What Every Hotelier Needs to Know: OTA Direct Connects
By Michael Miller Chief Technology Officer, EZYield, a TravelClick Company | August 19, 2012
The distribution landscape is getting more complex every day, with everyone having an opinion on what channels are the best and why. One of the hottest topics is the use of online travel agencies, or OTAs, and how they've emerged with creative strategies such as connecting potential guests directly to booking engines. One point is undisputed -- OTAs provide a strong marketing channel for a spectrum of operations, including independent brands and smaller properties. One of the real questions hoteliers are asking is if their operations can benefit from OTA direct connects and what the cost will be. The answer isn't always clear, and a few options need to be considered going forward.
First, let's define what exactly an OTA direct connection is. OTA direct connections provide a direct interface between the hotel supplier and the OTA booking websites such as Hotels.com, Expedia, Travelocity, Booking.com, and others. The integration provides a simple streamlined process for all distribution updates so hoteliers can minimize errors and labor costs for channel management.
One of the true key benefits of a direct connect is speed to market. Your freshest rates reach the market and are up for sale in the fastest and most accurate method possible. It provides the ability to be dynamic in the marketplace, and puts you in the position to be competitive at all times. Direct connects also provide the opportunity to process bookings in an automated fashion. This allows direct booking delivery to the integrated Property Management System or Central Reservations System (PMS/CRS), or technology partner, so hotels can yield their properties for maximum revenue. As a hotelier, you need to know exactly how many rooms are sold and available, and then adjust the rate based on that information. Without the direct connect automation, there may be reservations that need to be manually input from a number of sources, resulting in incorrect inventory assumptions and less than optimal rates.
Optimal Scenario for a Successful OTA Direct Connect
The circumstances that make an OTA direct connect a good choice can vary broadly depending on factors from the PMS/CRS provider to the in-house IT staff. Here are some factors that position your OTA direct connect for success:
• PMS/CRS Track Record