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How to Mitigate Dependence on OTAs


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1. Make your own website experience fantastic. Sell your property and its virtues. If, per chance, a potential guest visits your site while also checking availabilities on his or her favorite OTA (not uncommon with new browser tabs, new browser windows or dual computer monitors), make sure you clearly identify a “best rate guarantee.” As well, I have seen several hoteliers offer unique non-monetary inducements to direct-shopping customers, such as breakfast or as-available room upgrades.

2. Never lose a customer through your reservation center. Sometimes a guest will phone instead of utilizing your website. Make sure you expertly handle phone reservations 24/7. When your reservation center closes for the night/weekend, rather than diverting calls to the front desk or an answering machine, hire a professional firm to take over so that customers will always have the opportunity to hear a reassuring, human voice on the other end. The voice channel typically represents 6% to 10% of business. Make it work for you.

3. Remember the traditional travel agent. This once critical segment now accounts for a much smaller slice of your business. However, they know their customers, who typically are booking better rooms and suites. They work hard for their 10% commission. Give them respect and help them with their unique customer requests, and this will be repaid with tremendous loyalty. And remember to pay those commissions promptly.

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