Most common myths in online hotel distribution
In my daily interactions with hoteliers and revenue managers, I encounter many people who find the huge number of different online distribution channels overwhelming. Most hotels have questions about the best practices of this very valuable and profitable channel. In an attempt to demystify online distribution, I wanted to share with you some of the most common myths – and offer insight into the truth behind each myth.
Myth: Hotels should reduce their reliance on OTA bookings.
There are many hoteliers who are adamant about avoiding OTAs (online travel agencies) unless absolutely necessary – primarily because of the high commissions that the sites charge. Although commissions can be high, in most cases, the OTAs have a much bigger marketing budget which can drive online traffic and conversions to their booking platform more effectively (and affordably) than an independent hotel could (to their own website).
OTAs are especially useful in driving bookings from markets that are geographically out of reach to the average independent hotel or regional chain. In some markets, emerging, local OTAs will be more effective channels to secure bookings from outbound travellers. If your hotel isn't using these OTAs to market your property, you are missing out on bookings and revenues from these potentially lucrative source markets.
When planning your online distribution strategy, consider the following 'best practices':