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Hotel OTAs: Opportunities or Obstacles?

innRoad-global-distributionOver the past 20 years, the consumer travel experience has changed dramatically.  With travel information easily accessible online, consumers make decisions about destinations, flights, rental cars and hotels in a matter of minutes.  And with the booking power of Online Travel Agents (OTAs), such as Expedia, Priceline, Hotels.com and Booking.com, consumers can create, confirm and pay for their entire travel experience in one session.  Consumers have more control over how they travel, where they stay and how much they spend more than ever and this trend doesn’t appear to be slowing anytime soon.

For many hotel managers, OTAs are viewed as a great opportunity or troublesome obstacle for their revenue streams.  The most consistent frustration with OTAs is the high commission that must be paid for each booked room.  While most managers view the commission as the cost of doing business, there are some operators who do not see any need for parting with their hard-earned dollars.

As a partner to the hotel industry, innRoad understands that giving away top-line revenue dollars is a tough decision.  Every dollar generated can be applied to staff salaries, property improvements or just saved away for a rainy day.  However, for those who see OTAs as obstacles, what if we argued that the days of surviving without OTAs are slowly ticking away?  Will your hotel be able to survive?

Word of mouth (WOM) will always be the most trusted, as well as the most troublesome, form of marketing for a hotel owner.  Traditionally, WOM meant that a consumer would tell 5 to 10 friends about an extremely positive or negative experience.  While the basic principle of WOM still holds true today, with the popularity social media, 5 to 10 people now multiplies into 50 to 1,000 people.  Word of mouth travels faster and further than we could have ever imagined just a few years ago.

Today, guests rely on information found online to make their travel decisions.  And as younger generations mature, there will be fewer travelers who look beyond the internet for their travel information.  So if you’re not utilizing an OTA, how easy will it be for future guests find your hotel?

Your hotel may utilize a website and social media, but as travelers get savvier, those online tools won’t be enough to help your hotel stand out from the crowd.  Think of your property as the center of a spider web and your website, social media channels and other marketing tactics are extensions from the center of the web.  To make your web stronger, you need more extensions.  This is where Hotel OTAs come into play.

OTAs create more opportunities for guests to find your hotel, read information and then book their reservation.  Yes, you will have to pay commissions, but think of it as an investment into your hotel.  An OTA has the power to deliver a guest who may have never found your hotel otherwise.  And after a great experience, that guest may tell his or her 50 to 1,000 social media friends, instantly increasing the possibility of more new guests visiting your hotel.  As you can see, commissions are investments that can pay off quickly.

Our customers can attest to the value of OTAs that have delivered new marketing and booking opportunities for their hotels.  With our fixed commission rates with the industry’s leading OTAs, managers don’t have to worry about negotiating with OTAs individually. Once your hotel is operating on innRoad’s cloud-based property management software, you will seamlessly plug into a network of OTAs that are focused on generating bookings and driving revenue for your property.  Now all you have to do is prepare for delivering a great experience for your new guests.

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