While OTAs offer a great marketing channel, it can be stressful if you don’t think you’re getting as many bookings as you could be. It can be even more taxing when you aren’t sure what your profile should look like, or what it’s missing. Here at innRoad, we speak with independent hoteliers every day about how they set-up their OTA profiles to make sure they are getting the most from this channel. If you have just set up your profile, or if you are just looking for new ways to improve, we’re here to help! Check out our top five tips for optimizing your OTA profile:
Open-up last-minute availability: For each of your OTA profiles, you will need to include if you are open to last-minute bookings. While it can be risky if you require the assistance of additional staff members, last minute bookers are less likely to cancel. This could be a chance to attract a wider audience that is looking for a room ASAP. innRoad’s real time updates will notify you as soon as the reservation comes in, providing you with as much time as possible to prepare for last minute arrivals. Having a presence in a variety of OTA’s searches will lead to more exposure and extend your OTA strategy.
Reduce the length of stay restrictions: While it can be frustrating to have a guest book a room for one night when you think you could have sold the room for two or three, there might be a benefit in reconsidering your policy. In considering a policy change, it’s worthwhile to consider if this should be a permanent or a flexible change. If you are not receiving many reservations from OTAs, it might be beneficial to run a test and see if a reduction in length of stay has a positive effect on reservations. If you are receiving some reservations, it might be better to try a more flexible strategy. If you know of an event or conference in your area that would attract travelers for one day, try changing your policy for that week. Determine what would be best for you and your property and test it for a month! With innRoad’s PMS system, not only is it easy to change your rates, but you will see them update across all your channels in real time.
Make sure your profile is complete: While the Online Travel Agents require independent hoteliers to add a ton of information on your hotel, it is worthwhile to make sure your profile is completely updated. You never know what missing information could be a deal breaker for a guest. Another important part of having your OTA profile completely set up is making sure you have a link to your hotel’s website on your profile. This allows guests to go directly to your website to book, saving you the commission check. So, set aside an afternoon to ensure that every field is filled out in entirety.
Add new photos and information: The number one recommendation all social media and OTA managers have for independent hoteliers is to consistently update and add new photos to all your profiles. Guest’s will feel more comfortable seeing the most up to date photos of your property. Ensure you have photos from all over your property including rooms and common spaces. Make sure that if you include photos of inside your rooms, that you label them clearly so guests can ensure they book the one they want. It is best to use high-quality photos as well. While some photos taken with smartphones look good online, others are grainy and might deter guests. If you don’t possess the equipment necessary for taking photos, consider hiring a local photographer to snap a few pictures of your property. The photo upgrade will definitely help your OTA profile stand out for prospective guests.
Monthly/ Season Promotions: With impulsive trips and travel on the rise, guests will be more likely to book if they see a special promotion or offer. Consider checking out your competitor’s rates and offering a better price for a week or two. Your promotion, however, doesn’t have to be a reduction in daily cost. Instead, offer a special fall package that includes free breakfast, or offer entrance to a nightly activity. In creating your special package, consider who is your most frequent guests and what sorts of activities would they be interested in?
We hope these tactics will help you optimize your OTA profiles to ensure more bookings and reservations. When changing your profile, it is always optimal to introduce each change individually to see the effect it has on your profile. If you are interested in hearing more about how innRoad can help you set up your OTA profiles, click here to speak