1.Don’t forecast by channel.
Unconstrained forecasting is the mathematical process of estimating how many rooms you would have sold if your property had unlimited inventory. Doing this type of forecasting by channel reveals two things. First, it reveals the number of rooms to commit to online sales and second, the number to sell via traditional channels. Not forecasting will make you treat all of your channels the same. Therefore, you will probably leave them all open. This means that during high demand days, when the commissions you are paying are at their peak, you will offer your highly valuable inventory through less profitable channels when you don’t have to. If you are not budgeting, forecasting and incentivizing your bookings by channel, then you are definitely leaving your money on the OTA’s table.
2.Show an inflated rate with a big discount.
By doing this, you have just promoted the OTA as the place to get the best deals for your property. This makes it highly unlikely that a potential guest will leave the OTA site in order to book directly through you. Not to mention that there are now volumes of research proving that showing a discount makes your brand look “discount”. This plays directly into the OTA’s business model where they promote the concept that hotels are a commodity to be traded solely on price. They know that when a property is not perceived as a commodity, the guest is much more likely to book directly.
3.Sell everywhere and anywhere.
While many smaller brands seem to think that more is better, the top hotel brands do not sell through as many OTAs as possible. They are not in the business of driving traffic and revenue away from their sites into the hands of the newest OTA-of-the-month. They have figured out that their most profitable guests are highly unlikely to book through websites that start with the word “cheap”.
4.Sell cheaper on the OTAs.
60-90% of hotels consistently sell their rooms cheaper on OTAs than they do on their own site. This is “Reverse Rate Parity”. Can anyone please share with me the logic of driving traffic and revenue away from your own website other than making sure that the OTA bullies don’t threaten to cut you off for parity issues?