OTAs – are they fair? Are they good value for the guest?
This debate has been bubbling away since Thomas Cook took 540 temperance campaigners the eleven miles from Leicester to Loughborough in 1841, and was paid a commission by the railway company.
It has been accelerated since online OTAs became the dominant force in travel, and there are very much two sides to the argument…
Those in favour:
And they include hotels who pay commission willingly and travellers themselves – say that the OTAs:
- Reduce the hotels’ own marketing costs
- Enable travellers to access the widest choice of accommodation
- Provide value to hotelier and traveller alike
Overwhelmingly in the hotel trade, say:
- Commissions ramp their rack rates to the detriment of guests
- That OTAs are unresponsive to their needs
- That users are unaware of the financial arrangements between them and the OTAs
What is undeniable is that the OTAs now have a stranglehold on the hotel booking market. And this is not entirely their own fault. It is possible that hotels have become over-reliant on OTAs (we meet hotels every week who have cut back on all their non-OTA marketing, even letting their own websites suffer).
Here’s a link to a quite remarkable blog post on a small hotel’s own website – we would very much like to hear your opinions – so feel free to comment below…