How Hoteliers can Maximize Direct Booking Strategies to Combat OTAs
Fuel, software provider and digital agency for the hotel industry, releases a new white paper to the hotel industry that is geared toward helping hoteliers gain additional revenue through direct bookings on their own websites. Entitled "How to Beat OTAs at their own game," the new informational white paper explores key data-driven tactics that the most successful Online Travel Agencies have used to capture hotel reservations on their digital channels and earn loyalty from traveling consumers. The paper further offers actionable strategies that hoteliers can implement to emulate this success cost-effectively, in order to overcome the increasing online competition and minimize their properties' costs of acquisition for reservations.
The strategies outlined in the new Fuel white paper include a variety of best practices that are designed to help hoteliers:
- Win at comparison pricing
- Maximize imagery and online presence
- Simplify the booking process
- Use market-specific data to predict traveler actions and online behavior
- Leverage loyalty programs to level the playing field
- Personalize guest interaction
Although Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) can be an asset to hotel properties and are useful in selling leftover inventory, they come at a premium cost in the form of high commissions and fees. In recent years, OTAs have eclipsed traditional direct booking channels, driving up the cost of hotel marketing and driving down the bottom line. This is due in part to the exorbitant marketing budgets the OTAs enjoy, which topped $10.6 billion in 2018, an 8% increase over 2017. They also use these budgets to secure and leverage sophisticated customer data and marketing automation programs.
With the increasing array of powerful new digital marketing tools available, the OTAs have become masters of customer data-and they use a very strategic mix of data-fueled strategies to steal away bookings that could have been made directly with hotel properties, according to Stuart Butler, COO for Fuel. Butler also notes that those tools are not proprietary, and hotels can implement them in their own marketing programs to give themselves the upper hand and steer guests back to their own websites to maximize direct booking revenue.