A behind the scenes look at hotel OTAs for independent hotels

We frequently discuss hotel online travel agencies (OTAs) because we want to help independent hoteliers better understand how they work and their great benefits.  Our hotel OTA partner Expedia recently published a helpful report that provides an in-depth look at the science behind its online marketplace.  Here are a few key points we think independent hoteliers will find interesting:

1. Hotel OTAs understand the needs of today’s smart, savvy traveler.

The Expedia Marketplace is designed to allow consumers to customize their travel experiences exactly to their liking.  Once travelers pick their destination, they can book flights, chose hotels, plan a cruise, rent a car and select day trips all within a continuous online experience.  With hotel OTAs making travel planning easy for consumers, independent hotels stand to benefit from the great exposure generated by the marketplace.

2.Independent hotels can take ownership of their visibility on hotel OTAs.

An independent hotel’s visibility in Expedia search results is determined by 3 factors:

  • Offer Strength combines numerous factors, including current and historical ADR, promotions, guest ratings and reviews and popularity on Expedia – all of which independent hotels can directly control or heavily influence.
  • Quality Score takes into account the rates offered directly via an independent hotel’s website vs. Expedia, as well as how rates compare against competing hotels listed on Expedia. A hotel’s online content, descriptions and photos, also impact its score.
  • Compensation is what Expedia earns for delivering bookings to independent hotels. However, to protect Expedia’s business model, properties with poor Offer Strength and Quality Score simply cannot buy premium placements, so opportunities to improve visibility remain balanced.

3. Hotel OTAs want their independent hotel partners to succeed.

The myth that hotel OTAs are out to just take money from independent hotels is simply untrue.  Expedia offers advanced tools, like its Accelerator and TravelAds, to boost visibility for independent hotels and position them to capture valuable bookings.  Hotel OTAs don’t earn money unless travelers are booking rooms, so the more value hotel OTAs are able to provide travelers, the more opportunities hotel OTAs and independent hotels have to generate growth-enhancing revenue.

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