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Manage OTAs to Increase Your Business Profitability

articles | Out of Eden - 12.01.2024

How The OTAs Get So Many Bookings

We’ve been working closely with freetobook, an online booking system, to bring you a series of blogs focusing on how you can make your business more profitable. In our first blog, we ask: can you limit Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) from absorbing bookings from your direct and repeat guests? The answer is: yes, you can! Find out more in this handy guide.  

In a recent survey by freetobook the 3 most important challenges for hotels in 2024 are; improving occupancy, increasing booking profit and reducing reliance on OTAs. The common theme here, profitability, is one you have surprising control over when you know how.

In four short blogs we illustrate how you, with simple actions, can stop the OTAs taking your direct bookings.   Firstly, let's understand how the OTAs get so many of your bookings. 

They have huge advertising budgets. Their campaigns include advertising by location but most importantly for you they also advertise under the name of your business. This means when someone searches for your hotel on Google, the top paid for advert is an OTA you work with (and they are advertising under your name!). The result is the OTA syphons off many of your direct and repeat guests. The OTAs ramp up their advertising at key times, for UK businesses this is January to March. Straight after Christmas guests start looking and with your diary empty most businesses are sadly too eager to see bookings come in. This is an opportunity for the OTAs to make a killing, they dial up their ads and enjoy unfettered access to your high season availability.

Using your channel manager in a "simple" open always mode will favour the OTAs. You must close out the OTAs over your precious high season dates to maximise direct bookings. Leave dates open to commissionable bookings only when you really need them, not all the time. 

Another way OTAs get so many bookings is the tricky/expert way they get you signed up to various deals offering discounts. These offers leak direct bookings. You must ensure your direct rate is always better. Which guest will book direct at a higher price?

These are simple actions everyone can do and they lead to more direct bookings and better profitability. Taking control of your pricing and availability will boost your profit.   

With your rates and availability set to favour direct bookings it's critical you get these visible to prospective guests; again it's not difficult, that's what we'll look at in the next blog. 

For more business advise and to register with freetobook, visit  www.freetobook.com



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