Steering Towards Direct Bookings: Sailing Beyond OTAs

May 24, 2023
Steering Towards Direct Bookings: Sailing Beyond OTAs
Steering Towards Direct Bookings: Sailing Beyond OTAs

In today's ever-evolving hotel sales distribution landscape, a clash of titans has emerged: Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) versus Direct Bookings. As technology changes how guests interact with reservations, hoteliers often need help with which booking channel to opt for.

Both OTAs and direct hotel reservations have advantages and disadvantages. Hotel owners and managers must comprehend the dynamics of this conflict and make the best choices for their properties.

OTAs unquestionably boost a hotel's visibility through their enormous advertising budgets. The challenge is the weight of their expensive commissions. These weigh heavily, making direct bookings more affordable.

If you're a hotelier seeking reasons to perfecting your direct booking strategy, you've come to the right place!

This article will explore the fundamentals of OTAs and direct bookings, guiding you from reliance on OTA bookings to a shift towards direct hotel bookings. Additionally, we will highlight the differences between these two titans to reinforce our arguments. Finally, we'll explain how Event Temple can assist your hotel in securing more hotel direct group bookings.

What are Direct Bookings?

Direct bookings are the reservations made by guests directly with a hotel, without the involvement of any third-party intermediaries such as Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) or other booking platforms. In this case, visitors often book their reservations by going to the hotel's official website or getting in touch with the hotel via phone or email.

What are OTAs?

Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) are online platforms that allow travellers to search, compare, and book various travel services such as flights, accommodations, car rentals, and more. In addition, they act as intermediaries between hotels and potential guests, facilitating the booking process. Some examples of well-established OTAs are:- Booking.com, Expedia, Hostelworld, Hotelbeds, Agoda, Airbnb, TripAdvisor, Make My Trip and many more.

The prevalence of OTAs in the industry

The rise of Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) has profoundly impacted the travel and hospitality industry, making them a prevalent and influential force in the market.

Here are key points highlighting the prevalence of OTAs:

1. Market Dominance

Due to their broad reach, widespread presence, and great brand recognition, OTAs have become the preferred platform for travellers looking for lodging, and as a result, they account for a sizeable portion of bookings globally.

2. Online Booking Revolution

OTAs have revolutionized how individuals research, plan, and book their travel by utilizing technology and user-friendly interfaces to offer a convenient and simplified booking experience that caters to the tastes of tech-savvy travellers.

3. Increased Customer Base

OTAs have a sizable customer base and are popular with a variety of travellers, including leisure tourists, business travellers, and those looking to make last-minute reservations. They are well-liked by a variety of demographics and travel niches thanks to their marketing initiatives, affordable pricing, and extensive selection.

4. Market Visibility and Advertising

OTAs invest significant resources in marketing and advertising, including television commercials, online campaigns, and partnerships with influencers and celebrities. This visibility has helped them establish strong brand identities and remain top-of-mind for travelers when considering travel bookings.

5. Price Comparison and Transparency

The capacity of OTAs to offer price comparison and transparency is one of its key benefits. On OTA sites, travellers can quickly compare prices, read reviews, and check property data, empowering them to decide on a lodging option based on their tastes and budgets.

6. Technological Advancements

The capacity of OTAs to offer price comparisons is one of its key benefits. On OTA sites, travellers can quickly compare prices, read reviews, and check property data, empowering them to decide on a lodging option based on their tastes and budgets.

While OTAs have significantly reshaped the industry, it's important to note that hoteliers still value direct hotel bookings.

‘Now the question arises, why do hotels nowadays prioritize increasing hotel direct bookings despite the apparent benefits of OTAs for their business?’

A shift from OTA Bookings to Direct Hotel Bookings

Nowadays, hoteliers are determined to break free from OTA dependence and implement strategies that amplify their direct bookings while diminishing their reliance on Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) for several reasons:

1. Upselling and Cross-Selling Opportunities

Hotels can increase their revenue per booking by upselling extra services, room upgrades, or special packages when using direct reservations.

