Marketing your hotel via online travel agencies can be a complicated endeavor because there are many options to choose from with varying commission levels, target markets, and other features. Online travel agencies, or OTAs, were originally designed to sell excess inventory in times of slow demand. Today, OTAs drive the majority of bookings around the world. They are a primary source of revenue for most hotels. In 2017, OTAs were responsible for almost $34 billion in hotel gross bookings in the United States alone, according to PhoCusWright’s white paper.
Even with the growth of online travel booking sites, the hotel agency industry is expected to grow over the next several years. Online booking has forced traditional travel agencies to market themselves in new ways, often by catering to niche markets. Today, travelers who want a well-planned vacation but don’t want to do the planning can find a travel agent who caters to exactly what they’re looking for. Agencies often handle transfers between multiple destinations, event planning services, group travel arrangements and more. Working with a travel agent can help take the stress out of travel. This blog-post is all about the best and the top 7 online travel agencies your hotel should partner with! So, without any further ado, let us see the list.
1. Booking.com: Booking.com is a website that helps travelers find discounted rooms in hotels, villas and apartments around the world. Members can place and cancel reservations through the site instead of contacting hotels directly. Booking.com has achieved remarkable success in India and probably enjoys the best reputation among all other contemporary OTAs operating in India. Hotels love it that they have an incredibly low commission structure starting at 12% although bookings maybe a bit sparse at that commission level. Time taken for a property to go live is probably the fastest among all OTA’s if the hotel is ready with all relevant information. Booking.com delivers bookings in almost destinations; small and big.
2. Expedia Group: Expedia is an online travel agency founded by Microsoft in 2001. The site helps people find and schedule diverse travel services, including car rentals, flights and hotels. It also recommends activities in destination cities. The giant of the online world is a powerful marketing and booking machine with its own brand and associated brands like Hotels.com and venere.com. It has had a few stutters in India, but continues to pull its weight in key destinations. Hotels like the reach they enjoy once they are on Expedia through its subsidiary companies. Expedia has also adapted to market conditions by reviewing its commission structures. Expedia Pay at Hotel starts at 15% commissions.
3. Priceline Group: Priceline is a website that helps people find travel deals offered by other travel companies, including hotels, airlines and cruise lines. Priceline users can create their own vacation packages by combining services. Priceline.com is an American company and a commercial website for finding discount rates for travel-related purchases such as airline tickets and hotel stays. The company facilitates the provision of travel services from its suppliers to its clients. Priceline first became known for its ‘Name Your Own Price’ system, where travelers would name their price for airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals and vacation packages. While the purchaser can select a general location, service level and price, details are disclosed only after the transaction is complete with no possibility of cancellation.
4. MakeMyTrip: Combining the best of an online travel portal and a local travel agent, MakeMyTrip.com is the industry leader for India travel. With 20 offices in India and two in the U.S., this concierge service helps make travel stress free. India’s largest Online Travel Agency and a member of the top 10 OTAs club worldwide in revenues. MMT as it is popularly known was an early starter on the scene and probably has the widest range of Indian hotels. Hotels like MMT because they have been successful in delivering bookings to all destinations and various hotel segments. Their offline travel centres in major metros have worked well for lot of hotels in terms of small group reservations.
5. Agoda.com: It is one of the world’s fastest-growing online travel booking platforms. Established in 2005, the start-up quickly expanded in Asia and was acquired in 2007 by Booking Holdings Inc. – the world’s largest seller of rooms online. Agoda is headquartered in Singapore, with 53 offices in major cities across over 30 countries and over 3,700 staff worldwide. It provides a network of over 2 million accommodation properties, including apartments, villas, homes, and hotels backed by over 15 million real traveler reviews. Booking volumes from Agoda don’t vary widely so, it is a cakewalk for the analysts to estimate production.
6. TripAdvisor: TripAdvisor, one of the world's largest travel site, enables travelers to unleash the full potential of every trip. With over 630 million reviews and opinions covering the world's largest selection of travel listings worldwide covering approximately 7.5 million accommodations, airlines, experiences, and hotels – TripAdvisor provides travelers with the wisdom of the crowds to help them decide where to stay, how to fly, what to do and where to eat. TripAdvisor also compares prices from more than 200 hotel booking sites so travelers can find the lowest price on the hotel that's right for them. TripAdvisor-branded sites are available in 49 markets, and are home to the world's largest travel community of 455 million average monthly unique visitors.
7. Hotels.com: Hotels.com is an online travel agency that specializes in helping people find and book reservations at hotels, condos, bed and breakfasts and more. The company was founded in 1991. The company has 85 websites in 34 languages, and lists over 325,000 hotels in approximately 19,000 locations. Its inventory includes hotels and B&Bs, and some condos and other types of commercial lodging. In 2011, Hotels.com launched an iPad application and updated its mobile phone product on iPhone and Android. Like its competitors, Hotels.com has a loyalty program. This allows customers to claim discounts on most, but not all, hotels, regardless of hotel chain or type. For every 10 nights stayed at hotels booked with hotels.com, customers can claim a price reduction on a subsequent booking.
So, now you know which are the top OTAs a hotel should be partnering with! But as a hotel there is huge amount of commissions being paid to OTAs. Hence, hotels have started focusing more on direct bookings these days. If you want to know how you can increase direct bookings without paying huge OTA commissions, schedule a free demo with Trilyo and we will take care of your hotel revenue & sales.