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Common Mistakes Hotels and B&Bs Make on their Channels

articles | Out of Eden - 26.01.2024

How The OTAs Get So Many Bookings

In the third of this blog series brought to you by freetobook, we look at how to avoid losing bookings to the OTAs.

We see a lot, and by that we mean tens of thousands, of bookings each year that get lost to the OTAs because hotels and B&Bs aren't managing their OTA relationships. The 3 big areas to keep an eye on are your payments, offers and T&Cs.

Payments

By not handling your own payments you create an opportunity for your direct rate be undercut by the OTAs. Why? If the OTAs take payment from the guest then they control the final rate offered to the guest. What we see is the OTAs cutting into their commission to make their price better than the direct rate. Put simply, you have lost control of your pricing when this happens. With the availability of secure and cost-effective payment solutions (e.g. Stripe) that provide full control and ease of use, there's no reason to lose control of your cash flow.

Offers

Many businesses use offers to generate revenue in the slower periods and they work well for this. However, you need to manage offers across all channels to ensure that they don't just give the OTAs another way to undercut your direct rates. You need to avoid being automatically opted in and always ensure offers are replicated on your website. You can keep an eye on this by regularly searching your property on the OTAs but remember to also do this on your mobile as some offers only show on mobiles. Google is another good way of checking your rates and their Google Hotel Ads offers a price a monitor function to do it for you!

Terms & Conditions

Your Terms & Conditions (T&Cs) matter to guests and if they see better (i.e. more flexible) T&Cs on the OTAs they'll book there, often even if there is there is a price disadvantage. If you offer free cancellation on an OTA and don't replicate that on your on website you'll lose bookings to the OTAs. Even taking a refundable deposit on your own website yet not taking a deposit on the OTA booking will lead some guests to book via the OTA.

Connecting to an OTA isn't simply a set and forget process, you need to actively manage your sales channels to your advantage. Good channel managers provide the support and capability to make that process quick and easy, make sure you use one.

In the last of this blog series, we'll look at ways to make your guest experience stand out and be memorable for your guests, ensuring they come back or send their friends.

To find out more about freetobook just visit our site or call us 0141 270 2173.



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