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Vacation Rentals and OTAs from the property owner's point of view

2015-04-23

Most hoteliers think working with OTAs (online travel agencies) is like fighting with a double-edged sword. In reality that’s … true. However no hotel should avoid cooperating with big OTAs as they dominate search engine results pages for most popular searches (hotel in LA, hotel in NY, etc). OTAs are big and they almost entirely dominate the online Hospitality Market. According to a recent Forbes Article Expedia, Priceline (Booking.com), Orbitz Worldwide and Travelocity alone control about 95% of the U.S. OTA market.

What about vacation rentals?

Of course AirBnB and HomeAway are the first two partners to consider, and selling directly from your official website is the holy grail, but sometimes it’s not enough. That’s where many vacation rental owners turn to Online Travel Agencies. Most travelers will simply search for a hotel in their chosen city and will land on the OTA websites, so not being listed there means you will not be able to reach those customers easily.

So what are the OTAs?

OTAs are web platforms that collect availability and price information from Hotels and other accommodation providers around the globe and give the internet user a chance to choose a place to stay among 100s of different properties, compare the prices, amenities, view high quality photos and more. They are a mediator between the accommodation provider and the prospective guest / user. 

Unlike Airbnb and Homeaway they do not charge the customer a service fee or are subscription based, instead they ask for commission.

Listing on OTAs

First of all if you are thinking about working with an OTA be prepared to be paying high commissions.

You should also be aware that if you are an OTA listed property and you've had an overbooking then the OTA will ask you to provide the guest with a comparable or better apartment, without charging them more than what you've agreed on. 

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