In the ongoing discussion of hotels vs. OTAs, many customers believe that OTAs automatically have lower prices compared 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. This leaves very little chance for hotels to gain direct bookings. This can be a devastating blow to independent hotels and resorts, who frequently do not even show up on the first search engine results page of Google.
Whether or not the price is a deciding factor in hotel choice for a guest, the bottom line is they will notice it. Customers have the opportunity to research hotels before actually booking a room. This could consist of comparing rates across various channels. If a guest sees that they can book the same place at the same hotel for a lower price, they will take advantage of the deal. It is essential to be aware of all specials that OTAs offer regarding your hotel. If an OTA lists a room for a lower price than your own website, it is safe to assume that a guest will book with the OTA over your website. Losing the booking will cause 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. 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 provide the same prices. For even more direct booking opportunities, combine these efforts with your online marketing strategy.