Why OTAs are so important for you
To be able to compete with other accommodations, being present on OTAs is an absolute necessity. Many travellers immediately turn to these platforms to begin their search for the right place to stay. Offering rooms on these booking websites does not only yield you more indirect bookings, but also more direct bookings thanks to the billboard effect (where OTA users switch to your official website).
Big players in the industry such as Booking.com, Airbnb and Expedia have built a strong reputation and international customer base. Their websites are usually converted to many different languages, making it possible to attract travellers from all over the world. This way, your accommodation benefits from a much larger reach and a better occupancy rate.
In exchange, OTAs charge you a certain fee per booking, usually varying between 10% and 30%. Some use a fixed percentage for all their suppliers, others have varying prices depending on the location of the accommodation. Take your time to compare and discover what works best for you.
How to pick the right partners
Who are your guests?
Define your main target groups, so you can tailor your communication and service to their needs. For example, if your accommodation is surrounded by nature and beautiful hiking/biking trails, it’s probably a better idea to target backpackers than business travellers. Once you've outlined your target audience, you can choose the OTAs that score well among these types of guests.
Which market segments are relevant?
Not all OTAs target the same markets segments. Some are especially popular in specific countries or parts of the world, while others operate on a global scale. Some booking sites are also better suited for certain types of accommodations than others. Small accommodations, for example, perform well on platforms like Airbnb, while Vrbo works great for family-sized holiday homes.
Reach the right people
There are two main groups of OTAs to choose from: large international ones and smaller local ones. In order to put together the right mix, it’s important to determine which guests you want to attract. International OTAs allow you to attract guests from different countries, whereas local OTAs focus on local tourism and are great at capturing specific target groups that are often difficult to reach otherwise.
Connect with the right international booking platforms, depending on your location and the nationalities of your target audience. Keep in mind that most international guests are mainly interested in cities or other touristic attractions like landmarks, museums, (national) parcs, forests, biking or hiking trails ...
If your location is popular within Europe, Booking.com is a must-have OTA, as it is the biggest player on the European market. Is your accommodation perfect for a city trip? Then consider partnering up with Smartbox (the company behind the BONGO gift vouchers).
- North America
Does your region attract lots of American visitors? Opt for Expedia, the largest OTA in the US! Airbnb is wildly popular in North America as well (as is the case for Europe, by the way).
Europe is a beloved destination among Asian travellers for longer vacations. If your accommodation could be of interest to them, make sure to add it to Trip.com and Agoda.
Based on your location, there are many small OTAs you can employ to target local tourists. Logeren in Vlaanderen Vakantieland and O Dierbaar België are a couple of popular Belgian and Flemish websites that cater to guests looking for a specific experience. Allyourz, HotelSpecials.nl, Voordeeluitjes and Natuurhuisje are well-known Dutch booking platforms.
Visit our Marketplace to discover all the OTAs you can connect with!
How to keep track of all your distribution channels
Of course, managing all these OTAs manually would be impossible. That’s why you need a reliable Channel Manager, like the one included in our Bookingplanner All-In-One package. It gives you access to 200+ booking platforms and allows for central management of your rates and availability in real time. The information is instantly synchronised on all connected channels. In other words: no more overbookings!
Finding the right balance between indirect and direct reservations is key. OTAs are indispensable to increase your visibility and occupancy, but your own website should remain an important booking channel as well, in order to avoid paying too much commission. Thanks to our conversion-oriented Booking Engine, you can benefit from the billboard effect that OTAs provide and receive more direct bookings. A true win-win!
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