Many accommodation businesses pay large amounts of commission to online travel agencies and these are generally viewed as the cost of doing business – things that are unavoidable. But are they really unavoidable costs? According to market research, hotels alone gave away a whopping $2.5 billion to OTAs in 2010 in the form of online booking commissions. While the OTAs drive up bookings, they also demand heft commissions for those sales and it is possible to increase your profit margins when you undercut the OTAs by investing in a good accommodation booking system.
There are many techniques that you can use to drive bookings to your website. For example, you can leverage your fans and followers on social media in order to make direct bookings on your website by offering them small discounts. Incentivizing customers is not just possible through social media channels. You can also choose a robust accommodation booking system with a good incentive system in order to drive up your bookings. There are massive cost savings that can accrue between direct bookings and the OTA bookings. By keeping more money in your pockets, you will be able to thrive in the online business instead of merely surviving.
Driving the Direct Bookings
This is where the money is when it comes to accommodation bookings. When you are looking for an accommodation booking system, it is important to consider what the OTAs do in order to stay at the top of the business and drive up those high booking rates. They generally allow for an unparalleled and user-friendly browsing experience using a system of reviews, ratings, price points amongst many other ecommerce techniques in order to stay on top. When you are investing in your own internet booking engine for your accommodation website, these are some of the factors that you will need to consider.
One of the reasons why many guests love OTAs is that they can browse the various travel products, compare prices and get the best deals through a very easy to use platform. Accommodation establishments can build this rich functionality into the reservation process so that they can easily build relationships with prospective buyers of their travel products and leverage this to drive the bookings up.
Integrating the Internet Booking Engine with Social Media
It is important for accommodation services to have direct links from the reviews and the social media channels to their websites. Good integration with social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook will lead to very powerful engagement. Captivating your potential customers with social media also increases their interest in your products thus leading to higher conversions.
Build the Mobile Aspect of Your Marketing
Mobile search can also boost your bookings in a very significant manner. It is therefore important to build a responsive online presence that will make your accommodation portal more accessible to mobile users. It is important to invest in an internet booking engine with good mobile support features and functionality.
Adding Value where there is Rate Parity
When you are selling your travel products via OTAs and your website, you will be required to adhere to the rate parity agreements with the OTAs. But you must begin thinking on how you are going to differentiate yourself in the market. Look for more ways to incentivize the bookings via your website and try to offer guests something unique when they are booking via your portal.