Online Travel Agents (OTAs) vs Direct bookings

otas vs direct booking - Ratestrip.com

The online travel agents already dominate the field of online bookings and even more, they are preferred by the travelers to a large extent. So for every hotelier who wishes to increase its direct bookings through the official website of its hotel, the first step that should take would be to start thinking over the reasons for this new status quo.
In this article a collection of some of these reasons for what is happening is made and at the same time a number of proposals is presented of what you could do to deal with it.

ΟΤΑs are easier to use

One of the major reasons that the online selling channels are preferred is that, the pages of the most popular OTA’s are simple, including an easy browsing, projecting the information required to the user, in an immediate and efficient way. Furthermore, these pages are mobile friendly, since most of the bookings are performed through these devices.
What to do: The first and most important step, since you are aiming at the online bookings through your website, is to build an operational and mobile friendly website, a fact that will help achieving the desired objective. Buttons and links titled “Proceed to booking” should be placed in clear points of your website.

 Prices are lower on the online selling channels

There is a strong belief among the travellers that Travel Agents and Online Selling Channels offer better prices of those presented in the official website of your hotel.
What to do:It is your task to inform the visitors of your site and your followers in the social media that the best price may be found in the official website of your hotel. Now, you may integrate a tool for price comparison (RateStrip) on your website, so the comparison with the rest of the channels becomes obvious.

The change/cancellation of a booking is easier with OTAs

The clients of the online selling channels are continuously reassured on how easy can anyone change or even cancel its bookings.
What to do: Ensure that the cancellation policies existing on your website are similar to those offered by the online selling channels and moreover, these are available in a clear point of the web booking. It is another way to strengthen the trust of your visitors, so they can make their bookings directly on your website.

In any case however, in recent years the online travel agents became a common habit, so an increasing number of people trust them every day. Here the only action to be taken is to promote your website in the best way possible. Be sure that you climb in the first positions of the search engines, through SEO, or Google Adwords. To win a major part of the travellers trust, present comments of previous customers and stay in touch with them for anything they might need. The number of the direct bookings for your hotel will change dramatically, by following all the above, resulting to a proportional favourable change on the profits collected!