Tuesday, 13 September 2016

How can you use the OTA’s to your advantage, drive direct bookings and reduce commissions?

With so many articles about reducing your reliance on Online Travel Agents and driving more direct bookings, hoteliers can be left feeling over whelmed with where to start.

Everyone knows a commission free booking is much more profitable than an OTA booking but, how do you encourage direct bookings and how can you use the OTA’s to your advantage?

In an ever competitive market place, hotels are striving to deliver more direct bookings to boost revenue and the hotel’s website can play a crucial role in achieving this. Ensuring your website is visually appealing, can be easily navigated and is easy to book must be top of your priority list. Many potential guests will find your hotel via an Online Travel Agent and then research your hotel online ultimately ending up on your website. You can read our thoughts on how to create good first impressions on your website on this blog.

Online Travel Agents don’t need to be your enemy, they are a fantastic way to broaden your reach and advertise your hotel with advertising budgets that are completely unattainable for independent hotels and brands alike. Use a guest’s initial booking as an introduction to your hotel - a commission paid for a loyal, repeat customer. Ensure you tempt the guest to book direct next time – offer an incentive or an exclusive offer and make sure you keep in touch.

OTA’s have introduced “dimming” - deliberately minimising a hotel’s appearance or lowering the ranking on its results page. This can include removing images of the hotel, colour listings made monochrome, lowering the ranking or even showing the property as unavailable. This can have catastrophic results for smaller hotels so view OTA’s as another source of generating direct bookings. Let them introduce first time guests and then make it your mission to turn that customer into a direct booker next time.

Ensure you keep your Online Travel Agent listing up to date and in line with your terms and conditions – these companies spend millions on advertising and can assist you in showcasing your hotel to a huge audience.

Have a clear message on your website informing potential guests that the best deal can be booked direct with yourself – this doesn’t have to be of monetary value! Use social media and email campaigns to drive traffic to your hotel website and don’t forget to keep your customer database up to date. A good, clean email marketing list will increase opens, reads and ultimately clicks.

Or talk to Guestline about our online booking manager which can help hoteliers increase commission-free, direct bookings on their website in just 3 simple steps. The module is integrated with Guestline’s distribution and PMS and therefore bookings and rates are automatically updated in real-time. 

There is also the Price Assure room rate comparison tool and a PCI compliant payment platform.

Arrange a demonstration here.  


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