Hotels will often allow themselves to become overly dependent on OTAs (also known as online travel agencies) to make their living and when this addiction starts to take place, hotels are left to suffer when guests who use OTA to book their stay do not return for a second visit.
A hotel needs to accept that a lack of return visits is not the fault of the consumer. Fortunately, there are a number of ways for hotels to shake free of their OTA addiction and turn an initial OTA customer who is merely seeking the lowest possible rate into someone who comes back again and again.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways that hotels can ensure the loyalty of their OTA customers going forward.
- Provide an Amazing Experience
The modern hotel guest has no shortage of options and when they are not offered the chance to have a truly enjoyable experience, this leads to discontent. They want an experience that is unlike any other and when they do not receive it, they are far more likely to take their business elsewhere the next time they book a trip. Take a closer look at your competitors and what they are doing in order to stick out. Have brainstorming sessions and think of creative ways to top their current methods.
- Focus on Service
Hotels that do not focus on customer service are far less likely to retain OTA customers over the long haul. A hotel must empower their managers and staff members and encourage them to create bonds with their guests. It should be made clear to their hotel’s staff that an OTA guest is to be treated with the same level of respect as a more traditional customer. Let them know more about the nuances of your hotel and provide them with upgrade options when possible.
- Obtain Their E-Mail Address
This is one of the most crucial aspects that hotels typically ignore when it comes to their OTA guests. If you are allowing your OTA guests to come and go without providing you with their e-mail address, you are missing out on a valuable revenue stream. The key is to provide them with a valid reason for doing so. Ask if you can send their receipt to the e-mail address or offer to send them your most exclusive offers.
- Lay Out The Benefits of a Direct Booking
The OTA guest needs to know more about the benefits of a direct booking and it is your responsibility to make these benefits clear to them. By having one of your front desk workers casually mentions the benefits that a direct booking can provide during check in and check out, you can inspire an OTA customer to bypass online agencies and contact your hotel directly.