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by Trey Duling

I have read quite a few articles on hotel-online.com about the difficulties hotels have with Online Travel Agents, and I have also read articles from industry experts that say hotels should limit their exposure with OTA’s. This got me thinking? Why would a hotel want to eliminate a pipeline of bookings no matter how big or how small that pipeline is? After all, aren’t we all on the same team? Isn’t the goal for OTA’s and hotels to put guests in hotel rooms. If a hotel general manager, sales manager, or revenue manager is looking to maximize their partnership with their OTA’s here a few things to keep in mind:

1)     Specials - If  you are going to run a special, either on your own site or with another OTA, offer that special to all your partners. After all, the main reason you run specials is because you want to increase the occupancy during a certain period of time. So why not offer the special to all your partners this way you can get the maximum benefit and also insure you hit your monthly goals.

2)     If you have rooms available keep the OTA’s open. You might have to raise the rate a little bit, but keep them open until you are completely sold out.  Communicate your strategy to he OTA’s and let them know that you are looking to be rewarded for your  loyalty to them during other times of the year when you really need them.

3)     Meetings - Constantly have meetings with your OTA partners and have these meeting centered on how you can both help each other out. During these meetings you should be exploring value added ideas that potential guest are looking for that will help you increase your occupancy and your  revenue.

4)     Know your partners - Get to know each of your partnering OTA’s and what markets they cater to. You should know which one of your OTA’s produce big numbers and which ones don’t. If an OTA is only producing rooms during high season then evaluate if you need them or not. After all the goal is for OTA’s and hotels to work together on a year round basis not just during high season.

All in all, hotels need to be selective when choosing which OTA’s to work with and which one’s not to. Before signing an agreement, the hotel representative should know how that particular OTA get business, what markets they go after, and who their clientele is. They should also be able to have a pretty good understanding of how much business the OTA should be able to produce on a year round basis, and the hotel representative should communicate these expectations to the OTA representative.

If the hotel does sign an agreement with an OTA, providing the OTA is living up to their end of the agreement, give the OTA enough time to produce. Remember it takes time for reservations to build up, as guest are not looking at a property today and showing up at the hotel tomorrow. If you are having consistent meetings with your OTA’s both parties will know where they stand in the relationship.

The key to any great relationship is communication.

About Orlandovacation.com

Trey Duling is the owner of Affordable Travel of Orlando, which has been helping clients plan their Orlando vacation for over thirty (30) years. He started the business with his father in 1991.Trey's love for travel started at a young age when he worked at his fathers hotels. As he grew older, he found that he loved the marketing efforts more than the actual ownership side of the hotel business.

Contact: Trey Duling

trey@orlandovacation.com / 407-377-1930 ext 7007

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