Working with OTAs: The Indirect Distribution Dilemma
— 13 experts shared their view
Our recent study uses multi-year, objective data to clearly demonstrate that hotel properties that work with Online Travel Agents (OTAs) perform significantly better financially than those that do not, with commissions being more than compensated for by the increased revenues, resulting in higher bottom-line profits. However, in reality, many hotels still have a (perhaps historic) negative opinion of OTAs. While appreciating the resulting bookings, many still perceive OTAs as competitors rather than partners and fail to commit fully to what should be a win-win relationship.
With travel reigniting following the COVID-19 pandemic, what can/should OTAs consider doing to better seduce hotels and convince them to engage more fully with this valuable distribution channel?
OTAs should educate hoteliers on the long-term benefits of improving their guest stay experiences vs burning time, capital and energy on trying to out-perform OTAs in online bookings.
To put it simply, OTAs are perfect for a first-time visitor to your hotel destination. If a returning guest books via the OTA for their 2nd visit, then this is a complete failure on the hotel for missing the opportunity to create value or establishing a compelling reason for the guest to book directly.