OTA’s or Online Travel Agents are websites dedicated to travel booking, such as Agoda.com, Booking.com, Ctrip.com & Expedia.com. More than 1.5 billion people book trips each year and 70% of those bookings are now made online!
Certain OTA’s now have significant market share and now have a significant role in the hospitality and travel industry in helping drive awareness and supply for hotels across the globe. Online travel agent listings are free, but commissions between 15-20% are levied each time a booking is made for your property. Hotels provide their partner OTA’s and meta search channels with content, rates and availability using software systems such as channel managers, which gives global distribution.
Now more than ever, global travelers are researching locations and booking hotels online and hotels who fail to adapt to this change in trend/behavior will not be able to survive. The hotels who maximize their exposure with pro-active OTA strategies will be able to beat the competition and gain relative market share.
OTA’s provide hotels with a global reach and serve as both a marketing and distribution channel, allowing properties to take advantage of the large marketing budgets, international exposure, and extraordinary online presence to drive revenue. Studies have shown that hotels which are present on OTA’s also benefit from a “billboard effect”, which is an increase in direct bookings by virtue of OTA presence.