As a hotel marketer, I love to loathe them. They claim to be partners to hotels, but I claim they steal potential guests from hotels and they make a hotel’s marketing budget less efficient, among other things. As if hotels aren’t giving up enough by “partnering” with OTAs, hoteliers have to turn around and give the them 15%-20% of everything they’ve graciously contributed to the revenue pot.
In my little circle of colleagues, I’ve often referred to OTAs as drug dealers of sorts – giving a hotelier the good stuff in a quick pop of revenue when it’d otherwise be feeling the sting of emptiness and pain (that’s overdramatizing, but you get my point).
Truth is, as much as I want to loathe them, OTAs serve a purpose in the industry. They fill last minute demand for rooms that would have gone unsold. I get that. Their power can’t be denied.
But the quick fixes OTAs bring in short term revenue gains come at a cost to long term profitability for hoteliers.
And, no longer feeling like I have to hold my tongue because expressing my thoughts might bring potential undue negative ramifications to my employer (hey, drug dealers are scary), I’ve been looking for an outlet to share both what I know to be fact and to express my opinions on the subject now that I’m independent.
So when Brand Quarterly asked me to write an article for an upcoming issue, I was only too happy to put pen to paper.