An online travel agency is a website or app where consumers can research, book and pay for travel services like hotels, flights, cars and vacation packages. The most well-known OTAs include Google Hotel Search, Airbnb, Expedia and TripAdvisor. There are also niche OTAs that cater to specific audiences and travel needs such as skiers or campers/glampers, luxury travelers or adventure travelers.
OTAs offer a variety of benefits to travelers including consolidated booking experiences, access to a wide range of flight and hotel options, and the ability to book multiple reservations at once. However, OTAs don’t provide the personal service or expertise that a travel management company can offer. A TMC can help manage your business travel process by creating a practical and cost-conscious travel policy, providing seamless booking experiences and assisting with data reporting, duty of care and other services that are not available through an OTA.
For hoteliers, working with OTAs can be challenging. For example, OTAs often charge high commission rates and can attract the types of travelers that your property doesn’t want. However, it is possible to reduce your reliance on OTAs by connecting with a variety of smaller distribution channels that aren’t as well-known and have lower commission rates.
Additionally, by focusing on your own website and booking engine, you can avoid paying a third party commission for each booking and increase the amount of direct bookings that are generated from your brand. To learn more about this, read our article “8 Ways to Gain More Bookings Through Your Hotel Website.” online travel agency