Manage availability on OTA channels with Orioly Channel Manager | Orioly

Manage availability on OTA channels with Orioly Channel Manager

If you are involved in organizing tours and activities, you certainly use different channels for sales. Some prefer selling through contact forms, social networks or an integrated booking system on the website, and others prefer OTAs.

Although OTAs (Online Travel Agency) are a relatively simple solution for quickly listing your travel offer online, it is not recommended to use them as an exclusive sales channel.

The reason for this is simple – your profit margins will always be higher if you sell to your guests directly through your website.

On the other hand, if you use different sales channels, such as your website, OTAs, and offline channels, there is a high possibility for overbooking, unless you have a Channel Manager solution implemented.

The purpose of a Channel Manager is to automatically close departures to prevent overbooking.

This blog will explain what an OTA is, how the booking process works through this channel, and its advantages and disadvantages. We will also show how to connect Orioly with OTAs via Channel Manager and thus avoid overbooking.

What is an OTA?

OTA is an online marketplace where travel suppliers list their offer. Through it, guests can book products such as tours, excursions, activities, accommodation, and airline tickets.

Some of the most famous OTAs for tours and activities are TripAdvisor, GetYourGuide, Booking.com, and Viator.

How OTAs work and booking process

Although the way of listing an offer differs from platform to platform, the base is the same for all of them.

Namely, an OTA works in such a way that you create a user profile and set up an offer with details such as the tour name, price, date, time of departure, and photos.

Then, if the OTA approves your listing, you will receive a notification, after which it will be visible to all web visitors and become available for online booking.

Once you’ve completed the sign-up process, you’re ready to get your first bookings.

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Travelers will search for the offer based on the date, location, and a number of guests. They can also apply additional filters, such as room type, amenities, or facilities.

Initial communication with potential guests will take place via inbox.

On some platforms, once a reservation has been made, guests can access the contact information you have provided and can contact you in person, either by phone, email, or text.

Advantages of OTAs

  • You can list your offer online relatively easy
  • You don’t have to worry about setting up a booking system or payment gateway on your website
  • Your offer is visible to a large number of people who are potentially interested in your tour

Disadvantages of OTAs:

  • Your competition is also listed in the same way as you (you cannot highlight your logo or brand)
  • Very high fees, which can sometimes be up to 30% per reservation
  • OTAs may change their business policies at any time, which could negatively impact your business results

What is the Orioly Channel Manager and why you should use it?

If you are already selling online through your own website, it is a good idea to check whether your booking system has a Channel Manager or not.

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Orioly Channel Manager automatically updates departures between tours set up within Orioly available for booking on your website and the tours available on your OTAs.

OTA and Orioly Channel Manager

The integration between Orioly and your OTAs is done through a connectivity interface called Experience Bank. This platform connects products on both sides and automatically updates availability so that the same departure, after a booking has been created on one of them, no longer has the same number of available spots for booking.

Example: Imagine that your guests can book a tour with you on your website, through the Book Now button, and through Get Your Guide. 

Now imagine that one guest booked a tour starting on August 30, 2022, through your website, at 2 p.m. for 3 people.

At that moment, Orioly recorded the reservation and automatically forwarded that information to Experience Bank, which then, through its interface, made three spots less available for booking on Get Your Guide. That is, three people increased the occupancy for that departure.

By the way, Orioly OTA Channel Manager supports integrations with 37 OTAs, among which the most popular are Viator, Expedia, Get Your Guide and Google Things To Do.

That number will continue to grow, and you can check out the complete list here.

Why is it better to use a booking system instead of an OTA

Basically, because OTAs can change their business policy at any time, which brings uncertainty to your business. 

Generating most of the sales through your own website is recommended. You are the sole owner, and no one can take it away from you.

In addition, OTAs charge huge fees, which can vary from 15% to 30%. This is also a good reason to evaluate whether it is better for your business to invest in a quality website with a booking system implemented, or paying a commission to an OTA.

For example, one of your tours cost is 30 Euros per guest. If you pay a 20% commission to an OTA, that will be 6 Euros less in your pocket. If you sell 10 spots on that tour per month via OTA, you will have to spend as much as 60 Euros in commission.

On the other hand, the commission per online reservation made through your website using Orioly costs 2.5% within the Startup package. In our example, this represents a total of 0,75 Cents per guest.

On top of that, add the monthly subscription for Orioly Startup, which is $19.00, or 19,20 Euros.

By selling 10 spots per month on the same tour, you will pay a total of 7,5 Euros + 19,20 Euros, or 26,70 Euros.

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So that’s less than half of the amount you’d typically pay for a commission to an OTA for those same 10 bookings.

The bottom line, you can use the money you saved to promote your website online and attract more guests to book experiences.

Conclusion

OTA platforms can be a quick and easy solution for setting up your tourist offer online. Still, they should not be a long-term and exclusive solution considering the savings you can achieve by using an online booking system connected to your website.

Therefore, it is recommended that you conduct most of your business through your website. This way, you will have complete control over reservations, display of offers, and analytical data about your visitors.

By implementing a booking system on your website, you can get much more than by selling exclusively through an OTA channel. And very quickly, you get a return on your investment.

If you want to implement a booking system on your website and take control of online sales of tours and excursions, click on Orioly and get started for only $19 per month.

Try it free for the first 14 days without paying or purchasing obligation.

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