Many guests and travelers are accustomed to booking and choosing accommodation using online travel agencies.
The Expedia research “Quality Counts: The value of OTA travelers” describes in more detail the characteristics of travelers and guests who book through OTA’s (Online Travel Agencies) – and are undoubtedly helpful in designing sales strategy.
According to the research, guests who book their accommodation through OTA channels stay longer, spend more and generally generate more income for the local community and destination.
Local OTA guests are more likely to use additional services available within the accommodation, including room service, spa services, mini bar or restaurant, than guests who have booked directly.
In the U.S., local OTA guests spend 16% more per trip and 5% more on accommodation than guests booking directly.
Local OTA travelers and guests will be vital to destinations during the renewal of local tourism offerings, the research shows.
OTA travelers and guests are active, shopping and visiting cultural attractions, participating in the local offer, bringing more revenue to the broader community.
American guests who book accommodation through OTA channels spend 12% more on meals and drinks and 6% more on various activities. In the U.K. and France, travelers planning their stay along OTA’s are more likely to visit cultural sites and try the local restaurant offerings.
Before and After The Stay
In addition to booking confirmation, guests also turn to OTA during the planning and research phase.
OTA’s play a significant role in price comparisons, from the accommodation, flight offers, car rentals and activities, and points such as safety measures.
The research found that in the U.S., most local and international travelers use OTA channels to plan or explore at least one aspect of their trip, 61% and 74%, respectively. In addition, 56% of local and 71% of international travelers using OTA channels in the planning phases are likely to confirm a reservation.
Approximately half of local travelers and two-thirds of international travelers in France and the U.K. use OTA’s to plan or explore at least one aspect of their trip. At least half of those who used OTAs to plan eventually confirm a booking.
Easy to Use
Online booking channels are masters of the user experience, constantly adapting to more technologically savvy guests and travelers.
47% of users said that OTA’s suit them because of ease of use.
OTA channels are constantly investing significant resources to provide users with everything they need to make an effective and reliable final decision. In addition, as mobile is continuously increasing, OTA’s invest in applications and an optimized experience on all devices, allowing travelers and guests to browse easily and book accommodation anywhere, anytime.
Follow that example.
Make your website more accessible with easy navigation, minimal feature options, and customization for mobile devices.
A website is necessary and should not just play the role of a brochure or catalog showing your beautifully decorated accommodation – be it an apartment, hostel, hotel or campsite. Instead, it should actively participate in the process of booking accommodation, which you can read more about here. The booking process optimization is a good starting point for providing quality service before your guest’s arrival.
According to the survey, guests and travelers from the U.S., UK, France and Mexico who choose accommodation and plan a trip along OTA channels typically turn to these platforms to find the best price per night.
Other reasons why OTAs are almost inevitable include comparing offers in one place, the available accommodation requests in line with expectations (size, security, cancellation policies) and finding promotions.
OTA channels, according to research, outperform other distribution channels by providing a handful of options, thus forcing guests to confirm a booking right on their site.
You need to communicate appropriately with guests whose bookings have been confirmed that way. As OTA channels protect your clients’ data, your guests must make sure that you also get that data. This contact will allow you to establish communication and relationships with your guests directly for future stays, during, but also – most notably, after their visit.
With the further growth of online bookings, OTAs are advancing by offering a superior user experience, achieving the loyalty of their customers and creating the perception of the lowest price offer. All this has led to a culture of travelers for whom OTA channels are the primary channel in search of travel and accommodation.
What you can do:
Do more to stand out.
Eight out of ten passengers said the offer of accommodation in similar price ranges looks the same and that they need to do more to stand out.
Nearly three-quarters of travelers read comments and reviews before booking. In addition, 80% of travelers believe that if a hotelier or renter does not respond to negative reviews, the negative comment must be accurate.
Most travelers (70%) want to get information about additional amenities before their stay. And almost 60% of them are willing to share arrival details in advance, along with any special requirements, to enhance the holiday itself. Travelers also pay attention to photos of apartments, hostels, hotels or campsites before making a booking decision. For example, 80% of French travelers and almost 90% of British travelers said accommodation photos were crucial to the decision.
The OTA channels allow the guest to compare the accommodation offers according to their preferences, based on price, availability and reviews – in one place.
The least you can do is to follow their example. 😉