Why is working with Online Travel Agencies so crucial?
Better online visibility and room occupancy
OTAs do the marketing for you! Thanks to their immense popularity, they allow you to reach a much wider market than you would be able to reach on your own. A large proportion of travellers prefers to look for, compare and book hotels through these platforms, resulting in a lot more bookings for you.
More direct (commission-free) reservations
Because of the so-called “billboard effect”, more than half of users visit the hotel website after finding a hotel they like on an OTA. That way, a much greater number of potential guests find their way to your website than would otherwise be the case! There, you can convince them to book directly by offering a good deal and a straightforward booking process.
What are the most important OTAs to connect with?
With millions of listings and daily users, Booking.com (part of Booking Holdings) is the most popular Online Travel Agency in the world. Because of the huge brand awareness and strong marketing, many travellers start their search on there.
The other leading OTA worldwide is Expedia.com, a highly popular platform in North America and Asia. Expedia Group owns a vast range of travel websites, including Orbitz, Hotels.com, Trivago and Vrbo.
Owned by Booking Holdings, Agoda is one of the fastest growing booking platforms and particularly popular in the Asia-Pacific region, although it has a global reach.
Airbnb takes a somewhat different approach compared to the other OTAs in this list. Its offering of accommodations mainly consists of bed & breakfasts, holiday homes, apartments and small affordable hotels.
HRS is a leading OTA in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, with a strong foothold in other European countries as well.
Hotels.com (part of Expedia Group) offers travellers one of the largest accommodation choices with hundreds of thousands of listings around the world. It has a very strong presence in Europe and has an interesting loyalty program for its frequent users.
Now that the last travel restrictions due to Covid are being lifted, there will again be an increasing flow of tourists from China, making Trip.com a very interesting partner for hotels in all parts of the world. This fast-growing OTA is also owned by Booking Holdings.
This is a popular OTA among European travellers, especially in the United Kingdom, Italy, and France. Lastminute.com offers an extensive range of accommodations and is known for their interesting deals.
HotelSpecials is a Netherlands-based OTA that mainly lists hotels based in Europe. This platform caters to travellers looking for an affordable vacation.
Last but not least, we have Weekendesk, a popular European booking website that focuses on short-term stays like city trips and weekend getaways.
What do you need to consider when choosing your OTAs?
Other than the size and reach of booking platforms, there are a few other factors to consider when building your distribution strategy:
- Who is your target audience? (nationality, booking habits, …)
- What is your hotel type? (e.g. budget vs. luxury)
- What commission rates does the OTA use?
- What are the OTA’s terms & conditions?
- Which options for promotion does the OTA offer? (discounts, ads, loyalty programs …)
- Which OTAs do your direct competitors use?
You can find more tips to build a hotel distribution strategy in a previous article.
Are you missing a few OTAs in your distribution mix?
Easily set up new OTA connections in Cubilis! Not using Cubilis yet? To efficiently manage your prices and availabilities on your OTAs, you need a hotel Channel Manager. You can always contact us for more information, advice or assistance.