27 Dec How to reach the balance?
You should never forget that You as a hotel are in the people satisfaction and service game, OTA’s are in the numbers game.
You should never forget that You (hotelier) are in the people satisfaction and service game, OTA’s are in the numbers game. Never forget that you have the customer in front of you, they never do, that’s a huge strategic advantage – make the most of it!!!
Get to know your customer: habits, needs, way of thinking and once they arrive at your hotel, don’t let them make a booking on OTA next time! Bewitch them! Make them talk about you, be their first option when they think about holidays. Hoteliers have to gain a better understanding of their customers, and apply that knowledge in a way, that’s mindful of the distribution channels that deliver them. So in one word, use OTAs as the channel which works between you and potential guest.
Major OTA’s have refined their booking process based on data from millions of customers. Study it, learn from it, copy it! An OTA knows that a new customer has residual value after their first booking, whether that’s in terms of repeat bookings, word of mouth or contributing a review. OTA’s understand the true value of website visitors and customers – so should hotels.
Assuming you’re able to track reservations in your web stats software you should be able to see exactly where the guests who did book direct on your site actually found you. Like a digital version of the old “how did you hear about us” survey question. Armed with this report, you should be able to establish which channel is sending you actual paying guests. Most hoteliers view OTA’s as a high cost of sale, though still acknowledging a need to have a presence on an OTA site. Isn’t it like displaying an item in a shop and hoping no one buys it.
So don’t go blind using every channel that you hear about. Better use those, that bring you most of the guest and the rest of your money allocate into Internet Marketing. Main reason is to understand that internet marketing is not an expense, but an investment.
For the conclusion I just want to say, that in my opinion, the perfect balance would be if you will get 50%-60% bookings coming from OTAs and 40%-50% from direct sales. It is reachable. There are hotels that manage to find that golden middle and work in harmony with “big fish” and survive in a pond. Be one of these – think out of box, check media, be involved in tourism business life and you will see that this OTA beast is not so aggressive as long as you know how to treat it.
There are so many other techniques related with balance between Hotels and OTAs… I just felt like mentioning the main ones. If you are interested, you can read more in these articles: