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Why, oh why, oh why….

Why do we do it?  Why do we give more and more control to the OTA’s and not learn to manage these relationships.

As I have mentioned time and time again, I am not against OTA’s, in fact I think they are a fantastic way to market and sell your hotel in markets you could never afford to reach.  They don’t play fair – you know that but then again, why are we not clinging to the last pieces of control that we do have.


Simple I know, but like complaining that your child is over-weight whilst still buying cakes and sweets, there is no point complaining about high commission cheques if you continue to give OTA’s all of your availability. Channel Managers that are interfaced to your PMS are fantastic but often hotels set them up and leave them without realising that allowing a Channel Manger to see all of your availability means that expensive OTA’s have access to your full availability if you aren’t controlling it.  If you have a Channel Manager, make sure that you know when to put those controls in place.

Even if you don’t have a Channel Manager which is linked to your PMS, who is managing your availability and how? OTA’s can only book rooms that you give them, so manage your availability with the same gusto that you manage your rates and make sure you understand when you need OTA business and when you don’t.  If you have a Revenue Management system in place this should do this for you but if not, then make sure you understand booking trends and booking pace for ALL channels. When do you need to release rooms and when do you need to restrict and of course the place to make the most profitability is when you are clever and manage this far in advance.  What are your trends a year or 180 days in advance?  No point in waiting until 7 days out and then closing… manage each channel and at the very least, put Trigger Points in place that will at lease alert you to an action and allow you to restrict.

Room Types

You don’t need to give an OTA all of your room types.  Depending on your business, you can either offload some of your more basic rooms to these channels or perhaps keep the standard rooms for yourself so you have a better price point to advertise and sell only your Deluxe through the OTA’s.  No matter what you chose to do, you need to manage it.

The Booking Button

Why, oh why, oh why would a hotelier add this to their site? To be honest, I totally understand it if you are a B&B or Guest House as the bookings through Booking Button are commission free but for hotels 0% of nothing is nothing. I would rather pay 4% to get a booking through my own brand site that I control and that understands how to maximise conversion, rather than relying on an aggressive third party to bring in bookings through my own site.

Revenue Management

Now here is the real cherry on the cake of control.  A year or so ago, Booking.com bought Price Match.  Price Match was a revenue start-up and offered fairly limited revenue management.  They relied heavily on recommending rates for your hotel based mainly on what your competitors are selling – a practice we all know if fool-hardy. But what Price Match had was integrations to Property Management Systems.  Booking.com are about to make a huge push to offer their new Revenue Management tool and are selling this that they can offer a rate management solution, releasing you from the stress of trying to come up with a profitable selling strategy.

However, I ask you to consider if you are comfortable openly giving access to Booking.com to all of your data?  With these interfaces they can see everything and I mean everything about your business. Your data should be yours and yours alone and only passed to companies who are working with you, not against you.

Commissions are dropping all over the place as Expedia and Booking.com continue to fight and throw their toys out of the pram.  I ask you only to consider the control you give these OTA’s (commission is actually secondary) after all, you only pay commission on the amount of control you have given away.  Play the game and play it smart

(and for all things revenue, ask@rightrevenue.wpengine.com)