Some hotels are wary about embracing resources like OTAs and GDS. There’s been plenty of debate about the challenges that OTAs pose to hotels, with commission eating into hotel profits and significant competition in the online realm. Then there’s GDS – the Global Distribution System – which can have many benefits for hotels, but can also prove expensive in the long-term, especially if you’re not bringing in enough bookings from it.
But what are the booking benefits of embracing these technologies? How can you leverage them alongside your own hotel reservation system? Let’s take a look at why both OTAs and GDS should be an integral part of your hotel marketing strategy.
The benefits of embracing GDS
One of the biggest advantages of being listed on the GDS is that you’ll gain valuable marketing exposure without needing additional manpower or resources. Your property will be in front of a multitude of clients – both agents and consumers – increasing your visibility and enhancing your chances of receiving bookings.
The GDS also generates bundled packages for end-users, which can be of real benefit to your hotel. With packages that include flights, a hotel stay and other perks like transfers or activities, your hotel can be involved in a deal that offers total convenience to guests.
The booking benefits don’t end there. The GDS also allows you to target different audiences without much effort on your part. For example, if you usually attract families and couples, you can use the GDS to attract business and corporate clients, which often use agencies or third parties to plan itineraries for their business trips.
The benefits of embracing OTAs
OTAs have something of a bad reputation in the hotel industry, with many claiming their commissions and the competition they’ve created in the market are resulting in less direct hotel bookings. That may be the case – but there are a plethora of benefits of embracing OTAs and using them as a crucial part of your strategy.
Firstly, the most popular OTAs have marketing capabilities that surpass even some of the largest hotels. They spend enormous amounts on advertising online, using tools like Google Adwords, Facebook ads and paid search to increase traffic and bookings. They have millions of subscribers and followers online. Just one feature in an OTA mailshot could see you booked up for the rest of the year.
Despite their reputation for stealing away direct bookings from hotels, there’s some research to suggest that using an OTA could actually increase direct bookings. Experts at Cornell University found that 62% of Intercontinental Hotel customers visited Expedia before they booked directly on with the hotel chain. This gives credibility to the idea that consumers use OTAs to find great deals, then end up booking on brand websites using their own hotel reservation software anyway.
For more information about positioning OTAs and GDS at the forefront of your own marketing strategy, contact the Digital Hotelier team today.
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