A whopping 83% of US adults prefers to book their travel online via their smartphone, so if you accept online bookings but haven’t explored the world of Online Travel Agencies (OTA’s), you need to tune in…
What is an OTA?
Ever heard of Booking.com, Airbnb, Spot2Nite or Dyrt? These are OTAs – Online Travel Agent (OTA) platforms where travel-hungry folks search, compare, and book accommodations. And here’s the exciting part: they attract loads of potential guests actively hunting for RV parks, cabins, glamping tents, tiny homes and more. As an RV Park, you can list on camping specific OTAs like The Dyrt, Spot2Nite, BookOutdoors and the Glamping Hub.
By teaming up with these channels, you’ll tap into their vast pool of eager travelers, exposing your RV park to a whole new audience. For example, in March 2023, Booking.com was the most visited travel and tourism website worldwide.
But how would I manage OTAs as well as my website bookings?
It’s simple. Enter what we call a ‘Channel Manager’. A Channel Manager serves as a centralized system to effortlessly manage and automate your online bookings across multiple platforms from a single interface. Acting as a vital link between your Campground Management System and various online travel agencies (OTAs), it ensures real-time synchronization of inventory, rates, and reservations.
For example: if someone places a booking at your park, your inventory will automatically reduce by one across all your online listings – no manual work required. Impressive huh?
A majority of US RV Park owners are currently NOT utilizing OTAs…
Yep… you read that right. This presents a golden opportunity for you to gain a competitive edge by capturing the attention of potential guests. By joining forces with leading OTAs, you can tap into their established marketing channels and benefit from their extensive promotional efforts. From the respondents who have embraced this platform, three key benefits of using an OTA were reported to be: improved discoverability of your property, improved occupancy, and access to new market segments.
So, let’s recap… Why should you have a Channel Manager?
- Convenience in one place: A Channel Manager brings together all our RV park’s availability, rates, and reservations under one unified dashboard. This centralized approach saves time, eliminates the need to manage multiple platforms separately, and simplifies our overall online presence management.
- Reduced human error and overbooking: Manually updating inventory on each OTA can be a laborious task prone to mistakes. With a Channel Manager, these concerns become a thing of the past. It automates the updating process, ensuring consistency and accuracy across all platforms. By eradicating the risks of overbooking, we can provide a seamless booking experience, resulting in heightened customer satisfaction.
- Unlock direct bookings through OTAs: Picture this: A traveler is browsing through Expedia searching for their ideal RV park accommodation. As they explore various options, they stumble upon your RV park listing, capturing their attention with enticing photos, rave reviews, and attractive rates. Now, here’s where the magic happens.
Intrigued by what they see on the OTA, the traveler decides to take their research a step further. They search up your RV park’s official website, with the intention of booking directly with you. This phenomenon, known as the the “Billboard Effect”, refers to the tendency of travelers discovering a property through an OTA and subsequently seeking out the property’s website for a direct booking. It’s like having a virtual billboard that captures attention, sparks interest, and drives potential guests to your RV park’s online domain.