19 Ways How OTAs and Travel Agencies Can Increase Profits
As of 2019, there were over 400 Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) worldwide, including all OTA’s, meta-search websites, hostel booking sites, vacation homes booking sites, group booking sites, business travel websites and many more. Needless to say, you are up against some serious competition.
So how can you gain an edge? What can you do to increase profitability on lower volumes?We put together a detailed list of applicable actions you can take, starting now.
1. Focus on a niche
Don´t try to fight the Goliaths of our industry. Focus on a niche that is not heavily exploited, such as LGBT travel, scuba diving vacations, bird watching travel and more. This will also allow you to optimize for niche travel terms with little competition and gain free traffic.
2. Simple, esthetic homepage and booking engine
Though competing head to head with the industry leaders is not wise, these major players have set the tone and standard for an optimal booking experience. Design your homepage and booking engine to be as straight forward, esthetic and simple as possible.
3. Improve profitability on EXISTING reservations
OTAs and travel agencies tend to search for prices once the customer submits a request, either online or in shop. However, once they sell the reservation, the price searching stops.
Price drops continue to occur AFTER you sell a hotel, and by not re-shopping your reservation, travel companies are leaving a lot of money on the table.
Pruvo Revenue Maker helps hotel sellers capitalize on price drops that occur after they sell the hotel and re-book a cheaper offer once a better price is available for the exact same room. By doing so, travel companies using Pruvo Revenue Maker increase their profitability by 36% on average.
4. Up-sell or include high value, low cost services
What can you give your customer that provides more value for what they paid for? Collaborate with local restaurants and business in different localities to provide special discounted rates for your customers. Better yet, offer them a “no-brainer” low cost service like luggage tracking.
5. Customer retention is cheaper than customer acquisition
A worldwide travel business requires support 24/7. Regardless of how technology has advanced over the years, incidents occur, especially when dealing with third party booking sites.
If your customer encounters a problem with any of the services you sold him, they will expect an immediate solution. If no one is available to give him an immediate solution, not only will they cease to be your customer, but they will spread the word and notify everyone they can about their negative experience with your company once problems occurred.
Consider implementing an AI-driven chatbot, or, hire freelancers in Latin America & Asia to provide you with around the clock customer service for an affordable price.
6. Retarget checkout page abandoners
It’s much more cost efficient to spend ad dollars on re-engaging website visitors who abandoned the checkout page rather than spending money to drive traffic to your site.
7. Increase customer loyalty using cash back credit
Nothing better than repeat business. By increasing your net profit by 5% on average on hotel reservations using Pruvo Revenue Maker, you can choose to share some of the savings as travel credit for your customers to use for future travels.
8. Make sure your website is mobile friendly Depending on the region, at least 20% of travel bookings are made via mobile. Make sure your entire booking experience is mobile responsive. 9. Offer package deals and increase profit when the price drops Clustering flights and hotels, or hotels and car rentals allow you to offer attractive, below market prices to attract customers. Using Pruvo Revenue Maker will allow you to re-book cheaper offers for the hotel segment of the package deal and increase revenue post-booking. 10. Create a referral program Booking.com’s market share continues to grow, in part, thanks to their generous referral program, which benefits both the inviter and the invitee. Though you shouldn’t necessarily try to compete with Booking.com’s payout, search for creative ways to implement the same two way benefit concept for your company. .
11. Generate “hotel revenue” from your “flight only” customers
Leisure travel sellers struggle with up-selling hotels to their flight customers. But what if you could generate new revenues by offering your “flight only” customers a unique service that helps them save money on hotels they ALREADY booked elsewhere? Pruvo is helping travel companies worldwide monetize customers who booked hotels elsewhere and can do the same for your company. 12. Create a flight deal newsletter or Facebook page
Though this practice is not commonly used by OTAs, it should be. Flight deal newsletters like Scott’s Cheap Flights or Facebook flight deal pages like Exploradores de Viajes have very high organic engagement. Though this practice may not convert immediately into sales, it can strengthen your brand and drive you A LOT of free, high intent traffic.
13. Dynamic Facebook Ads
When retargeting customers who performed certain actions on your website, you can show them highly relevant ads based on the destination or hotel they searched for.
14. Run A/B testing on the color of call to action buttons
Neuro-marketing studies show that consumer behavior can change based on color. Although there is no “right color” for call to action buttons, it´s best to test different colors to see which color works best with your audience.
15. Add an exit intent pop up to your site
Increase probability of website visitors becoming customers by implementing a simple exit intent pop up offer that will entice your customers to leave their email in exchange for a valued gift (coupon, special offer etc).
16. Collaborate and reduce customer acquisition costs Find companies in the industry that are not potential competitors and think of a bilateral collaboration that will help you both reduce customer acquisition costs. 17. Ask for reviews
Once your customer returned from their trip, reach out to them and request a review. You might want to test asking them first to share with you what they feel you can improve in your service, and then ask for the review. Try to concentrate all the reviews on Trip Advisor, Trust Pilot or Facebook.
18. Connect your OTA to meta-searches
Meta-searches both for flights and hotels attract a lot of traffic. If your fares are competitive, hook up to a few meta-searches and test the customer acquisition cost from that channel.
19. Offer an upgrade for a minimal fee
If you use Pruvo Revenue Maker, we also search for upgraded rooms that have a lower price than your originally booked hotel. If Pruvo can re-book an upgraded room for a lower price, why not capitalize on both ends? Reach out to your customer and ask them if they want to pay an extra amount (ideally a “no brainer” amount) to upgrade their room. This way, you will increase your profit by lowering your purchase price and by increasing the sales price.
Conclusion There are plenty of tools and techniques you can apply to increase profits. While some can be done on your own, others might require integrating with a no risk solution like Pruvo Revenue Maker, which will help you generate increased profits from day one.