OTAs can be a tough addiction to kick.
Owners know they cut into your profits.
They can take control of your bookings.
If competing with OTAs feels like an uphill battle, you’re not alone. All hoteliers want more direct bookings, but it’s become a bad habit for many to give up and let the OTAs take over. They’re addicted to the bookings OTAs bring in, even when those bookings come at a high price.
OTAs are here to stay. For most hotels, quitting OTAs cold turkey is not an option. However, you can start to move towards a better balance of direct and indirect bookings. And the sooner you recognize your problem, the sooner you will be motivated to take action.
Know the Signs of OTA Addiction
- You get more OTA business than Direct: What percentage of your online revenue comes from OTAs vs direct? If the ratio favors OTAs and other third party sources, then you have a problem and need to start moving the needle in the opposite direction.
- You’re not consistently reaching out to guests: OTAs grab a lot of guest information and keep it. When you accept this as part of your fate, you allow the OTAs to take over guest remarketing when your guests leave your property. Use every opportunity to gather information and further your interactions with guests. Collect email addresses at the front desk in exchange for future discounts. Encourage guests to take an online survey when guests dine at the restaurant. Ask if they prefer to have their check-out bill sent via email….
- You ignore this key metric: In addition to ADR, AOR and RevPar… add MCPB to your vocabulary. Marketing Cost Per Booking is an easy way to evaluate the cost of bookings that come from OTAs vs direct campaigns. If you paid $25,000 to OTAs last month for 250 bookings, that’s a MCPB of $100. How does that compare to your direct campaigns on PPC, email etc?
- You don’t give guests a reason to stay on your website: Check your bounce rate. If guests come to your site, look at one page, and click away, you’re essentially handing them over to the OTAs. Your direct site should promise the best value and provide a glimpse inside your property that sterile OTAs cannot match.
- You recognize the signs and take no action: You read a lot of advice on improving your marketing, but take little action. You might be caught up in big ideas of what you could do, should do, or would do. It’s a common problem. However, you’ll never beat your OTA addiction until you start doing. It is better to start with one small step today than to think about all the big things you can do tomorrow.
The First Step is Admitting You Have a Problem
I know it’s hard. Nobody wants to admit it. But we’re all friends here. Do any of these signs sound like your hotel? Let us know how you’re fighting for your hotel in the comments below.
Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 30th year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com