The significance of quantifying the Hotel-OTA hidden costs for hotels keeps on surfacing from time to time. Earlier this year, an analysis stressed that many hoteliers are becoming addicted to OTAs. More recently, another analysis highlighted that listings on third-party sites increase bookings on a hotel’s own website (for each reservation at the OTA, 3 to 9 reservations at the brand’s website are directly influenced by listing at the OTA). The magnitude of the billboard effect indicates the effectiveness of OTAs in marketing to consumers and educating them on product assortment and characteristics. Additionally, the billboard effect leads to an effective decrease in the cost of OTA transactions.. So what should one make of the whole reliance on OTAs? Paul King, director of Revenue Optimization EMEA for Sabre Hospitality Solutions, says: “I agree that if hotels truly allowed these commissions to hit the P&L then they might stop and think about the value of certain OTAs to their business and revenue. Some hotels have become very reliant on OTA’s – offering rooms on these sites is easy and doing so offers hotels some built in marketing and easier sales opportunities.” “However, where hotels lose out with OTAs is not only in the sometimes tremendous commissions they pay, but they’re also losing the opportunity to segment and better target their customers, as well as fully merchandise their properties from all angles,” Kind told EyeforTravel’s Ritesh Gupta in an interview. “Hoteliers need to think outside the box to be able to create a mix that works for their business. OTA’s should be a part of the overall strategy, but never dictate what business the hotel takes in order to meet its targets.” In this context, one needs to ensure that the Internet strategy is in order. Hotel websites need to be up-to-date, easy to navigate, search engine optimised and possess a user-friendly booking engine. Equally important is to gauge what should today’s hotel website look like especially considering that today’s consumer is tweeting, posting, texting, emailing, communicating with friends via Facebook and Twitter, and commenting, often in real-time. Get the full story at EyeForTravel