Complex Made Simple

Online travel agents’ customers are more profitable guests for hoteliers

By: Paula de Keijzer, Senior Director Market Management Middle East, Africa, Greece & Turkey at Expedia Group

Online Travel Agents (OTAs) have been partnering with hotels for many years, focused on driving growth through investment in technology and helping to improve customer insight – with the ultimate aim of making the travel industry as frictionless for guests as possible.

For a long time, we’ve been concentrating on how we can best utilize our technology, data, and marketing to add value to the relationship and help hotels broaden their customer reach.

Read: Have Middle East hotels learned new ways to attract travelers?

In addition to these value-added incentives for hoteliers, recent research from Oxford Economics that analyzed nearly 100,000 trips* has revealed that guests that booked a trip via an OTA are likely more profitable to hoteliers than non-OTA customers.

The study examined Guest Spend analysis that covered 98,815 guest trips in the United States. It segmented OTA guests versus non-OTA guests and covered nearly all spend categories, such as dining and entertainment, while travelers were in trip.

REVEALED: Top destinations Middle East travelers are looking for

The results solidify a growing trend in the travel industry: OTA guests are bringing greater or equal value to hoteliers and destination market than any other travel segment.

On a per trip basis, including transportation, retail, dining, and entertainment, OTA guests spend 17% more on property than non-OTA guests. The Oxford data suggests the length of trip is helping to drive this spend premium with OTA guests staying approximately 8% longer than their non-OTA counterparts – making OTA guests a valuable customer for hoteliers.

As detailed, the Oxford Economics data suggests that OTA guests can and will spend significantly more on property than non-OTA guests and remain an integral and valuable part of the travel ecosystem. As the hotel industry powers forward in 2018, it’s critical for hotel owners and operators to utilize data and their lodging partners to understand the landscape of the ever-changing travel industry.

By strengthening partnerships that provide incremental insights into their business, owners and operators are putting success well within reach.

Read: This Arab country dominates the Muslim inbound and outbound travel market