Are you a hotel owner and get most of your reservation through Booking.com? Does this Online Travel Agency (OTA) represent 80% or more of your revenue? This is a risky strategy, but it can be improved by diversification.
Being present on several OTAs (Booking, Expedia, hotels.com)
- Will drive more traffic and bookings to your hotel.
- Will reduce the risk of dependency towards one OTA. What if suddenly your listing is removed (even temporary)?
- Will allow you to reach new markets. Each OTA is more know on its specific markets (Expedia: US, Ctrip, Agoda: Asia).
The are a lot of OTAs (this guy registered 450 of them…) But you should stick to the most know ones. Here are a few stats from 2014 to make up your mind. I don’t think it changed that much since then.
And the nightmare starts
Once you are present on a couple of platforms, it become a nightmare to keep them all up to date. The risk of double booking is high. And the time to keep the data up to date is just a waste of resource. That’s why (one of the reasons) you need a Property Management System.
What is a Property Management System?
I made you this illustration to show you how the whole system works.
The checklist: choose a PMS and a channel manager.
With this in mind, it is now time make a choice from hundreds of options. Note that usually the channel manager comes together in bundle with the PMS. I’ve setup a list of questions you should ask yourself before making a final decision.
- Is the interface available in your language?
- Is there are iPhone/iPad App to do the checkins?
- Is it easy to use?
- Is it in the Cloud? Can I access it from everywhere without installing a software on my device?
- How much is the “setup fee”?
- How much does it cost per year/month?
- Are there additional costs for example when you add a new OTA, a new room, etc?
- Is the calendar view easy to use?
- Can it produce invoices?
- Can I move/split/update bookings?
- Can you add items to your bookings (breakfast, minibar)?
- Can you check in/out guests?
- Is it possible to track conversions via Google Analytics easily (e-commerce tracking) ?
- Is the booking engine available in all the language of your website?
- Are there any commissions for each booking made via the engine?
- How many sites/OTAs is the channel manager able to be connected to?
- Which currency does the service offer?
- Can you customize the booking engine to your brand’s design?
- How does the communication sent out by the Booking Engine look like?
- Is the booking Engine responsive (mobile-friendly)?
Stats and reporting
- Do you get all the numbers you need?
- Can you see which OTA is performing the best?
- Is training included in the setup fee? Or will you how to pay additionally?
Lots of questions and I’m sure there are many more.
Where to start?
You could have a look that those services: Littlehotelier, SiteMinder or even a Swiss solution Base7Booking. Do you have other advices to make an even more “enlightened” choice? Would you recommend a certain PMS?
I can help you implement such a system for your own property. Recently I’ve worked for a Swiss hotel, helping them to improve their online presence and reputation.