What if all the online travel agents closed tomorrow?
Before we continue, this situation is entirely hypothetical. I do think it’s an excellent way to illustrate how heavily some hoteliers can and do rely on the OTA’s and how having alternative revenue streams and platforms running in tandem with the OTA’s can be incredibly powerful.
So the day has come. All OTA’s have shut. Done. No more commission charges, no more waiting for the day to come you can charge the virtual card that has been provided and no more negative scores where the guest has written ‘Nothing’ in the appropriate box.
Does this also mean no more bookings?
For those of you reading this thinking,
“This is the end… I have no platforms for reservations to come through to me because I put everything into the OTA’s and my website hasn’t had a spring clean since Girls Aloud were in the charts.”
Then yes, this means that bookings are going to stop for you.
The good news for you is that if you are quick, you won’t experience the slow down for very long. Now I know you are sat there thinking…
‘But Craig… All the OTA’s have shut down where on earth am I going to get these bookings?”
The chances are you already have the tools and resources to create additional revenue streams. Remember your website? The one that was created but hasn’t been updated much since you set up on the OTA’s. It is going to need updating. Before you can update, you need to know what to update. For that, you need an SEO audit!
What’s an SEO Audit?
An SEO audit is a report that will look at your website and checks many various categories including page loading times, content analysis, image analysis and much more. While I cannot speak for all audits out there, I can confirm that an SEO audit from Occupi Online also includes a task page which gives you a list of actions to perform to improve your website. (Contact [email protected] for an audit on your site.)
How will people book?
Now that you have a fancy up to date website you need to let people book on your site. Now you probably already have a booking button built into your site, but if you don’t then you need to get one…stat. The last thing a potential guest wants to do is phone you up to make a reservation, that’s why they were using the OTA’s in the first place. Just like SEO audits, booking buttons are provided by many different companies and come in all different variations, so you spend a little time to find the one that fits best with you. If you don’t have a booking button or perhaps want to shop for a new one, here is a suitable place to start. https://hotel.occupi.online/booking-management-software/
Offers and gifts.
So people can visit your site and see all the reasons they should stop with you. They have a method to make a reservation on your fantastic looking site but you being the awesome hotelier you are, have so much more to give. You don’t just want to offer your best available rate. You have incredible facilities to offer as well. Now is the time to build your promotions, offers and gifts!
The best way to achieve this is through the sale of vouchers but rather than signing up with those platforms that sell your vouchers to their own client list. You should run a system on your own site.
There are too many reasons to mention why you should go down this route but the main three I will highlight are as follows:
- You do not have discount your prices – at Occupi we are always telling our clients and followers they should build up their bundles and give a wealth of value not cut their prices.
- You will not pay huge commissions – I mean huge. On average, these Voucher companies are charging 50%+ on commission rates. Coupled with the discount price they ask from you, there is not a lot for you make in profit (If anything at all)
- You will own the traffic – What is traffic? It is essentially the information that is collected by these companies. Remember these voucher companies are selling to THEIR clients. They own the traffic. With you owning the traffic, you can continue to send through your marketing and updates on what is new at your hotel and why they should come back and spend more time with you.
Again there are lots of different providers so why not start your search here: https://hotel.occupi.online/vouchercart/
Attracting your guests
So everything is in place. Your website is looking incredible and works. Guests can make reservations with no hassle, and there is even a deal or two there that provides an enormous amount of value without having to slash your prices! Well done, you have come a long way since the OTA’s closed and in such a brief time.
You may be thinking now, “well how do I get people to my site to book?”
The answer is marketing!
You have social media (If you don’t hurry up and make your profile, its free.) This is where your organic audience will hang out, it also gives you the ability to send your message out and keep people in the loop on why they should stop at your property. You also can advertise through social media. It is a suitable place to promote your freshly made vouchers, upcoming offers and also an excellent place to run competitions.
You also have email marketing. You should be collecting the email address of every guest that stays with you. This gives you an opportunity to update those guests that don’t follow you on Facebook with the same vouchers and offers. The best thing, is that you can start to run exclusive platform deals and offers only found through email or social media.
This whole exercise was to show you that you can still succeed without the help of the OTA’s. While the OTA’s aren’t going anywhere if you start to implement these additional tools methods and techniques alongside the OTA’s you will rarely find an empty space in your calendar and will continue to experience peak season revenue, all year round.
If you would like to talk further about anything I have suggested, then please feel free to contact me on [email protected].