Let's call it what it is: - OTA customers are NOT your customers. You do not have them on your database for repeat marketing opportunities, and they are not a part of your loyalty marketing program. The motivation and drive for customers to choose your property through an OTA may not be the same as those for someone who came directly through your website, a traditional travel agency recommendation, or word of mouth referral. OTA consumers most probably have less loyalty to you and a different set of expectations. - OTA commissions are high. Traditional travel agents are generally 10%, while OTAs are often 25-30%. In days where every dollar is precious, this commission level is an important consideration, especially for independent hotels where there's no corporate backbone to lean against. As well, you cannot equate marketing fees levied by a chain/flag to this, as chains give back to the individual property through extensive branding campaigns, compounded over years of marketing activities. - OTAs level the playing field. More than that, they scorch the earth! All that work you did in branding and creating points of differentiation for your property go by the wayside. Your hotel's display within the OTA site is compressed into the exact same physical space as everyone else on the site. Our brains don't process text the same way we do color photography and themed menu displays (like what appears on a hotel's own website). As such, there's not enough visual distinction for customers to remember or differentiate your property versus the next one on the list. - OTAs' primary goal is to secure reservations. The hotel a consumer selects is not really their primary concern. It's a large-scale volume business, whether your boutique property is selling or not. They want your inventory - even at a higher price - so that they can sell rooms and hotel-air packages. That's how they make their money. Anytime a consumer clicks through and books through a hotel website, it counts as a loss to them. In fact, everything about the OTAs' websites is designed to motivate you to book through them. - OTAs are still all about price. Despite what might be stated to the contrary, the OTAs generate customers primarily on the basis of providing the broadest distribution at the lowest price. Just look at most OTAs advertising strategies: they focus on offering the customer the best price, not necessarily the best travel experience, which is what should be touted by your property. Get the full story at LMA Communications