OTA stands for Online Travel Agency, or in straightforward terms: booking site. An OTA is a website on which travellers can book products such as a hotel room, transport and activities. An OTA displays your rooms, arranges the traveller’s booking process and is the primary contact person for your guests.
Why work with OTA’s?
When a booker searches for hotel accommodation, he often visits one or more booking sites. By partnering with OTA’s, you increase your visibility and the likelihood that a guest will stumble upon your location. It may just be that you’re targeting a new region that otherwise would not have found your hotel.
Another advantage is that you can ride along with the reputation of the OTA. The booking sites often spend a lot of money on marketing and advertisements, which automatically gives your hotel more visibility. The staff also have specialist knowledge of the market served by the OTA so that you can get advice on regional trends, interesting promotions and packages. Of course, the OTA is also beneficial for receiving guest reviews, which can convince new travellers to choose your hotel (or not).
How does an OTA work?
Before you can sell your rooms on a booking site, you have to make arrangements with the relevant party and sign a contract. You make contractual agreements about the revenue model, among other things. Usually, the contract does not consist of monthly fixed costs, but instead the booking site receives a percentage of the total price of every booking made. We also call this commission. The amount of commission that has to be paid varies per booking site and/or negotiation. Once you made these arrangements and you‘ve set up your account, the rooms will be displayed on the booking site for guests to book.
What should you pay attention to when choosing an OTA?
There are many OTA’s to choose from, and they come in different shapes and sizes. They can be large, worldwide known OTA’s, but there are also OTA´s that focus on a niche or regional market. When choosing your booking sites, make sure to look at the target group of the booking site. Does it suit your market? Also, try to figure out how many bookings are made on an average weekly basis. It may turn out that the booking site is helpful for extra online visibility but doesn’t generate a lot of reservations. Does that fit in with your hotel strategy? If it is a good addition to your current channels, it could be interesting!
For more than 16 years, SmartHOTEL has been helping hoteliers navigate the exciting world of online distribution. From our office based in the Netherlands, our team serves independent hotels, hostels and chains worldwide by providing channel management and tailored online distribution solutions. A lot has changed over the last years, but our goal remains the same: simply connect hotels to the world. For any questions regarding our services, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +31 (0)182 75 11 18.