The behaviors and expectations of passengers and guests are changing due to the pandemic and how online booking channels have changed.
As one conditions the other, change is actually inevitable.
Staff savings, maintenance costs, and capital stocks that do not last forever are just some of the facts that will cause changes.
The Role of Online Travel Agencies is Changing
OTA channels will not disappear.
Regardless of the scale of the crisis, the reach and financial power of OTA channels remain significant.
OTAs could provide a kind of assistance to guests and passengers when planning a vacation. This role would include proactive support, up-to-date information on various conditions and expectations during the trip, and a guide’s role to make the trip go smoothly, without surprises.
Guests want to be assured of the rules’ impeccable observance, so their stay in another space is completely carefree and relaxed. It is expected that OTA channels will favorite such accommodation.
There are also reviews, and the way accommodation providers will respond to them.
OTAs could also focus on local, geographically closer supply. Considering travel restrictions, which can be introduced without prior notice, guests will prefer geographically closer destinations. The attractiveness of the offered accommodation will be additionally “measured” by the offer of outdoor activities, local offers such as hiking, cycling, horseback riding – all activities that are safe and practical to perform outside and with valid security measures, or unique experiences that are specific to that destination.
There is a period ahead in which OTA channels have a unique opportunity to promote precisely those facilities that have best adapted to demand, which have provided the required conditions, and which have been checked by former guests.
Accommodation is Changing
Simultaneously, with the changes in online reservation channels’ work, the connection between the guest and the accommodation provider has never been more important.
Due to the pandemic, guests must have verified information about the destination’s and accommodation’s safety and its surroundings – with the possibility to change the plans easily.
One of the biggest problems during the pandemic was related to the non-refundable cancellation policy. A simple refund policy will lead a potential guest closer to the booking decision.
However, according to the current practice, competing with OTA channels is challenging, but it pays off.
Therefore, by cooperating with selected OTA channels, you expose your property to maximum visibility but keep communicating the benefits of direct booking as much as possible. The more channels to promote your own accommodation, the better.
However, to get the most out of OTA channels, you’ll need quality software. Rentlio Channel Manager will help you manage and sync availability & rates between OTAs while sparring you from overbooking torment.
The Relationship with Guests Remains Crucial
Some of the challenges OTAs are currently facing relate to the recovery of long-stay trips and business trips.
Furthermore, the safety and hygiene of accommodation are among the top priorities of guests, and it remains to be seen how OTA will check and guarantee this segment.
The way we travel changes, from the booking process to the guests’ expectations and stay. OTA channels are an invaluable partner if we consider their reach. With such cooperation, you will almost certainly reach more guests.
But nothing will replace your hospitality and the opportunity to turn every guest, regardless of the channel of his reservation, into a loyal promoter of your accommodation, who will gladly come back to you and recommend you to his friends and acquaintances.