24 Apr 2013
While hotels are actively collaborating with online travel agencies (OTAs) for business, they are often forced to pay large commissions and adhere to conditions set by OTAs. With customers increasingly engaging the services of OTAs to plan their travel arrangements, you may find yourself in a catch 22 situation. The solution as well as challenge is convincing customers to favor your website for bookings over OTAs. The good news is, there are some ways around it. Here are a few techniques you can use to limit your use of OTAs or completely eliminate them from the picture.
1. Special benefits
Special offers and targeted benefits can encourage users to book directly on your website. You can provide value-added corporate bookings, discounted holiday offers and other incentives. Always make sure you explain to customers that your special rates and offers are applicable only when they book directly. In this case, you have a competitive advantage as OTAs face limitations when advertising their offers.
2. Seasonal use of OTAs
You can partner with OTAs on short-term contracts. For instance, you could completely stop OTA bookings during peak seasons when the demand is high, and rely on them during the slower months. During in-demand seasons, you can bank on customers to find you through your website or leverage any other hospitality solution to locate you. To improve your visibility online, you can invest in search engine optimization and social media marketing techniques.
3. Mobile apps for hotels
In a day and age when consumers are accessing information on-the-go, it makes sense to have a unique mobile app for your hotel. You can use this app to encourage your customers to make reservations, get information about special offers and stay abreast of your news. Over a period of time, your app would become self sufficient while you drive quality traffic to your website. A leading e-concierge and e-menu provider for the hospitality industry such as Blynk can provide you effective marketing solutions to attract direct bookings.
OTAs may no doubt be a popular choice but that doesn’t mean you cannot play your hand. Smart planning and execution can help you get your customers back in a real and meaningful way.
27 Nov 2012
Below original article source: Hotel Insight Blog
This is why I love Hipmunk. As you probably know, I’ve blogged about this company several times in the past, and their latest product enhancements are well worth a mention again today. This time, they have introduced location-based searches. We are not talking enter the city or airport and off we go – we are talking detailed locations and neighbourhoods e.g. “I want to be in the shopping district” or “I don’t want to be near the nightlife areas”. Essentially users can now filter hotel results by traveler type and review curated neighbourhood guides to find the best hotels in the best neighbourhoods for their unique interests. See Hipmunk’s positioning video.
Clever isn’t it? What I like is that Hipmunk once again try to solve a problem that travellers trying to find hotel accommodation on numerous OTA websites struggle with time and time again – and this one’s pretty hard to get right.
For those who’ve not read my previous posts, Hipmunk is an online travel website using new technologies and search approaches to offer various travel options. They created “Agony” search and sort options, claiming to ease the pain of searching for and booking flights using their rather different approach to the normal OTA formats. Similarly, and as I’ve blogged about before, Hipmunk also have an “Ecstasy” sort to find the best hotels and home rentals.
To add some context to the latest announcement, Hipmunk announced its new hotel search product which now helps match travellers to the best hotel in the ideal neighbourhood or area for their specific interests and provides detailed neighborhood guides and local information making it easier for travelers to imagine staying in a given location. Hipmunk’s new tailored hotels product will not only give travellers more context into booking their stay, it will also allow users to make their hotel reservation faster than any other competitive travel search site.
“Travellers are used to the hassle of toggling between hotel sites, maps, reviews, and online destination guides in order to find that perfect hotel,” said Adam Goldstein, Hipmunk CEO. “Hipmunk now serves as your hotel matchmaker, and we’re thrilled to be the first travel site to offer all that information in one place to provide faster and more insightful booking decisions.”