• Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC)
  • fb_icon
  • li_icon
  • tw_icon
  • yt_icon

Top Tips to Reduce Reliance on Online Travel Agents (OTAs)

28 /10/ 2015 Comments are Closed

Online Travel Agencies and booking channels such as Wotif.com, Booking.com and Webjet are necessary distribution partners in an age where an enormous number of consumers are using these platforms to book their trips.

However, with these channels increasing commission rates and including clauses in their agreements which require rate parity – where accommodation providers cannot advertise rates for less than what is on the OTA – other options for driving direct bookings are increasingly attractive.

Here are some ideas:

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket – OTAs cost accommodation providers dearly in commissions every year. Thinking about your overall web presence, not just OTAs, can increase direct bookings and reduce payable commission. Having an internet booking engine (IBE) on your branded website and investing in social and mobile technologies to drive sales can give you greater control in your marketing efforts and communication. The key is to maximise and optimise your search, mobile, ad retargeting, email and voice channels to attract and retain guests.

Added-Value Packaging – Even if the price on your website for the same room is not lower, you can package the room with other added-value components such as free parking, tickets to a local event, free room upgrades or Wi-Fi to encourage customers to book direct and build loyalty.

Special Deals Offered to a Limited Audience – rate parity limitations only apply to rates that you advertise publicly or that anyone on the internet can see. People who sign up for your email list, who call you over the phone or are Facebook followers can be offered a promotion code for discounted rates for a certain time of the year. Incentive promotions such as Local Shopping Gift Cards being offered via eDM to customers for booking direct can also negate the OTA rate parity concerns.

Smart Website Design to Hook Direct Bookings – many OTA shoppers visit the accommodation provider’s website to learn more about what they’re about to book. Smart website design can keep them on your website to book. Firstly it must be as simple as possible to book so include “book now” buttons near the top of every relevant page, invite customers to “sign up to our email list for discounts,” and “enquire about discounts for repeat direct bookings.”


About the Author


The peak body for Victoria's tourism and events industry, VTIC represents key industry associations and operators, with over 1400 members.



22aug(aug 22)9:00 am24(aug 24)1:30 pmFeatured2018 Victorian Visitor Information Services (VIS) Summit9:00 am - 1:30 pm (24) Capital Theatre

22aug5:30 pm8:00 pmVictorian Chamber Presents: Fast Forward Speed Networking5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

28aug9:00 am12:00 pmDestination Melbourne presents: Transformative Technology Workshop9:00 am - 12:00 pm Citadines on Bourke


05sep5:30 pm7:30 pmVTIC 2018 Mixer Series - September Tourism Networking EventConnect and reconnect at our monthly mixers5:30 pm - 7:30 pm DoubleTree by Hilton Melbourne

11sep9:00 am5:00 pmDestination Melbourne presents: The Exchange9:00 am - 5:00 pm

11sep5:45 pm7:30 pmVictorian Chamber presents: Business After Dark5:45 pm - 7:30 pm Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Goldfields Café and Bar

12sep1:30 pm3:30 pmDestination Melbourne presents: Tapping into Tourism- September1:30 pm - 3:30 pm Hobsons Bay Civic Centre

21sep12:00 pm2:00 pmVTIC Premium Member Lunch with Helen SawczakConnect and reconnect at our monthly mixers12:00 pm - 2:00 pm Angliss Restaurant

26sep11:30 am4:00 pmVictorian Chamber and Pitcher Partners presents: Grand Final Lunch11:30 am - 4:00 pm Olympic Room, MCG


16oct6:30 pm8:00 pmYoung Tourism Network presents: Emotional Intelligence with Mel Neil6:30 pm - 8:00 pm Victoria University

22oct12:00 pm2:00 pmVTIC Premium Member Lunch with Lyell StrambiConnect and reconnect at our monthly mixers12:00 pm - 2:00 pm Angliss Restaurant


22nov6:00 pm11:00 pm2018 RACV Victorian Tourism Awards – Gala CeremonySave the Date6:00 pm - 11:00 pm Palladium at Crown Dress Code: Black Tie

28nov4:30 pm6:00 pm2018 VTIC Annual General MeetingConnect and reconnect at our monthly mixers4:30 pm - 6:00 pm VTIC Offices, Level 3