My analysis of Online Travel Agencies 

How to sell your rooms with Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)

Marketing your property via Online travel agencies, or OTAs can be a challenge. There are many options to choose from with different commissions and target markets. In this guide, we will help you utilise OTAs to increase your bookings then compare them to learn which OTAs you should use for your business.

Why Guests Use Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)

OTAs were originally designed to sell excess inventory in times of slow demand. Today OTAs drive the majority of hotel bookings around the world and are a primary source of revenue for most hotels. OTAs such as Expedia, Agoda and Booking.com have become major marketing channels for hotels. Consumers are able to easily compare different hotels side-by-side in terms of price, amenities and location. OTAs also offer trusted reviews and accurate local information.

Major Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)

Two major groups control the OTA market. Expedia Group (owns Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotwire, Trivago & Venere) Booking Holdings (owns Agoda.com, Booking.com, Kayak.com, and Priceline.com) now control about 70% of the online travel market.

The Value of Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)

Hotels use OTAs as distribution channels to extend their reach to new markets. OTAs also offer value to consumers at all stages of the buying process – from planning and research, to selection and booking as well as sharing reviews and experiences. OTAs also create the ‘billboard effect’ – When guests discover hotels on OTAs, most of them do further research about the hotels, leading the guest to the hotel website for direct bookings. A study conducted at Cornell estimates a  10% to 25% increase in direct bookings from listing on an OTA.

How to Choose OTAs that Fit Your Business. 

Check out my analysis of the most popular OTAs in the world below.

 

Popular OTAs Users or Guest Accommodations Countries Travel Market Commission
Agoda.com 22 million 1.2 million 182 countries Worldwide 17%-25%
Airbnb.com 200 million 3 million 192 countries Worldwide 3% +
Bedandbreakfast.com 1.2 million 10000+ N/A Worldwide 10%
Booking.com 40 million 1.4 million 212 countries Worldwide 10% – 15%
cTrip.com 90 million 1 million 200 countries China 10% – 25%
Expedia.com 25 million 1.8 million 210 countries Worldwide 15% – 25%
Flipkey.com 3 million 830000+ 190 countries North America & Europe 3% +
Hotelbeds.com 15 million 1.2 million 180 countries Worldwide 10% – 25%
Hostelworld.com N/A 35000+ 170 countries Europe 12%
Hotels.com 16 million 435,000+ 60+ countries Worldwide 10%
Orbitz.com 11 million N/A N/A Worldwide 10% +
Travelocity.com 14 million 510,000+ 152 countries Worldwide 10% – 15%
Priceline.com 20 million N/A N/A Worldwide 10%
Asiatravel.com 4 million 550,000+ 40+ countries Asia 10% – 30%
Traveloka.com 1 million 250,000+ 30+ countries South East Asia 10% – 20%
GTA Travel 24 million 950000+ 190+ countries Worldwide 10% – 20%
Rakuten Travel 1.5 million 750000+ 52 countries Japan and Asia 10% – 20%

Disclaimer: I compiled the following from publicly available information that can change at any time. Please use this guide as a reference only. Contact OTAs directly to verify information before making any business decisions.

My Conclusion and Recommendation

Online travel agencies offer hotels of all types a lot of opportunity to increase their bookings and revenue. Think of your rooms as a perishable item. If you’re not able to sell your rooms today, you’re never going to recover the loss in occupancy tomorrow. It’s better to sell your rooms through OTAs no matter what commission level. An occupied room is far better than an unoccupied one that burdens you with overhead expense. Signing up with at least 10 or more OTAs is the key to increasing your bookings and revenue. Managing multiple OTAs can be difficult when you have to constantly update rates and availability across different OTA extranet. Use a channel manager to simplify managing your rates and availability on all your OTA sites.

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