2. Flexibility in Pricing

Hotels have more influence over pricing and revenue management tactics when they accept direct bookings. They can dynamically modify rates based on demand, market conditions, and internal considerations without being constrained by OTA regulations or contractual commitments.

3. Direct Feedback

Direct bookings enable hotels to gather immediate feedback and reviews directly from guests. This helps hotels monitor guest satisfaction, promptly address issues, and continuously improve their services.

4. Maximizing Revenue

Direct bookings allow hotels to avoid paying commission fees to OTAs and retain a more significant portion of the revenue generated from each reservation. Typically, OTA commission fees range from 10% to 30% of the booking value.

5. Brand Control

Direct booking channels let hotels highlight their distinctive features, services, and offerings instead of OTA bookings, where several hotels are listed side by side. This aids hotels in setting themselves apart from rivals and building a solid brand identity.

6. Access to Customer Data

Hotel Direct bookings provide valuable customer data, including preferences, contact information, and booking history. This data empowers hotels to tailor marketing efforts, personalize guest experiences, and offer targeted promotions.

7. Enhanced Guest Experience

Direct bookings allow hotels to provide a seamless and personalized booking experience by eliminating intermediaries; hotels can offer a smoother reservation process, better communication, and direct support to guests.

OTAs vs Direct Bookings

We have prepared the following table to provide you with a clear comparison between OTAs and direct bookings. It illustrates the compelling reasons why investing in the growth of hotel direct bookings is crucial for your business.

OTAs vs direct bookings

Without a shadow of a doubt, direct bookings are more beneficial as they offer hotels myriad benefits, particularly in providing access to one of the most valuable resources in online marketing: data.

Customers actively seek out customized experiences in the hunt for personalization, and data plays a crucial role in supplying insights to build highly personalized and memorable guest experiences.

To increase direct reservations as a hotelier, you should search for opportunities to reward your visitors. Consider these top hotel incentives to drive direct group bookings.

How can Event Temple help you increase direct bookings?

A quick website with an open booking engine, safe payments, and customizable features is required to increase direct reservations and direct group bookings. These characteristics are all present in Event Temple.

Event Temple provides a transparent and user-friendly booking engine, a GRC calendar view, and 50+ deep integrations which enable guests to see availability clearly, book rooms effortlessly, and remove the worry of overbooking in their own PMS. This booking process ultimately reduces admin time and helps increase hotel direct bookings.

Conclusion

By the end of this blog, you must have gotten all the reasons why you should focus on improving direct hotel booking strategies rather than relying on these costly third-party leads. So let us know your point of view in this never-ending discussion of OTA bookings vs direct bookings.

Continue Reading
What Does SMERF Stand For and Why Are They Important for Hotels?
What Does SMERF Stand For and Why Are They Important for Hotels?
What are SMERF groups and why should your hotel focus on them? Unlock the potential of Social, Military, Educational, Religious, and Fraternal groups to stabilize revenue, enhance guest experiences, and foster community engagement. Dive into our comprehensive guide for expert insights on mastering SMERF events and sales strategies!
Read Story
The Ultimate Hotel Review Strategy
The Ultimate Hotel Review Strategy
Discover how to turn online guest reviews into your hotel's competitive advantage. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the strategies for managing reviews effectively, enhancing your reputation, and leveraging feedback to increase bookings and guest satisfaction.
Read Story
The Contactless Hotel Experience: Innovate or Get Left Behind
The Contactless Hotel Experience: Innovate or Get Left Behind
Discover how contactless solutions are revolutionizing the hotel industry, enhancing guest experiences with seamless technology. From digital keys to virtual concierges, learn how to stay ahead in the hospitality game.
Read Story
Book a demo now.
Get a demo today to see why we're the fastest growing venue management software in the country!