Online travel agencies, or OTAs, are online platforms that enable customers to search and book various travel accommodations such as hotels, flights, cars, and tours directly from travel providers. Millions of travelers around the world rely on these platforms to plan their leisure and business trips. By partnering with OTAs, hotels can expand their reach and connect with a larger number of potential customers, which would be difficult to achieve through their own marketing efforts. Additionally, these platforms provide market expertise, handle customer interactions, manage bookings and also gather feedback from travelers about the properties.
In summary, OTAs provide hotels with a cost-effective and efficient means of expanding their reach, gaining market insights, and effectively managing customer interactions, making it easier for travelers to plan their trips.
Hotels of all sizes-including bed and breakfast, motels, and hostels list their properties on an OTAs. There are no direct costs for listing rooms with online travel agencies. They collect a commission only when rooms are booked.
OTAs provide potential opportunities to showcase rooms and properties through detailed descriptions, photographs, and nearby amenities among other things. Listings are displayed to travelers searching for places to stay in your destination. If they use filters to narrow down their search – for example, only looking for pools, free Wi-Fi, or air conditioning – the OTA will match travel criteria to the information provided by the hotel, displaying the properties that best match.
OTAs provide a robust booking platform and serves as the traveler’s primary point of contact for booking adjustments and cancellations. At no cost, OTAs provide various tools – from real-time access to market data to tools for managing reviews – to help their partners achieve long-term success.
How an Online Travel Agency (OTA) is Better than Traditional Travel Agency?
OTAs are becoming increasingly popular. Today, travelers use OTAs 50% more than hotel websites to examine vacation options. And that means OTAs can have a significant impact on your distribution strategy.
Here’s why hotels like yours are choosing to use OTAs.
Online marketing campaigns you don’t need to create
Consistently, OTAs spend millions of dollars attracting customers from around the world to their online travel marketplaces. Their investment in online and television advertising, newsletters, and sponsorships, virtual events, and other marketing channels helps hotels reach hard-to-reach travelers they otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach. OTAs offer you a great opportunity to grow your business, especially if you have limited marketing resources.
Greater visibility for your website
Evidence shows that being listed on an OTA can bring more traffic to your property’s website since consumers often use OTAs for their search before booking directly. This is known as “The OTA Effect”.
A recent study that looked at customers’ online pre-purchase behavior found that around 75% of people who booked direct rooms with a major hotel brand had visited an OTA site before booking directly with the hotel. Another report in 2017 showed that the “OTA Effect” does occur, as many people visit an OTA prior to booking directly.
Increased ability to target high-value guests
Through their listing tools and marketing programs, many OTAs can help hotels target guests who will be most satisfied with their stay and drive revenue growth. Possibilities range from bundling rooms with activities to attract guests who will typically spend more, to targeting business travelers, budget planners, or luxury guests, families, or those from specific regions. Marketing campaigns can help you achieve specific business goals, such as maintaining high average daily rates (ADRs), driving longer stays to reduce costs, or capturing last-minute bookings. The best part is that when you attract the right guests for your property, you increase the likelihood of positive, glowing reviews.
Access to advanced tools, analytics, and insights
OTAs give you free access to market data, competitive insights, traveler preferences, and tools that would otherwise be expensive to obtain on your own. Most will offer easy-to-use analytics to help you gain a better understanding of your year-over-year performance and how you compare to similar properties in your market. Based on their data and the booking trends in their marketplace, they may provide suggestions to help you improve your results and offer tips and resources to aid your strategy.
Dedicated support teams
Many OTAs support their partners’ success through locally based account teams. These individuals have extensive market knowledge, can share insights on local trends, and are proficient on strategies that will help drive business success. When partners have issues or concerns, support teams and help content are available. Additionally, most OTAs provide customer service to travelers when they encounter problems before, during, and after a trip.
Top 5 Popular OTAs
Booking.com is one of the biggest and most well-known travel sites on the planet, with over 1.5 million nights booked consistently.
Expedia.com is the flagship brand of Expedia Group, which includes over 200 travel booking websites, such as Hotwire, Orbitz, Trivago, and Travelocity, serving 75 countries in 35 languages with over 600 million monthly visits.
Airbnb It is known for providing access to unique properties all over the world, with the majority of properties located in non-urban areas.
HostelWorld is a leading OTA for lodging-focused properties worldwide with over 12 million guest reviews.
Agoda was founded in 1998 and later acquired by the Priceline Group (now called Booking Holdings) in 2007.
In the above article, we have provided detailed information about online travel agencies and how they are better than traditional travel agencies. They offer various advantages such as greater visibility for your website, increased ability to target high-value guests, access to advanced tools, analytics, and insights, dedicated support teams and the ability to book unique properties worldwide. Online travel agencies such as Expedia, Booking Holdings, TripAdvisor, Agoda, and Airbnb are among the most popular and widely used in the industry.