Why Your Hotel Reputation Over the OTA Matters
While the hoteliers strive towards getting more bookings directly through their website, one cannot deny the significant impact that the OTAs have on reservations and overall reputation management of a hotel. There is no doubt that the OTAs have invested a lot in marketing and have been able to expand their reach too far when it comes to hotels and bookings. As the research suggests, about two-thirds of the guests prefer to book through the OTAs.Hence the importance of the OTAs in the hotel industry is just unthinkable. For instance, Expedia.com covers up to approximately 28%, while Priceline.com and Booking.com have the share up to 16% and 19% respectively.
What is OTA in Hotel Industry?
To put it simply, OTA is an Online Travel Agency where the hotels or all kinds of accommodation providers can list themselves to enhance their visibility to a larger audience which, in turn, has the potential to drive more bookings. In addition to this, the OTAs help the consumers obtain more information about the property they are booking and allow them to compare different options at one place before making a sound or informed decision. Thus the OTAs sort of act as the one-stop solution. Here is a step-by-step procedure explained by GuestTouch in an article which explains how one can list and claim their business on TripAdvisor, as an example.
Why Do We Need the OTAs?
Considering the value that these agencies bring to your hotel and its bookings, it is important for every hotelier to tie up with any of these online platforms and look for ways to enhance the hotel reputation over the OTA if they want to drive traffic to their hotel. Surely, the success rate depends upon the number of connections you have. But before getting a higher listing on the OTAs and more bookings, it is imperative to focus on how to build your reputation remarkably on the OTA platforms.
Hotel’s online reputation plays a major role in customer’s decision making. If your hotel isn’t doing well on let’s say, Booking.com, customers are likely to scroll past, leaving you with fewer bookings and maybe even lesser revenue. In other words, your hotel reputation on OTA matters big time.
……………..So You Must Be Thinking How
Here are the few ways in which the OTAs help build and manage your hotel reputation:
- Introduces Your Hotel/Enhances the Visibility
Before starting with the bookings, it is important to make yourself known in the hotel industry. The task of introducing your property to the prospective customers can be left without any hesitation on the OTAs. For the users coming to them to book a property, OTAs are extremely beneficial in providing the customers with enough information about your hotel- rooms, amenities, price, location, ratings, reviews, to name a few. Again, it has been observed that about 52% of travellers who view hotels on the OTAs do visit the hotel website. Thus the increased visibility engages the customers to book with you, and visit your website.
2. Increases the Website Ranking
It is a common fact that every OTA is well known in a particular location. Advertising through the OTAs will make the customers curious to see more about the hotel by visiting its website. This also results in improved SEO and increases website ranking.
3. Helps Finding the Right Guests
Even if your property does not have an elite ranking or listing on the OTAs, the fact that it is on the OTA alone will work wonders. Budget is a major factor behind bookings and most of the time, it may take precedence over the ratings. So even if you are a property having a 7/10 rating on any of the OTAs offering a feasible budget in comparison, the travellers looking according to that budget are highly likely to book with you. In short, the OTAs help to narrow down the search of the guests by giving them lots of options as per their requirements.
4. OTA Reviews Drive Booking Decisions and Your Revenue
The reviews generated from the OTAs play a significant role in building and maintaining a hotel’s reputation. As per the research by TripAdvisor, 93% of the guests make their bookings after reading the reviews on the OTAs and 70% of the people read at least 6-10 reviews before actually choosing a hotel. Again, the volume of positive reviews can boost bookings and aid in revenue management.
5. Broadens the User’s Perspective
Travellers check the OTAs and reviews not just for booking but also to enhance their overall understanding of the hotel. For instance, a positive response is highly likely to broaden a customer’s perspective about the hotel and its overall aura. Again, the fact that a review as simple as “Good service” has a professional response added to it can speak volumes about the hotel and its management. Sometimes, there are cases where the visitor only leaves the rating and no response. But again, if you are a professional, you will also pay heed to the no-feedback response and curate a reply for that as well. Again, it is a common tendency on the part of the new-age travellers to find out what others are saying or thinking about a particular hotel, before confirming their booking status. In this case, you can rely on the OTAs to do the needful.
6) Rating or Score Matters
7. OTAs Are More Preferable and Trending
As a hotelier, your primary goal is to extract as many bookings as possible directly through the website. But you cannot just deny the fact that the OTAs do have the upper-hand when it comes to driving more bookings. In fact, Statistic Brain has shown through a survey that 57% of the travel bookings were made via the OTAs in 2017.
8. Beware of the Peril of Zero-Review
Reviews act as a window to a hotel’s reputation. A user would want to read as many (positive)reviews as possible before coming up with the concrete decision of going ahead with the bookings. 81% of travellers find online hotel reviews important. In fact, 49% will not make a reservation if the hotel has zero reviews. Again, reviews can help tell a lot about the price, location. aesthetic value, ambience, etc. of a property.
9. Revenue Generation
Everything that you and OTA do together- review generation, listing, rating, score, proper description, etc. help in boosting your revenue. Again, what your guests say about you in various forms- texts, photos, videos, and so on have a direct impact on your revenue management. Negative reviews can tarnish the image of your brand by dissuading the customers who are toying with the idea of booking with you. Thus your hotel’s reputation over the OTA must form an important part of your entire marketing plan as it carries enormous value. Again, the OTAs are instrumental in generating great revenue.
The above chart shows that Booking and Expedia account for 73% of the combined revenues of the 10 online travel companies, followed by Ctrip. The remaining 7 companies are responsible for 14% of the total revenue.
10. OTA Search Results Are Way Higher
The OTA results show up in google search results higher than your own website. Potential guests visit the OTA first and then your website. This is because the OTAs consistently spend billions of dollars for paid search results on google and other search engines.
Again, the Tips to Make Effective Use of the OTAs For An Excellent Reputation Management
A Quick Glance at the Summarized Points:
• The OTAs have a wider consumer base and can reach out to a larger audience to market your property
• It can present a user with so many options to choose from and that also in one place.
• It has higher search results when compared to the actual hotel website.
• It has higher conversion rates compared to a direct hotel marketing.
• It can aid in fetching more direct bookings.
• • •
These are the few ways in which you can increase your bookings over the OTAs. But it should be kept in mind that while the OTA bookings are important for your hotel’s reputation management, too much dependence on the OTAs has its own downsides. For every booking that you strike with an OTA, the latter charges a heavy commission. Hence try to balance the relationship and keep looking for better ways to increase your bookings directly through the hotel website.
GuestTouch helps hotels get reviews easily, manage reviews on the go and respond to reviews professionally across search, and OTAs to stand out and drive bookings consistently.