It makes sense for you to focus a lot of your marketing efforts on generating direct B&B bookings. While direct bookings are certainly beneficial, it is not realistic to expect that all of your bookings can be made directly on your website, on the phone, or via walk-in. Your B&B distribution strategy should include a variety of agents who can generate bookings amongst different market segments around the globe.
Online travel agents, or OTAs, are an important distribution channel, and here’s what you need to know about working with them:
OTAs can give you access to an endless number of travellers
Over the years, travellers have become dependent on OTAs to get information about the best places to stay and the most valuable deals available in their chosen destination. In fact, almost 20% of all online bookings are made through OTAs like Expedia and Viator.
When you partner with OTAs and allow them to list your B&B on their sites, you will gain access to the most motivated travellers from around the world. Without OTAs, you would likely not be able to reach these people.
OTAs will charge a commission per booking
One drawback to partnering with OTAs is they expect a commission every time they book one of your rooms. Unfortunately, this is the inevitable price you have to pay to get access to their strength of distribution. The commission rates may vary based on the OTA, but ultimately it will be worth it to invest in these services. Despite the commission rates, you will likely generate more revenue for your property because of the increase in bookings.
Some OTAs focus on specific regions or market segments
Your B&B distribution strategy should focus on creating partnerships with as many OTAs as possible. Each OTA captures the attention of a different traveller segment. For example, China is one of the most powerful outbound market segments in the world, and its travellers use Ctrip almost exclusively to find the latest deals on rooms for their upcoming vacations.
OTAs will allow your B&B to continue to grow
While there are both benefits and drawbacks to working with OTAs as part of your B&B distribution strategy, these online travel agents will help your brand to grow and expand. You will be able to develop a better online presence when you partner with OTAs, and you will be discovered by travellers who may not otherwise have known about your property. The steady increase in bookings will benefit your B&B in many different ways.
Developing an effective B&B distribution strategy is essential to maximising your bookings and increasing your brand recognition around the globe. You will want to make sure that the most powerful online travel agents in the industry are part of your distribution network. To do this, you need to have a channel manager in place that will provide OTAs with access to your live rates and availability.