The Lodging Leaders Podcast: Powerful Business Strategies for Hotel Professionals

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Lodging Leaders brings together the best and brightest minds of the hotel industry to share their stories, insights and actionable advice. Each week, LodgingMetrics.com founder and entrepreneur Jon Albano interviews inspiring hoteliers and leading industry professionals that have produced amazing results to help you maximize profits, scale your portfolio, protect your investment, and so much more. Let the collective intelligence of the hotel industry lead you to better results.

The Lodging Leaders Podcast: Powerful Business Strategies for Hotel Professionals navigateright Episode

009 | OTAs – The Basics, Tools and Strategies with Expedia’s Adam Anderson

Adam Anderson is the Managing Director of Industry Relations at Expedia, Inc. - one of the largest online travel companies in the world - owners of the consumer brands Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, Travelocity.com, Trivago.com and several other international travel sites. Adam heads up Expedia's B2B marketing and communications practice focused on hotel industry partners including more than 435,000 hotels in Expedia's inventory, with special strategic focus on North America, Europe, Latin America, and Oceania. His responsibilities include strategic engagement with hotel owners, ownership groups, and management companies, as well as market research, communications, speaking engagements and industry public relations. Background: Adam's career in marketing and PR is largely in “tech” companies which set him up for success with Expedia. Beginning with Dolby Laboratories, Adam was PR Manager for more than 5 years before moving on to Microsoft where he continued as PR Manager and ultimately Senior Product Manager for Windows. In 2009, Adam transitioned to Expedia as Director of Public Relations, then Director of Global Communications, and he's lead Expedia's Industry Relations for the last several years. It seems that these days, the primary way we (consumers) arrange our travel plans is through Online Travel Agencies (OTA’s). For the hoteliers, this world is quite overwhelming. In this episode, we’re going to address and debunk the myths, misinformation, and misconceptions out there about OTA’s and provide Hoteliers with the information they need so that they may maximize the opportunities these outlets potentially provide. So, what are OTA’s? OTA’s are global travel sites designed to drive massive amounts of traffic and conversions for hotel registrations, car rentals, flights, etc. In exchange for this service, these distribution channels get a commission for the fees consumers pay. For the hotelier, relationships with OTA’s increases the number of prospects that can see their listing. OTA’s are a marketing channel for exposure and awareness regarding a hotel’s offering. It is very widespread and can be viewed all over the world reaching people who would not otherwise see your hotel. There’s also benefit for the consumer (guest) in terms of the rating aspect that comes into play on OTA websites. OTA sites enable people to leave verified reviews and ratings. This benefits the customer and hotelier respectively by preventing fraud and protecting integrity. And let’s not forget about how including several high quality photos for your property's listing also reflects integrity. What’s the process for Hoteliers in becoming affiliated with an OTA? The hotel creates an account with the OTA, signs a contract, adds a description of their property, upload several photos, defines their pricing and commits inventory. This can be done manually, or with tools and technologies that integrate with the hotel's reservation system that keep your information accurate and in real time. There are also tools for competition on rates and tools to helps with promotion. Myths around OTA’s “Hotels should reduce their reliance on hotel bookings. Hoteliers are afraid of the high commissions OTA’s charge." An OTA is a tool in a toolbox - meaning, OTA's provide an opportunity ... it is up to the Hotelier to determine if using an OTA makes sense. OTA’s provide a means and an expertise to attract customers from all over the world. There’s also significant data to support the notion that many people shopping for hotels find the property on an OTA first, then choose to book directly (AKA the "Billboard Effect"). This brings in demand to OTA’s creating competitive rates for the customer. “People argue that Expedia is getting more expensive” Adam challenges this myth. Expedia’s compensation rates have actually been decreasing which is making them more and more affordable.