Navbar button hotel-magazine.co.uk Logo Search Button

Ask the Expert… Joining up with OTAs

Zoe 2 May 2013

 

JuliaExpert

Julia Mighall

Regional director, Orbitz Worldwide

www.orbitz.com

 

Q: I am considering joining up with an OTA to help sell some of the rooms in my hotel, but how can I go about choosing the right one?

Ms Mighall says: OTAs do vary considerably in terms of what they pass on to the customer and the channels through which they do it. As ultimately it’s about selling your hotel, you need full and diverse exposure.

Look for what is known as a ‘full service’ OTA which offers hotel, air and car to customers as this will increase the possibility of selling your hotels to more people globally as they book their flight and hotel at the same time for convenience and also cost savings. An OTA that has full and true global reach is also very important. Attracting people through your own site domestically is one-thing, attracting them from the other side of the world to stay for seven or 10 nights that book well in advance, is entirely different.

I would also look at how- and where-else I might see my hotel displayed for further exposure. An OTA with good distribution partners would definitely be something that I would look for, so I would be asking what distribution partners they work with that would bring in a different set of customers from around the world, some of which may typically bring in a far higher ADR.

The next element to look at is merchandising. Are there opportunities for me to promote my hotel, either online or offline? Is there a way to get a better placement on the site? Are these costs inclusive in the commission I pay, or are there additional costs that I would need to consider? Does the OTA have full mobile capabilities?  Increasingly customers are researching and booking on mobile devices, so I would question if this is supported by the OTA, in what way, and what are the plans for the future – is this important to them? Without this, I will certainly be limiting my exposure and growth.

Finally, I would want to be sure there was good account management structure and support. It is important to feel that you have entered into a true partnership with the OTA in which you can work together to grow together.