An online travel agency (also referred to as an OTA) is a company that sells travel-related products such as flights, hotels, rental cars, and tours. OTAs act as middlemen between airlines and consumers, offering booking options that may be cheaper than the airline’s direct prices. While most people are familiar with Expedia and similar big-name OTAs, there are hundreds, if not thousands of smaller ones as well.
OTAs are one of the most significant sources for online bookings in the travel industry, with millions of visitors per day. Their popularity stems from their wide variety of options and simplified booking process. For example, they often offer packages that combine flight + hotel or car rental with additional travel services such as attraction tickets or restaurant reservations. OTAs also tend to have more up-to-date information and more promotional offerings than traditional travel agencies.
However, there are some drawbacks to using an OTA. For example, many people have experienced the frustration of finding a great deal on a trip only to discover that their price is subject to change after booking. This is because OTAs often charge extra fees or taxes that aren’t disclosed upfront. Additionally, customers have reported that OTAs frequently add hidden costs during the checkout process.
For hoteliers, listing on an OTA is important because it allows them to reach a large and diverse audience. However, it’s important to remember that OTAs typically take a commission on each booking. This can make them a less cost-effective distribution channel than your own website.
If you want to gain more bookings from your own website, it’s important to implement effective SEO strategies. This includes optimizing your site for mobile devices, improving the user experience, and providing excellent customer support.
In addition, a strong SEO strategy will help you to rank higher on search engine results pages. This will drive more traffic to your website and increase the chances of conversions.
Having a strong social media presence can also be extremely beneficial. Sharing your content on a regular basis will help you to increase visibility, boost engagement, and build brand awareness. Additionally, a strong social media presence can also encourage users to share your content with their friends and followers, which can lead to increased exposure and potential bookings.
In addition to a strong digital marketing strategy, it’s important to regularly track and analyze your performance with online travel agency analytics tools. This will allow you to identify and address issues as they arise. It’s also essential to remain flexible and adaptable to changing trends in the industry. For example, a recent study by Skift found that people are increasingly booking local experiences over larger attractions. This trend is likely to continue in the coming years. For this reason, it’s important to ensure that you’re listed on popular OTAs such as GetYourGuide, Viator, and Expedia Local Expert. These OTAs cover more than 2,500 destinations, making them a great place to promote your tours and activities.