We have reasons to love them and we have reasons to hate them.
Online Travel Agencies have their annoyances e.g. overbooking our rooms on the most inconvenient of days when you have that busy weekend with a major event. They side with their customers occasionally during exaggerated and embellished complaints, and some of them ( I won’t name here!) charging over 30% commissions, are just a few examples.
There is also some positive sides
how we can work with them and their services. Many hoteliers are unaware or simply do not have the time to make use of analytics data, marketing tools, up to date market statistics, revenue manging, guest relations and many more tools which are available for our use. As we already pay them a commissions bill at the end of every month why not squeeze that extra bit of value by getting more out of them!
As an example lets look at Booking.com – regular checks on the Sales & Pace reports and comparing with Local Market data can give you a sense of how you are performing compared to your direct competition or compared to yourself last year. They are at the forefront of technology and data collection while making these accessible for us at no extra cost, so you can be sure we will make use of them to help make decisions that will help drive sales.
Another example from Expedia shows you if a guest viewed your hotel yet then decided to book a local competitor. This is a blessing, why did they go for them instead of you? This is a trigger to re-evaluate your rating/services/reputation/price in comparison to them to make active changes which may inevitably sway future customers to convert to a booking with you instead.
Even though we carefully manage and sometimes restrict inventory allocation to OTAs as we try drive more direct bookings, by utilising their innovative extra services you can be sure we will get the most value out of their use.
Are there any other features that you know or habitually use from any OTAs?