In the competitive Hospitality industry there is only one boss – the Guest, who has the ultimate power to take away your business and spend somewhere else. For any small accommodation business losing a guest to a competitor would be a nightmare. Providing guest service is not just about ensuring a decent night sleep, Right guest service starts even before the guest stays and lasts even after the guest departure.
While Brand Hotels having multiple advantages of brand, service, and location. Small independent Hotel business can increase their chances by exploring & investing in latest and effective tools that will deliver a great guest experience, ensuring repeated bookings and maintain your revenues.
How Online Travel Agents are changing the Game?
After the introduction of the Internet, The business started to focus on getting ranked higher and better position to gain maximum visibility. Customers most likely consider a business or service provider who is placed on top of Search results.
After Online Travel Agents like Expedia, Booking.com entered the market the online space becomes more competitive as the OTA sites started spending on SEO and started competing for better position. The OTA’s helped increase in booking and Hotels started gaining more visibility and competitive advantage over the business that didn’t believe or list in OTA’s. The fact is that OTA’s had the right content and funding they needed which helped them to compete efficiently and gain better business. So this is how the OTA’s started to change the game; Hotel business instead of improving their ranks in search engines they started to focus on getting better reviews and position better in OTA’s.
Direct reservations were not affected by OTA’s either. The guest still had the option to go direct to the Hotel’s website and make a reservation using Hotel’s Website Booking Engine; this allowed hotels to get bookings without paying a high amount of commission.
Is OTA and Meta-search Engines same?
There is always a misunderstanding between Hoteliers that meta-search engines and OTA’s are one and the same. To clear the confusion, Metasearch and OTA’s are two different online platforms which help Hotels increase their visibility and increase your booking & revenues.
How Does MetaSearch Work?
Meta Search Engine uses customer’s behavior data and then they compare various Hotels in the target area, Then the potential guests are re-directed to the Hotels website for booking. The good news is that they don’t charge hefty commission unlike OTA’s. The Meta Search engine works on Pay-Per-click model.
The important factor Metasearch is guests go-ahead by the guest reviews. Customers would share both good and bad experience which will ultimately affect how your Hotels name appears in Metasearch. For example, if you have a good rating in OTA sites the chances are that most online viewer (searchers) will be automatically re-directed to your Hotel website who will in-turn be your guest.
What are the key factors to consider?
To rank higher or to obtain a better position in OTA’s, there are few factors that need to be taken into consideration like better cancellation policies, Pricing, quality of content and more importantly the guest ratings & reviews.
Hotel business should focus on ROE (Return of experience) instead of ROI (Return on investment). We all know that the customer is the key to success in any business. Every aspect of marketing business is customer oriented. Today’s clients are left with more options and are more concerned with what value they get for the money spent rather than what brands promise. Hence it’s more important to satisfy the customer and get higher ratings which can actually double the visibility and bring more traffic to your property. It is also an important factor to consider that OTA’s allow filter that will allow its user to choose Hotels that have more rating; this means if you have a bad rating your Hotel can be ignored regardless of brand and reputation.
In today’s competitive Hospitality business it is crucial to understand the guest expectation. Which doesn’t mean hotel owners and managers can neglect all other factors that are important for increasing the direct bookings and revenue.
To conclude: To be successful in the Hotel business, Owners and Managers should efficiently manage their resources, invest wisely on technical tools that work better and improves the booking and allowing managers to spend their time with guest understanding their experience and increasing customer satisfaction levels.