It’s 2019 and the travel industry is more competitive than ever. Companies are continuing to enter the space, but the rough competition takes its toll, with a number of key regional players closing doors in 2018.
More than ever before Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) must put in the work to stay relevant and sand out in an increasingly fast-paced industry by employing innovative strategies to help them build a competitive edge and bring in more revenue.
We have listed 3 ways to help OTAs head in that direction.
Online reviews can be either blessing or a curse – manage them efficiently
Nowadays, a single bad review can cropple any travel-related business. 93% of travelers confirm that online reviews have an important impact on their booking decisions, making it essential to respond and manage different types of reviews.
It could be argued that not all reviews require a response - negative, biased and degrading reviews may be best left unanswered, instead of drawing unnecessary attention to them.
On the other hand, dealing with positive comments, it is advisable to show customers appreciation for their review - a simple “thank you” would further strengthen the bond between the service provider and the client. An abundance of solutions to automate that kind of follow-up exists and is relatively inexpensive and easy to set up.
One thing is sure: OTAs should handle their reviews with the greatest care in 2019.
Look at new ancillary revenue sources – flight disruption compensation
The EU Flight Compensation Regulation is a 15 year old statute that entitles any passenger to compensation of up to €600 for flight delays, cancellations and overbooking. Despite its relatively long history, the Regulation is still a blind spot for both, the passengers and the OTAs.
In fact, less than 5% of all passengers file a claim for compensation and only 2% end up receiving the money they’re entitled to.
Similarly, in the case of OTAs, just a handful of companies have realized the untapped potential of the flight compensation market as an ancillary revenue source.
An estimated €18Bn has been left untouched over the past decade and flight compensation service providers, such as ClaimCompass, manage the process on behalf of travel agencies and their clients. Using data and tech, we help OTAs generate up to an additional €108 net per booking in cases of flight disruptions.
If you're interested in increasing your revenue while offering even more value to your customers, take a look at our Affiliate Program.
Establish a strong social media presence
Social media has become an integral part of the decision-making process of today’s travelers.
Over 70% of social media users acquire new vacation ideas from platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook and even Twitter. 2019 and the years to come will undoubtedly see this figure increase.
Love them or hate them, these platforms are an essential tool for any OTA and can result in significant returns on their ad spend.
For instance, a recent campaign for Nordic TUI resulted in 89x return for their efforts on the Swedish market. Given that 40% of millenials choose their next destination based on how instagrammable it is, running an attractive Instagram ad campaign can significantly boost revenues.
Armed with these 3 effective strategies, Online Travel Agencies should be better prepare to face the challenge that 2019 is bringing to their competitive space.
Ivo Atanassov is a Partner Relations Manager at ClaimCompass: a travel technology company, which helps travellers deal with flight disruptions and receive monetary compensation. He may be reached at [email protected]