The short guide to hotels to find the right OTAs and rank very high
Online travel agencies (OTAs) have dramatically changed the game when it comes to promoting your property and inventory, and even booking rooms. However, for a small hotel, learning how to use these tools and even finding the right OTAs can be more than a little difficult. In this article, we’ll cover what you need to know to find the right ones and get high rankings.
What are OTAs and how do they work?
There are many examples of OTA in the world today. Booking.com, Expedia, Despegar – these are all online travel agencies. They allow you to share information about your property and room inventory and even allow guests to book your rooms through their platform.
In exchange for connecting with customers, OTAs charge you a commission that is a percentage of your sales on the platform per month. Each OTA has its own commission base and it can even vary within the same platform. For example, you will pay between 20% and 25% with Expedia in OTA commission rate.
How to find the right OTA
Finding the right OTA website (s) for your small hotel isn’t as easy as it sounds. Everyone has compromises, and they are not created equal. Here are some considerations you will need to make:
- Property Type – Nowadays there is an OTA for every type of small hotel. The problem is, some will only accept specific types of properties and others not.
- Geographic Location – Some OTAs are specific to particular regions of the world, or they actively seek out properties in those regions even though they represent hotels in other countries.
- Target Audience – There’s an OTA for just about every need these days, from people looking for a fun weekend to the savvy business traveler who needs a place to stay for a month or more. .
- Commission payable – Be very careful when choosing your platforms to check the OTA commission rates for each. There isn’t much to be gained by going for a platform that offers a lot of visibility if you pay too many commissions. Remember that every penny of commission affects your bottom line.
In short, there is no single OTA that is a great choice for every small hotel. What works well for you could be a terrible choice for another property, even in the same geographic region. Choosing the right online travel agencies is something that requires considerable strategy, time spent comparing platforms and their pros and cons, and a thorough understanding of their commission structure and ensuring that you can improve your OTA ranking. . Developing an OTA strategy for hotels should be one of your top priorities.
Fix the OTA ranking issue
For any small hotel, meeting the challenge of OTA ranking is essential. Just getting listed is the first step, but you need to make sure your property appears at the top of the page for relevant searches. How are you doing that?
OTAs rank your hotel based on website information, so making sure your property’s website is fully fleshed out (and perfectly modern) is essential. What should you focus on in your OTA marketing strategy? Let’s break it down for you.
First of all, be sure to discuss your type of hotel. Are you a B&B? A mid-range luxury boutique? A destination primarily for business travelers? A stopover for tired truck drivers on their way elsewhere? Showcase your property and what makes it unique.
Reservation and cancellation policies
Of course, there is more to this than just making sure your website explains your reservation and cancellation policies. You should also develop policies that benefit the customer and that do not place excessive burdens on them. OTAs will lower your rank if you try to sneak up on hidden charges or mislead guests.
Arrival and departure times
Apart from your room types and rates, what do you think are the most frequently sought-after information by potential customers? Your arrival and departure times. This will affect your guests in a number of ways, from when they can arrive and check in to when they need to be packed and loaded when it is time to leave.
Depending on your schedule, customers may need to revise some of their travel plans. Make sure this information is in the foreground. We recommend that you place it directly on the homepage of your website so that it is highly visible.
Photos of the hotel
No one will consider your small hotel if there are no pictures. However, bad photos can be even worse than having none. Make sure you have professional-looking photos of each room from multiple angles. Include bathrooms, balconies, and other cool features.
Don’t stop at the rooms, however. Photos of your lobby, reception, dining / hall, spa (if applicable) and everything else should also be included. This is especially true when it comes to your pool and grounds. Also try to take pictures of these in direct sunlight. Photos taken on an overcast day can make your outdoor spaces look dull and dull.
List of amenities
Many customers have specific equipment they want to see, and they’re not ready to scour your entire website to find it. Our recommendation is to put a list of amenities in each room description, as well as on a separate page on the website.
Let your guests know what’s nearby – you can go as deep as you want here. In fact, we would say the more information you include about the area’s attractions and points of interest, the better. It is also important to include a Google Maps link so that guests can see the distance between the hotel and various points of interest or attractions.
Make sure your rates are comparable across OTAs and with your own website. Price parity is part of your overall pricing strategy and is a critical component for success. You should also use a channel manager to ensure that your rates and inventory are updated in real time across all OTAs.
Participation in partner programs
OTAs run a wide range of partner programs and promotions throughout the year. By participating in these programs, you increase the chances that your property will rank well in user searches. For example, Booking.com operates a program called the Genius Loyalty Program which gives guests access to discounted rates as well as premium perks such as room upgrades and free meals.
Put it all together
There are no shortcuts here. Take your time and choose the right OTAs. Once you’ve done that, make sure your website is up to date. Remember that accurate and quality content is the most important factor in driving your OTA ranking. Creating this content can be time consuming and you can’t afford to save money either. Finally, be sure to sign up for partner programs that can increase your visibility with potential guests.
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