The “travel” niche for several years has been flanked by one to several types of consumers. An evolution that took hold somewhat shortly after the 1990s, when tour operators were cataloging, through their advertisements, as the best solution to go to a physical travel agency.
If we check the percentage of people who use offline one-to-one supports, we would see a significant reduction reflected in a less digitized audience.
Whereas, the skilled “do-it-yourself” traveler knows how to masterfully navigate the various portals available to him or her by promptly securing the location reservation at the best price on the market.
Otas: why use this channel?
The Ota (Online Travel Agency), best known in our territory as online travel agencies, has the first competitive advantage, compared to offline ones, of being able to guarantee a wider set of information and with an almost immediate time to update it.
The chance to build a long-lasting loyalty relationship with the tourist should be considered the pivotal point to reduce the risk that the same may be better identified within the offer proposed by other competitors; the OTAs put together in one basket humongous possibilities to satisfy both parties, proposing to the host the results of the search according to his needs, with prices, availability, and additional filters (proximity to the historic center), but also giving visibility to accommodations, compatible for the consumer, that otherwise would never have emerged from his search and providing reusable data in the future.
By using the visibility that Otas produces, it must later be converted into a direct booking, so to achieve this conversion, hoteliers can rely on better-known booking software such as Booking Engine to make offers, packages, and prices more competitive than Otas themselves, and create direct contact with the customer without the use of intermediaries.
This software not only focuses its many advantages on the provider, the host, in fact, will have immediate and facilitated access to make his or her reservation with the commitment to provide the best overnight rate (compared to the
online travel agencies) as well as other various services.
Staying is not just “a place to stay”
The tourism market offers endless solutions that can be applied to different categories of host searches; the most special needs are met not only through a high-quality service provided by the host himself, but also through additional packages that match the customer’s selected metrics.
Online agencies propose two macro-categories that cover both a more general side of the offer and a more vertical one.
In the first (general) one has one or more services, where the latter are identified both for a more functional aspect and a financial approach; thus, we talk about proposing combined solutions such as flight, lodging, car rental, or packages that include the whole of the three solutions (with the pecuniary look).
The second category (vertical) reflects a target audience with peculiar needs, which seeks in travel “more” than the canonical vacation, seeks the experience. This includes, in addition to the destination, adventures for the palate (ex.
tastings), outdoor activities (e.g., path through typical rural trails in the area), and physical/psychological benefits (e.g., spa or ayurvedic therapies).
In this branch, relevance is given to the experience the guest wants to have, thus offering services that can be identified based on the location selected by the guest; the destination itself can be a reason for choosing to visit a characteristic destination.
What are consumers looking for?
This is the most essential question to ask when we want to implement a strategy through OTAS, in view of what indicated above.
We can identify 3 customer stereotypes:
A. The incumbent customer, his needs are aimed at a bond he intends to build with his agent, therefore he turns to offline agencies to get advice on staying with an “all-inclusive” package and full-immersion program in the different activities organized by the assistant.
Commonly, a small percentage of this category includes consumers who are not active in digital and therefore prefer external support.
B. The financially-conscious customer, in this case, believes, with good reason, that consulting an OTA will provide him with the best offers that are always up-to-date with the various filters identified by the same; he knows that relying on a physical agent will be more expensive but manages to finalize his booking also thanks to the support that the
platforms make available to him;
C. The emotional customer. This is a tourist who is not looking for the cheapest prices in a trip, but can sniff out the bargain; he is not looking for shared accommodation but for services aimed at telling a story repeatedly,
because they still remember how enjoyable it was.
The most established operators in the Digital Travel world know that a specific strategy must be designed for these archetypes.
The program to be put in place is identified by acquiring data on the different targets and giving them the choice, using filters: type of accommodation, location, and distance from the center.
To provide a more comprehensive proposal, categories A and C, are escorted toward complementary services, cross-selling, or packages that identify travel “essentials.”
Not only the addition of a transfer that can escort the guest to the overnight destination, but also a continuous movement to identified travel stops to fully enjoy the adventure sought.
Where the human and time factors find room for error in an offline agency, in an OTA these are highly thinned due to the constant updating that prepares the software.
In conclusion, therefore, having a direct link with online travel agencies is an advantage in terms of exposure to the digital audience. On the other hand, the same to complete the process of converting the visitor into a customer retain a percentage to hoteliers; to be able to skip this step by using a good booking engine, you have the possibility, as seen above to convert a reservation directly on the website of the structure, thanks to SEO and SEM strategies to ensure a better ranking in Google searches.