During The Hotel Show in Dubai, general manager, Copthorne Hotel Dubai, Glenn Nobbs participated in a panel discussion at The Hospitality Leadership Forum (a central feature of the event), which investigated hoteliers’ relationships with online travel agents (OTA).
During the discussion, entitled ‘OTA’s & Hotelier: The Hotelier’s Perspective’, all participants pin-pointed OTAs as an important source of business for hotels, due to their ability to reach new guests and access new markets.
“They are an important part of our business,” said Nobbs. “We lean on OTAs when it comes to their knowledge because they hold key data and have tremendous worldwide reach and visibility that can get us into new markets that we may not otherwise be able to reach.
“However, we have direct control on the guest experience once they bring the customer to us so it’s our responsibility to manage that relationship and make sure the guest comes back directly to us through our brand’s website next time,” he added.
During the discussion, the panel pointed out that only about 30-35 per cent of total hotel bookings come from OTAs. Therefore, the emphasis remains on hotels’ sales teams and executive management to ensure that they correctly price and sell the remaining 65 per cent across other segments, in order to achieve their revenue targets.
“With dynamic rates now across wholesalers and travel agents, it is also very important that we ensure we price correctly at the right time and maintain price parity with all of our partners,” Nobbs noted.
During the session, it was also shared that exposure of OTAs can assist with boosting direct bookings due to the customer moving from an OTA to hotel brand site to complete the booking process once they have identified their preferred hotel.
“We just need to strategise continuously, learn from the available booking pattern information in the OTA’s extranet, and keep improving our guest review ranking to maximise our revenue potential on a daily basis,” Nobbs concluded.