How Experience Providers Can Win Against OTAs

Regardless of if you decide to work with OTAs or not, here are some ways you can drive more direct bookings.

How Experience Providers Can Win Against OTAs
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How Experience Providers Can Win Against OTAs | Beyonk Blog
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Regardless of if you decide to work with OTAs or not, here are some ways you can drive more direct bookings.

What are direct vs indirect bookings?

Simply put, direct bookings are reservations made via your company website, whilst indirect bookings are reservations made via online travel agents (OTAs).
We’d all like to believe direct bookings are the most profitable way of selling tickets, however this isn’t always the case. Many businesses, small, medium and large rely on OTAs and partners to help increase their brand awareness and allow customers to make all of their travel arrangements on a single website.
Regardless of if you decide to work with OTAs or not, here are some ways you can drive more direct bookings.

Change your pricing strategy

We often see experience providers worrying about OTAs becoming their biggest competitors even when they’re choosing to sell through them.
Customers will go with what’s convenient and they’re likely to see an OTAs website first before yours due to Google prioritising those big companies before independent providers like yourself.
One way you can look to increase direct bookings is by increasing ticket prices on OTA websites and even differing the experience offering slightly so you can start to promote that direct bookings will provide customers a discount and more for their money. This way you don’t lose money by reducing prices on your own website, and you’re giving customers an incentive to click through to your website to make a purchase instead. Something they’re likely to remember for any repeat visits too.
Over 70% of bookings are made within 48 hours of a particular event or attraction. Taking this into account, you can look to advertise with local partners in order to ensure your experiences are highly visible in the local market where you’re more likely to gain interest.

Build on your SEO

Look to increase your website's ranking on search engines for specific long-tail keywords such as ‘museums in Stoke on Trent’. Rather than writing content broadly, the more specific you can be about location and activity, the more likely you are to reach the first page on Google.
You’ll be competing with a large number of companies if you were trying to rank for ‘museums in Staffordshire’ but being specific about the city, town or village you reside in increases your chances of ranking.
You can gain more relevance and brand authority by asking local websites to link to you, particularly hotels who might be interested in recommending your experience to their customers, which benefits both companies.

Customer reviews

A general piece of marketing advice is to look at increasing your customer reviews. One of the ways you can go about this is by simply asking customers to do so before they leave your site. You can also use your ‘thank you for visiting’ emails to ask for reviews and set them to send within a few hours of their visit when they’re more likely to give you a review.
Posting a monthly reminder on your social media channels can also prompt visitors who forgot to write a review when they're already relaxing at home and already browsing through their news feed.
Another good way to increase direct bookings is by using Google Adwords to advertise for your brand name. That way you’ll limit any bookings for your brand being captured through OTAs, and you’ll have a cheaper cost per click (CPC) for own-branded words.

Research the competition

Do some research into your competitors to see how they are pricing similar experiences and see what exactly it is they’re offering. Adding a little something extra to your experience can make all the difference in this competitive market.
Would you like to hear more about how to increase your online presence and optimise the booking journey for your customers? Book a free online consultation with us to learn more.
Jennie Byrne

Written by

Jennie Byrne

Head of Content