No property manager enjoys the commissions they have to pay to OTAs and property listing sites, but we all seek the visibility they bring for our rentals. In an ideal world, guests could find your accommodation directly, pay less and leave better reviews. However, we’re not living in a perfect world, at least not yet. You need to advertise your short term rentals on OTAs to widen your reach, especially if you’ve just started working in the hospitality industry. But with hundreds of OTAs out there, what factors should you consider when choosing the best OTAs to advertise your property on?
You have to put your property on those that can bring you the most number of guests annually while being financially advantageous. So, there are a number of factors you have to be aware of such as which one is the best for your property’s target market.
Read this blog post to the end to get some handy information on the boxes you need to tick before choosing the best OTAs to advertise your vacation rental or serviced accommodation on.
The Overall Cost of an OTA
Some OTAs have higher commission rates but more visitors, some others are totally the opposite. But when it comes to figuring out the overall cost of an OTA, you should not only be thinking about the commission you have to pay per booking but pay attention to the customers they offer, in terms of both number and loyalty. People who search for different OTAs have different needs and characteristics. You want the guests that, in return for good service, will be back over and over again. That’s the lifetime value of a customer coming from an OTA.
Choose the Best OTAs to Work with Based On Property Type
Let’s clarify this statement with an example: Airbnb suits solo travellers, while Expedia is mostly used for booking luxury properties and 5-star hotels. So, if you own a property that comes complete with all one needs for luxury accommodation, it’s not so wise to start showcasing your property on Airbnb.
Therefore, as different OTAs are mostly used for advertising different properties, not every OTA will suit yours. What is the category of your vacation rental? What amenities do you offer? You have to think about all of these before starting to work with any OTA.
Who’s Your Target Market When Choosing the Best OTAs to Advertise Your Property on
Most OTAs tend to aim for a particular type of traveller. What’s the benefit of that? It not only helps travellers to book the accommodation they need swiftly but also gives short term rental owners to market their properties where they’re actually looked for.
As the owner of your business, no one can decide what type of guests you want to attract better than yourself.
If you’ve already thought about your target market, then take a look at the following list as it includes information on the OTAs that may work for you.
Bed & Breakfasts
Who usually books bed & breakfasts? Well, mostly couples looking for romantic getaways and adventurous travellers seeking unique experiences.
As B&Bs usually yield smaller profit margins, it is wise to advertise your B&B on OTAs that have lower commissions like Bedandbreakfast.com, hotels.com, Airbnb and FlipKey.
In comparison to other OTAs, you don’t need to pay a lot to these sites, but you can and precisely target your audience type. The other OTAs may have higher commissions but their reach makes them an important advertising medium.
You might also want to take a look at Expedia, Booking.com, Travelocity, Agoda and TripAdvisor. They charge higher commission rates, but their reach is also higher to an extent that may make up for the difference.
What distinguishes your audience? They’re adventurous- mostly backpackers and travellers- and usually travelling with small budgets in large groups.
So, you need to work with OTAs with low commissions and favourites of your target market.
The big ones in this category are Hostelworld.com and hostels.com. You may also want to consider Gomio, which provides great backpacking information.
Guesthouses may be more expensive, but they’re shareable, which makes them quite affordable. Couples, families and large groups are the audiences most looking for guesthouses for a short term stay.
TripAdvisor, Expedia, Travelocity, Agoda and Orbitz are more expensive, but their great reach makes them tempting for guesthouse owners. Besides, they’re perfect for advertising your property, especially in low seasons.
Moreover, if you want to reach out to a larger target market, Bedandbreakfast.com, Airbnb and hotels.com are also good mediums to consider for guesthouses.
Everything We Said about Choosing the Best OTAs to Advertise Your Property on
Although deciding on which OTAs to work with may seem a little difficult in the beginning, after a little research and data collection, it’ll be much easier to deal with. Remember, what matters the most is to fully understand your property’s category, amenities and target market. After clarifying that for yourself, you can pick the right OTAs.
As you’ve read in this blog post, some OTAs get more commissions, but instead offer more reach. In the beginning, you might come back and forth between different platforms, but it’ll be easier after some time. If you set your target market correctly from the beginning and choose the OTAs with regards to that, you’ll have a shorter way to go.
But if you think it’s difficult for you to manage these aspects of your business yourself, you can always ask for property management companies’ help. It may cost more in the beginning, but as it may prevent you from making big mistakes, it’ll eventually result in more profit and less loss of money.
If you think you need help in managing your property, just take a look at our packages. Also, don’t worry about listing your property on suitable OTAs as part of our job is to list your hotel or vacation rental on websites like Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and many more. Our team of specialists have been working in the industry for many years and know which ones fit your business the best.