By now, many hotels would no longer have any bookings without OTAs (Online Travel Agency). This is because the trend is clearly moving toward independent bookings via online platforms. Why is that? And is that a bad thing? And how do I manage to establish my own booking route with my hotel? We show you how to build up your own marketing in the long term.


Why am I dependent on OTAs?

More and more people book their hotel via the Internet and OTAs. Of course, this was not always the case. In the past, many more bookings were received over the phone, as well as travel agencies or tourist information offices.
It is easy to find out where the respective bookings come from and through which channel they were made. The costs for using these sales channels were also kept within limits and were manageable. Thus, it was possible to secure multiple channels and receive bookings through different channels.

However, in recent years, OTAs have established themselves as an inevitable platform to generate bookings. It is important to know how dependent I am on these OTAs. When do I receive too many bookings through OTAs and too few bookings through other channels?

My experience shows that if I get well over 60% of my total bookings through OTAs, I should build alternative ideas. A simple and controllable method is to build online marketing.
An easy calculation shows that we can place ads ourselves. Often OTAs like are already using these types of ads.


OTA Booking comission

For many hotels, it is a good idea to activate ads on the hotel’s proper name. Since OTAs often already do this, you can see how successful it is. For example, if it wasn’t profitable for, they wouldn’t bid on this keyword.

Where did my bookings come from before I started using OTAs?

In the past, most bookings were still received by telephone at the hotel in addition to travel agencies and tourist information offices, which arrange rooms within the city. However, these times are over and the demand for travel agencies or booking over the phone is decreasing year by year.

How do I get around the dependency on OTAs?

There are of course many ways to promote a hotel, in my last post I went into more detail about marketing. Here is the link to the article Online Marketing in the hotel industry – the CPB as a measurement.
First and foremost, we learned how important it is to do your own marketing. However, in my opinion, far too few hotels actually do marketing yet. In addition, they don’t have their numbers under control, which is a shame, as they could use simple methods to break free from dependency on OTAs.

Is additional marketing worthwhile?

In short, as a marketer, I would recommend marketing to any hotel.
How should I go about implementing my own marketing? You should pick up the people who are interested in your hotel directly.

Here’s an example: When a customer is looking for your hotel as accommodation, he intends to book an overnight stay and is actively searching for offers for your accommodation. This is your chance to direct the potential guest to your site. If the booker is led directly to your site, the probability of a booking is high. On average, the booking rate is between 2-4%. This means that for every 100 guests that visit your website, 2-4 guests will book an overnight stay.

Website visitor bookings
Look at your competitors, once marketing is done, it should be worth it. It is relatively easy to see this from Booking, as soon as Booking bids on keywords, it must be worthwhile for them.

There are also tools with which you can analyze your competition.
Here I can recommend bigspy and the Facebook Ads Library.

When setting up my ads, I proceed as follows: I classify my campaigns according to the extent to which the customer is willing to book a room.
Remarketing should be started in these first steps, as these are usually low-cost bookings. In addition, money has already been invested in a customer once, so it should result in a purchase. It’s also a way to keep showing regular customers pictures of your hotel and evoke positive memories.

Luck is when opportunity meets willingness

Fred Endrikat

happyhotel helps you to analyse your PMS system. With our tool your marketing campaigns will be more successful and in the long run you can generate more revenue.
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Based on my experience, every hotel should do its own marketing. At the beginning, lack of knowledge is certainly a big hurdle to start with, but this should not be an obstacle. Online marketing should not be neglected! An alternative would be to fill a 450€ position or to add a student assistant.

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