We think most operators agree that independent hotels need an online booking strategy to help them grab the attention of curious travelers. The online relationships between travelers and hotels are too valuable to the long-term financial health of independents to ignore or leave to chance. But where the debate around online booking generally occurs is deciding which tools are best for driving returns and solidifying competitive positioning. Hotelier opinions often vary based on operational goals, financial objectives and even individual preferences, but in speaking with our customers, online travel agencies (OTAs) have proven to be critical to the success of their online booking strategies.
“Being connected to OTAs is incredibly important for my hotel. About 50% of my reservations come from OTAs, and innRoad’s connection has been running smoothly.” – Michael Phillips, Island House Hotel
OTAs deliver a wide range of benefits, but the most noticeable change for many independents is the uptick in occupancy that comes with placement on popular sites, like Expedia, Booking.com and Hotels.com. Placement on OTAs allow independent hotels to stake their claim in the digital marketplace and broaden their reach to potential guests. With more digital touchpoints, independents position themselves to capture more occupancy-driving bookings that deliver the revenue needed to sustain and grow hotel operations.
Expanded brand awareness
Strengthening brand awareness is a core objective for many independent hotels. Lacking the household brand names of large chain hotels, independents must work to showcase themselves in front of more travelers to increase their booking opportunities. OTAs make it possible for travelers to discover independent hotels that may have otherwise been overlooked simply due to a lack of brand awareness. With high visibility and popularity among travelers, OTAs serve as a natural starting point during travel planning and provide direct access to independent hotel profiles, rates and availability. Through OTAs, independent hotels gain increased exposure and, more importantly, additional booking channels for capturing reservations and revenue.
The innRoad advantage
“With our old system, we struggled with overbookings and faulty connections to OTAs. With innRoad, I can trust that our connection is secure.” – Caitlin Freeman, Clark Currier Inn and Compass Rose Inn
With all that OTAs provide independent hotels, a knock against them is the challenge of manually managing the backend for individual OTA connections. Cumbersome channel managers, overbookings due to un-synced systems and time-consuming reservation entries have turned some hoteliers away from utilizing OTAs. However, this isn’t the experience hoteliers receive when connecting to OTAs through innRoad’s Global Distribution System. With innRoad, OTA management is simple and seamless:
- Independent hotels seamlessly connect and manage all OTA relationships through innRoad’s Property Management System – providing one central touchpoint for all bookings.
- All hotel inventory is managed in real time, so regardless of how a room is removed from inventory, via OTA, hotel website, front desk or closed for maintenance, availability in instantly updated across all channels, eliminating overbookings and customer service issues.
- Automated and intuitive functions make inventory management easy and fast so hoteliers can spend more time with their guests and improving other parts of their business.
If you’re an independent hotelier who’s curious about how innRoad improves the OTA management experience, register today for a demo of our cloud-based hotel management software. Simply call 1-855-INNROAD or click here to set an appointment with one of our Property Advisors to learn how innRoad can help.