January 08, 2013

Are hoteliers moving away from OTAs with direct bookings?

Whilst the wrangling between hoteliers and OTAs continues, the industry is looking at ways to sidestep the high-commission demanded by OTAs. Developments in online consumer trends may benefit the hotel industry and enable them to weaken the power wielded by OTAs.

“OTAs will always have a place in the market, helping to drive new customers to a brand,” explained Stephen Dodman, Revenue Director from Macdonald Hotels and Resorts. “Indeed, research highlights that along the research-to-buy cycle, customers will use an OTA site. So by working with OTAs we can position our business front of mind with customers previously unfamiliar with Macdonald Hotels.”

“However, once we have engaged a guest, our strategy is to encourage that guest to directly book with us for their next visit.”

Dodman is not alone in his view: hoteliers worldwide are aspiring to attract more direct bookings by diverting sales from commission-free channels to their own websites.

The explosion in social media has created the perfect commission-free platform to convert sales, as Rupert Gutteridge from Guestline confirms:

“With the growth of social media as social business, many hoteliers are looking to social media platforms as an alternative, commission-free, online sales channel to drive direct business.” “This medium is fast becoming an essential tool in the hotel marketing kit to converse with customers and from there, build a two-way communication platform – essentially enabling the conversion of looks to books.”

Get the full story at UK's Hotel Industry Magazine