Expert advice on getting connected with OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) to fit your tour, activity, or attraction business
The world of travel looks vastly different than it did five years or even one year ago. With the list of ways to promote your tours only growing, it’s worth putting some thought into your distribution channels.
Are you getting your tours in front of the right people to convert them into customers? These days, three out of four travelers are making reservations through OTAs. Plan ahead for a sustainable future and follow these tips for working with the right OTAs for your particular tour, activity, or attraction business.
1. Plan for your business and reach new audiences
Think about your business, and also consider your audience. Make sure they’re in the right vertical and have the right reach to put your tours in front of the right customers who are ready to book. These are the kinds of questions you should be considering: Who is your tour tailored to? How do you hit that target audience with the right OTA? Do you typically have open availabilities on your tours and want to offer more ways for potential customers to book?
Once you have some of these questions lined up and answered, you can then dig into the specifics of which OTAs best fit your business objectives. For example, if you want to attract a global audience, look for OTAs with a global reach such as TripAdvisor, Expedia, or GetYourGuide. Want to reach people looking for water excursions? Get set up with Seabookings, specific for customers searching for water activities. Do you offer romantic sunset cruises? Doorstep is one option for expanding your reach to couples looking for date night ideas. You can get as broad or granular as you want with your connectivity partners if you envision a good fit.
2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
This tip is dependent on your business. Strategically think about what kind of tours you want to offer to an OTA. Identify your target audience and then consider what that audience is searching for on TripAdvisor. Keep in mind that OTAs are used in different ways to search. Reserve with Google was designed with last-minute in-destination bookings in mind. This connection is great for suppliers who are close to a major attraction to bring in travelers who will be spending extra time in the area; a common “near me” search term. Expanding your options with multiple carefully selected OTAs is great for targeting in-destination customers. Some OTAs have a cutoff for last-minute bookability, but because you are connected to an API you don’t need to worry about last-minute overbookings. This allows you to lower your online booking cutoff to target in-destination customers and get more bookings from your various booking sources.
3. Let the FareHarbor Connectivity team take care of you
Working with OTAs is a good aspect for your business strategy, but can be challenging to manage on an ongoing basis. That’s why FareHarbor has a dedicated team of Connectivity Specialists to ensure you’re set up for success across all of your OTA partners.
Not only do we take over the heavy lifting, but we also know which setups work best and love to offer our strategic advice. Consider us the experts. By working so closely with these OTAs on a daily basis, we feel confident in providing you a seamless connection with our partners from the start. Just let us know when your account is all set up with the OTA of your choice, then we will step in and take care of the connectivity process from start to finish, as well as provide ongoing support for your live API connections. Connect with a member of our team here!