3 types of OTAs to spice up your Distribution cocktail

Hotel software providers just love using the word ‘optimise’. Optimise your revenue, optimise your distribution… we add it to every communication as if it is salt to a dish. Sometimes we love it a little too much. And when you start hyping a word, just like any other catchphrase, it can lose its meaning. So let’s rewind, dust off that dictionary and look it up. 

(verb) Optimise 
Make the best or most effective use of (a situation or resource) 

Crystal clear, we would say. But are you making the most effective use of your Channel Manager? The actual ‘function’ of a Channel Manager is not rocket science. It is just like your good old trusted postman: it delivers all your reservations in your mailbox and picks up your availability on its way back to the OTAs. But if your postman can deliver and pick up anything, why only send him back and forth for your Amazon orders?

We did some research to find out what the average number of booking channels a hotel connects to. Much to our surprise, the amount was often no more than two or three channels. When Hoteliers start using a channel manager for the first time, the horror from manually keeping up with the channels they had is still very real. The idea of adding even more channels in the beginning feels unnatural, which makes total sense. When you buy a Smartphone for the first time you don’t go downloading a zillion apps either. But once you have adapted to it, why not start optimising? If you can reach new markets without the extra work or costs, why not look into adding some new channels to your distribution mix? Small shifts in your booking mix from the ‘obvious’ booking channels to channels you may not have thought of before, can have a huge impact on your revenue.

  1. Regional OTAs

You don’t always have to go overseas to get the revenue boost you are looking for. Consider using more channels that target your own specific country/region. These offer great potential for boosting your business and improving your profitability by reducing your dependency on the leading booking channels. For example, Feratel and STC Switzerland are two of the regional OTAs that are well-known in Switzerland and Ostrovok is popular in Russia.

  1. Niche market OTAs

Using more specialised niche channels for specific guest profiles can have a huge impact on your revenue. You know how to use the resources in your surroundings to attract specific guest profiles, and there are many OTAs out there that target these specific profiles for you. For example, if your hotel is near a conference centre, you obviously want to attract business travellers. There are OTAs that specifically target business travel groups. Worldmeetings and Powernapp are great Dutch examples for attracting business travellers.   

  1. Foreign OTAs

The beauty of having a channel manager provider that serves on a global scale is that you have access to a set of OTAs that you (and your colleagues) probably have never heard of. The fact that you haven’t heard of them before does not mean they cannot do wonders for your revenue, quite the opposite actually. A lot of foreign regional OTAs are looking to extend their hotel portfolio to other areas. Low competition, high value! Is your hotel based in Europe? 2017 saw 145m Asian tourists visiting Europe. Get these visitors staying in your hotel by connecting to Ctrip, one of the biggest Travel Agencies in Asia. 

With this said, there is more to optimisation than just extending your OTA portfolio. Evaluate the performance of your distribution channels on a regular basis, because you don’t want to end up playing the distribution lottery. If you want some more tips on how to evaluate your distribution strategy, read this article here.

Distribution mix Consultancy

If this article has motivated you to extend your OTA connectivity and you are a SmartHOTEL Channel Manager user, you are in luck. Our consultants have extensive knowledge of our OTA partners and they can’t wait to share it with you. Leave a message on our contact page to plan a consultancy call about extending your channel mix.

 

By Marijke Remmelzwaan | October 31, 2018

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