine that helps them to optimize hotel website. The hotel website must be user-friendly and mobile-friendly so that travelers have a smooth user experience when surfing your website from any device.
Therefore, by providing a convenient and fast booking facility you will be able to grow direct conversion rate.
2. Choosing those OTAs which can provide you more online visibility is also a better strategy. But managing different accounts over several OTAs can be very hectic. It can also lead to overbookings. By using a channel manager you can sync all the reservations and simultaneously manage them from one place.
In this way, you will not only save precious time but also you will be able to focus more on providing unique guest experience.
3. It is not necessary that all your bookings will be made through your website. There will be many customers who will have reserved rooms through an OTA. This is your chance to convert them into loyal guests and encourage them for repeat bookings.
There will always be a competition between direct and OTA bookings. You must view the positive sides of it as competition helps us to improve ourselves and push our boundaries. Therefore, creating a balanced distribution system will certainly help you succeed in getting a healthy amount of bookings and create a fantastic guest experience for both direct and OTA customers.