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Diversify and Thrive - Benefits Of Hotel Marketing In Addition To OTAs

Diversify & Thrive: Benefits Of Hotel Marketing In Addition To OTAs

In this economically challenging and changing world, it is not advisable for any business to be satisfied with its revenue. Particularly in the highly competitive hospitality industry, every hotel should strive towards increasing their sales at all times.

One often sees boutique hotels and family bed and breakfast owners relying solely on OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) for marketing. While the sales are satisfactory, a lack of diversification can have long-lasting negative results on the business.

Removing the middle person is one of the more straightforward methods to increase revenue. In this case, the middle person is the OTA. However, one doesn’t always have to go one way or another.

To understand the benefits of direct hotel marketing over and in addition to OTAs, let us first understand how each plays a part in your business.

Benefits of listing a hotel on an OTA

Online Travel Agencies are websites that combine listings of various hotels based on multiple factors giving the end user a broader preference with the click of a few buttons. For the hotel, it provides the following advantages;

Ease of use – Admittedly, since OTAs follow a standardized structure for all hotel listings, they provide a hassle-free property listing process.

Reputation – Over time, some OTAs have gained an excellent reputation in the market, making them a preferred choice among establishments to list their properties.

More visibility – By listing your hotel on an OTA, you can reach a wider audience, provided you can stand out from your competition. This also leads to good enough returns that satisfy many small hotel owners.

Review management– An OTA typically takes care of review management and customer support on their platform, making it streamlined for you to handle.

Basic analytics – While OTAs do not share Big Data collected, they do provide some basic analytics that you can use to improve your listing.

Benefits of direct hotel marketing

Now that we know how an OTA can help your property, let’s look at the advantages of direct hotel marketing.

No commissions – By getting direct bookings, hotels can save up to 30% in commission fees that they typically pay OTAs.

Relationship building – Dealing directly with customers leads to better relationships and opportunities to make them loyal customers.

Branding – Having your own hotel website and marketing strategy means you are simultaneously working on building your brand value.

Big Data collection – Investing in direct hotel marketing results in collecting essential Big Data about your guests, which you can then use to implement retargeting, email marketing, feedback, metasearch advertising, and more.

Control over promotions – Having a website allows you to promote your property the way you want. Unlike OTAs, which follow the same format for all listings, you can stand out by offering more deals exclusive to your hotel.

Direct marketing is cheaper – The per direct booking cost on a hotel is usually less than commission fees, even when you factor in SEO, email marketing, content marketing, and other techniques a professional hotel marketing agency uses.

What is better between hotel marketing and OTA listings?

There is no simple answer to which is better, hotel marketing or OTA listings. The end-line remains that to maximize sales and revenue, you need both.

However, rather than being simply satisfied with your sales on OTAs, you can tilt your budget more to direct marketing for better results.

How should hotels invest in direct marketing?

Firstly, there is no doubt that hotels should invest in direct marketing, even if they are happy with the sales they get through OTAs.

Furthermore, it is recommended that hotels collaborate with a hotel marketing agency such as Adigital that can strategize a plan to help with sales, branding, website design, SEO, and digital marketing.

To take full advantage of direct marketing, hotels should take measures to convert guests that find them through OTAs into loyal customers. Some of the ways they can do the same are as follows;

Start a loyalty program  

Offering a loyalty program encourages OTA customers to book directly with you the next time they plan a stay.

Offer special deals

Due to rate parity, it is often difficult for hotels to give discounts on rooms. However, you can always offer special deals that work in conjunction with any direct bookings. These can include complimentary dinners, spa massages, room upgrades, or the use of otherwise paid facilities.

Perform Website SEO

Investing in your website has several benefits, of which building your brand online is at the top. Using SEO, a hotel marketing agency can help your website rank high on SERPs leading to more organic traffic and direct sales.

Focus on specialized marketing

Typically, on OTAs, you’ll notice that all hotels look alike, with similar photos and information. Having your own website allows you to stand apart. At the same time, it will enable you to highlight your property’s unique features. 

Use Big Data

When analyzed by professionals, the information you collect from your customers is extremely handy in determining the profitability of your marketing strategy. Simultaneously, it gives you in-depth knowledge about revenue sources you can increase over time.

Small hotels, in particular, often overlook the importance of Big Data. Hiring a professional hotel marketing agency for this purpose is thus very useful.

Build relationships

Lastly, direct marketing gives you the option to interact with your guests at every stage of the process, from making a reservation to getting feedback once they have left.

Not only do direct bookings provide you with better insight into your business and customer behavior, but it also helps build lasting guest relationships, something that is not possible with OTAs.

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