OTAs are Online Travel Agencies or agents who are in the business of connecting hotels and travelers. Currently, there are many large OTA connections that hotels work with, including Expedia, Booking, and Travelocity. The obvious reason why you should look to establish as many OTA connections as possible is that they bring in more travelers to your hotel.
However, there is a far large number of benefits that they bring to hotels, especially those smaller and medium-sized organizations that don’t have a worldwide presence. Many people claim that OTAs make hotels dependent on them, but this is not the case.
It’s important to use OTAs as another tool that will help you build your hotel and not focus all your efforts on them. With that said, let’s see 5 of the biggest reasons why you should use online travel agencies.
1. You will Improve Your Visibility
Independent hotels have a hard time getting lots of guests directly through their websites. Simply put, most hotels cannot afford to rank their websites really high in browser searches to get the direct organic traffic that they need.
At the same time, a very small portion of hotel guests has a habit of searching for hotels by their name and looking at their sites.
In most cases, people rely on large online travel agencies that they trust, and they filter their searches through these agencies’ platforms. This is how more people will learn about your hotel and what options you have available.
2. They Help Build a Reputation
OTAs usually have a rating and review system in place so that travelers can share their experiences with a certain establishment and offer recommendations to other travelers. Getting better reviews and ratings can help spread the word about your establishment, both online and as word of mouth.
You want to look for an OTA with plenty of user reviews for most hotels on offer, as this means that there are a lot of interested clients lurking on the site. However, you should also look at what the people have to say about the platform itself, and find an OTA that travelers have deemed to be reliable and efficient.
3. They Can Help You Increase The Number of Website Visitors
More than half of the travelers who first visit OTAs first visit the official website of the hotel they have been looking at. The process is simple for most travelers – they go to an OTA, filter out the potential hotels, resorts, or motels they like, and then check out their websites one by one.
This means that each OTA connection increases the chances of someone visiting your site. What’s even better is that they have a real interest in what your site and hotel have to offer. This will improve your site’s SEO and help increase the number of guests coming to your hotel.
4. You Will Get More Guests Overall
In some industries, having a website is the first sign of trust and professionalism. However, in the hospitality industry people trust OTAs more than hotel websites. For most hotels, this is just a harsh reality and only some high-end brands enjoy such a large amount of trust with travelers.
This is why OTAs work perfectly for smaller independent hotels. Travelers are open to the idea of booking a hotel through an OTA rather than trying it out directly on a website of a hotel that they haven’t heard of or been to.
5. You will Attract the Right Guests
No matter what kind of property you are running, a hotel, hostel, resort, or service apartments, you need to attract the right customers that will be happy with the services you can provide. You need to emphasize your strengths and represent yourself to travelers in the right way.
Having your property showcased on many online travel agencies and adjusting the descriptions will help get the right customers that will really enjoy their stay with you. The more guests like these you have, the easier it will be to build a loyal community around your brand.
Managing Multiple OTA Connections
One of the things that scares a lot of hotel managers and hoteliers are that they have to manage such a large number of OTAs. However, with a quality hotel booking channel manager software, all these connections can be managed easily. A hotel channel manager allows easy updates of inventory and room rates to OTA connections.
At the same time, a hotel channel management system helps you manage reservations and ensure that there is no under-booking or overbooking. Find a professional hotel distribution system and not only will it help you with these processes but also with many others.
Online travel agencies are the entry pass hotels need to get into the market and find their customers. They will give you the opportunity to prove your worth, but you need to manage your hotel properly, offer great services, accommodation, and excellent customer experience if you really want to step your game up.