Articles: Online Travel Agents (OTAs)

Users like to Talk to a Human

An article in Accom news talks about how you can capitalise on what people don’t like about OTA’s (Online Travel Agents like

Essentially it says that what people do not like about OTA’s is the lack of personal touch.

And how if you offer that personal touch you are more than likely going to have more people book directly with you (and save that commission most of you hate paying). That may mean by phone or email correspondence. But the experience for the client still needs to be at least adequate, and preferably exceptional. Continue reading

Airbnb / Expedia

Airbnb’s room night numbers have doubled in their 3rd quarter of the financial year to 23.8 million nights!

Airbnb has made a huge impact on the accommodation sector over recent time.

Expedia seems to have decided that they need to take them on and have recently bought rival organisation, HomeAway.

The international HomeAway portfolio includes Bookabach in NZ.

It also includes, and in the United States; and in the United Kingdom; in Germany; and in France; and in Spain; in Brazil; and in Australia; in New Zealand, and Asia Pacific short-term rental site,

With the impact of Airbnb and Google entering the OTA market, the way Accommodation providers do business is likely to keep constantly changing. Expedia could be taking the Airbnb model even more to the masses although apparently there are significant technological challenges for them to overcome first.

Google becoming an OTA

Google are about to take on OTA’s with their own commission based ad programme (instead of just pay per click like Adwords.)

While this has been predicted for some time, it will most likely change the OTA market significantly. Google have trialed this option and apparently found that it generates more revenue for them than Adwords.

To date the other OTA’s have relied on dominating Google results. Google taking them on directly is likely to cause a pretty big shake-up for organisations like and Expedia.

Read the article at


Online Travel Agents – OTA’s

For those of you in the accommodation business, the changing shape of online bookings has been a concern for some time.

Last year when we visited clients and other people there was great concern about the amount of commissions paid to sites like A bit of a sense of panic!

We have recently also had a number of meetings and sense a change in the mood from last year. Yes, people are still concerned that they are paying large amounts of commission to OTAs. But there seems to have been a maturing of attitudes to this and acceptance that this is just the way the market is now.

Now people are more accepting that if they are paying commissions it actually means confirmed business and that online bookings are often easier than walk-ins who want to look around first.

Also, many are coming up with creative ways to encourage direct bookings without violating price parity rules that some of the OTA’s have.

Some have dropped their Google AdWords campaigns – why bid to compete with the large OTA’s like for top spot if your property is coming up in their Adwords anyhow? Let them spend the money to promote you. They have much deeper pockets than you.

And we know of one site that has a “price ticker” showing the OTA prices versus the direct booking price which encourages direct booking because it shows clearly that the direct booking rate is the best price (or equal to it).

At the end of the day many of the bookers look at the OTA listing as well as visit your site – you then just need to convince them to book direct. Value added offers can help achieve that. If you are clever, you can do that without breaking price parity rules.

But check out our article about Google becoming an OTA to see what shakeup is coming soon.