How to Waste Cash as a Hotel Owner — OTAs
When traveling, how do you book a hotel room? Probably the way most of us do—through online travel agencies (OTAs). This consumer trend is costing independent hotel owners a significant margin of their profit. The solution to reclaim this margin is for guests to book directly from a hotel’s own website, but this won’t happen until hotels invest in better digital marketing—something most hotel owners don’t even know they need to do.
Most independent hotels can be found on OTAs like Travelocity, Expedia and Tripadvisor. The tragic thing for the innkeeper is that they are losing bucket-loads of cash every time a guest books a room from an OTA, because hoteliers actually pay OTAs, in the form of channel and qualifying rates, to list their rooms. Alternatively, it is 10-15 times cheaper* for hoteliers to secure reservations directly from their own hotel website, but despite this, the popularity of OTAs has actually risen--45% since 2008*. Guests use the same internet to find hotel websites as they do to find OTAs. One would think that most hoteliers would place their time and energy into their own site instead of dealing with a middle-man, but they don’t. Why?
Because hoteliers are hoteliers, not web designers. Google your favorite local inn or bed & breakfast and see if you can find their website (if they have one). After sifting through two pages of OTAs and traditional travel agencies, you may find it. Click on it—I’m willing to bet that it looks like some hastily constructed GeoCities website from the 90’s. It probably has an animated gif of a horse awkwardly running, uses thirteen different artistic fonts that can't be read, and might even have…*gulp*…midi-music.