In the ongoing discussion of hotels vs. OTAs, many customers believe that OTAs automatically have lower prices when it comes to hotel rooms as opposed to the actual hotel websites. While this might not always be the case, it is definitely what the OTAs want customers to believe. This belief has the potential to make customers automatically default to viewing OTA’s websites when they are searching for a hotel room, leaving very little chance for hotels to gain direct bookings. This can be a devastating blow to independent hotels and resorts, who often times do not even show up on the first search engine results page of Google.
Whether or not price is a deciding factor in hotel choice for a guest, the bottom line is they will notice it. Customers have the opportunity to conduct research regarding hotels before actually booking a room. This could consist of comparing rates across various channels. If a guest notices that they are able to book the same room at the same hotel for a cheaper price, they will take advantage of the deal. It is important to be aware of all specials that OTAs offer regarding your hotel. If an OTA lists a room for a cheaper price than your own website, it is safe to assume that a guest will book with the OTA over your website, causing your hotel to lose money and pay a commission fee.
Don’t allow OTAs to book a customer simply because the prices offered on their website are cheaper. Not having to pay a 20-25% commission fee can make a huge difference for an independent hotel, especially when you look at the overall total. Regularly monitor the prices listed on your hotel’s website to ensure they remain competitive with OTAs. Though many hotels have agreements with OTAs which state the hotel is not to offer lower prices than the OTA, this does not mean they cannot offer identical prices. For even more direct booking opportunities, combine these efforts with your online marketing strategy.