There has been much debate about the role of an OTA and the love-hate relationship between them and hotels. So do OTAs do more than just provide bookings?
All our work with independent hotels show that they can help them with additional visibility in a crowded market place – the challenge of course is to figure out how to engage the OTAs (and which ones) the right way to get the results you want!
A common mistake that we see is the belief that all that is needed for hotels to get business is to sign a contract with the OTA and supply availability and rates. And bookings will come through. This may be the case where demand is high and supply of hotel rooms is low.
However in most cases, hotels in popular destinations face stiff competition – and in these instances, this is akin to being asleep at the wheel. When a hotel is listed on the OTAs, it increases exposure and chances of reservations on external channels like the hotels own website. So the very act of being on OTA can help stimulate demand on that OTA or in other traditional channels.
However the key step to stimulating true demand through 3rd party websites like OTAs is to include it as part of your overall marketing plan. Sales, Marketing, Distribution and Revenue Management are no longer separate functions.
There is a strong convergence and inter-dependence in the online space than ever before.