The online travel agents are becoming more powerful day-by-day and they are eating others lunch, especially of hoteliers. The more powerful OTA means higher commission for hotels that lead to lower profit for the hotels and this has become the pain points or bottlenecks for the hoteliers. This is the high time for the hotels to take action to gain market share from the OTA’s to retain their profit percentage. In this case hoteliers are left with two choices either to increase their room rate to maintain their profit or to find out other way where they can increase direct booking maintaining a fair balance with OTAs to get maximum outcome from their revenue strategy. Since hotel business is very price sensitive the first option is little difficult to implement in this competitive market – if a hotel increases its room rate then they may not get business at all. Now the hoteliers are left with the second option and they can better think of increasing direct booking coming from their Brand.com.
In last couple of years I’ve been constantly reviewing how the hospitality industry is changing and how hoteliers are looking into more direct business. Here in this article I’d like to suggest three ways in which the hotelier can gain market share from the OTA’s.
User driven design:Responsive Design: You should have a responsive website which should be used in mobile because now a day’s most of the people only use mobile for doing their hotel booking. Content Marketing: The content is powerful. The photo gallery, room details are something what a user look for and content drives new traffic from the search engine. A website with good and organised content always drives more traffic to your website that can convert your potential guest to loyal customers.
Website- Your Best Salesman
Your hotel website is your sales conversion engine. You should design your website in a manner where it will help you to increase your look-to-book ratio. The increase in look-to-book ratio means more sales and your attempt should try to convert each of the visitors as your potential customers. For doing this you need to keep few things in mind:
Meta Search Allows for Direct Bookings
While OTAs continue to lead the third party sales industry, they have one very big disadvantage for hoteliers – bookings are made exclusively through the merchant site, for which the brand will pay a nominal fee.
Meta search allows for visitors to book either through OTAs or through the brand website, helping to increase direct sales. Meta search sites such as TripAdvisor have been criticized for favouring OTAs with which they have a partnership, but direct information is available, which is more than can be said for OTAs themselves.
Turning OTA booking into direct booking
The hotelier should always try to convert the OTA booking into the direct booking. The first step to this can be to have the guest email address and to add him to your loyal customer’s data base. One of the best ways to attract these guests can be emailing them about the special rates and plans of your hotel. In addition to this the hotelier can reply to the comments and reviews of guests on different OTA’s. Replying to the reviews help a lot in increasing the loyalty of your brand and converting them from OTA to direct booking.
As technology advances with enormous pace we’ll see more hoteliers will implement a clear balance of direct and OTA strategy to drive more revenue.
Posted by Omprakash Singh, Business Analyst, eRevMax