Online travel agencies (OTAs) provide a valuable source of new bookings for hotels.
But that comes at a cost; for some, a cost that’s rather hard to swallow.
Your OTA relationships are some of the most important you’ll have as an independent hotelier. Thankfully, most come with a representative with whom you can have regular catch-ups to ensure you’re getting the most from your listing.
When your next OTA rep meeting is due, here are a few tips on what to ask.
How will my hotel’s information be displayed?
Most OTAs let you add images and descriptions, but, sometimes, the latter isn’t down to you.
Some OTAs will take a tourism business description and use that, instead. Try and find out how much control you have over editing the description - after all, it’s the first introduction to your hotel for many guests.
What types of rate are allowed?
OTAs have different rules about rates and what is and isn’t allowed. Find out from your rep exactly which types of rate you can synchronise between your property management system and their platform.
Quiz them on the following:
- best available rates;
- package rates;
- late cancellation rates;
- advanced purchase; and
- add on services such as dinner and other experiences.
Are there any paid marketing opportunities?
If the OTA rep is doing their job effectively, you should already have heard about this, but in case not, ask if there are any options for paid marketing.
Some OTAs will give hotels the ability to better position themselves within search results by paying additional fees. It’s a bit like Google Ads, only for OTA listings.
What markets will my hotel be exposed to?
Most OTAs are focused on specific markets; they’ll have ideal audiences and guest types to whom they target the lion’s share of their advertising.
Try and find out which markets your OTAs are strongest in and whether or not your hotel is missing out on opportunities in markets in which you’re not yet listed.
Are there referral opportunities?
Although a relatively new concept on some OTAs, referrals are fast becoming a great way for hotels to build relationships with local businesses.
Your OTA might offer the ability for your hotel to recommend local attractions, places to eat or events to attend during the booking process. Ask if this is an option and, if so, how you can take advantage of it.
What reporting tools are available?
Although you’ll hopefully be benefiting from lots of great reporting in your channel manager, the OTA itself should offer some key insight from behind the scenes.
Ask the rep what kind of reporting tools the OTA offers via the platform. It might include competitor reporting, revenue stats, rate type performance and more - but you won’t know unless you ask.
Is there a loyalty programme for customers?
Even if you run your own loyalty scheme, many OTAs will have their own membership options for guests.
These will provide offers, exclusive deals and other loyalty tricks which may encourage a few more regular bookers for your hotel.
It’s time to take responsibility for your OTA listings. Our guiding questions above will help you get the most from the OTAs you work with, but don’t be afraid to dig deeper.
If you’ve got a burning question on your mind about an OTA relationship - ask it. Remember, the OTA reps are there to help you, and it’s another example of where your commission payments go.
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Call us today at + 44 (0) 33 0100 1090, or email us at email@example.com. We will be happy to walk you through Welcome Anywhere’s all-in-one solution for your property management needs.