Finding a balance

John Wagner George Sell Uploaded

Duncan Chappell's article on working with OTAs raises some interesting questions. Across the entire hospitality space, views on OTAs are extremely polarised. There is one camp that wastes no opportunity to berate them for what they see as high commission rates, SEO key word domination and all-round sharp practices.

In the OTAs' defence, following an investigation in to misleading selling practices by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the majority of them have agreed to change how they display information where needed and have signed up to the CMA's sector-wide principles. This includes not giving a false impression of a room's popularity and displaying the full cost of a room upfront.

Those of a more moderate view see OTAs as "a necessary evil" and work with them as best they can to sell small amounts of inventory, but some hotels have seen them as a silver bullet and become completely reliant on them.

In the serviced apartment industry we are fortunate that most operators haven't found themselves in the latter category - especially those that have a high level of corporate business through travel buyers, TMCs and agents, and therefore use OTAs for limited short term inventory only.

But it is easy - and tempting - to become over-reliant on OTAs. As Chappell says in his article, this can result in a lack of innovation in your sales processes, something that he suggests can be avoided by taking a number of actions internally. Click here to read more.



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