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Webinar: how to achieve independence from the OTAs



Andy & Tyann discuss practical strategies that you can implement to increase the proportion of your bookings which come to you direct, and reduce your dependence on OTAs.


Thanks for joining the conversation

Thanks for sending in your questions for our webinar: “How to achieve independence from the OTAs”

Here’s a recording of our discussion. Or, head over to our blog to read a summary of the juiciest details. We’ve also picked out the webinar highlights and their timings below.

 Key takeaways:

We don’t see other bed and breakfasts as competitors, we see them as companions. Because we were all smaller properties, we pulled together and formed what we call ‘The Inns of Durham’, a cooperative which allows us to market in a way that we couldn’t do on our own. Our competitors weren’t the other inns, they were the hotels.'” – Monica

When we took over the business, bookings were 50/50 direct and OTA. What we’ve done is fundamentally improved the quality of what we offer. The guest experience is professional: we pre-empt what guests want, provide them with everything they need, and try to be the experts on the local area.” – Katherine

The core of the brand is how you articulate yourself and your business to guests, and understanding who your guests are and what platforms to reach them on is the most important thing to look at first. If you’re appealing to a younger audience it’s super important to have a robust social media presence, particularly on TikTok and Instagram. If you’re appealing to an older demographic, Facebook and email marketing become more relevant” – Arthur

You’ve got to get your guests talking about you, referring you, recommending you. There are four little words that everyone can do, and they’re: ‘do you know anyone?’ It’s a really simple text or email that you can send to guests that asks them, ‘do you know anyone?'” – Mark

I talk to people about commission, that if they book direct they get a better deal, that my cancellation policy is more flexible, they can add on packages that they can’t do through an OTA” – Monica

AMA highlights:

  • 01:20 – an introduction to our panellists
  • 05:33 – their proportion of direct bookings
  • 06:15 – how guest loyalty supports Katherine’s direct bookings
  • 10:03 – how Monica uses her guests’ connections to secure direct bookings
  • 12:14 – using creative tactics to tap into your market
  • 13:44 – crafting your unique selling point
  • 15:13 – the importance of understanding who your guests are
  • 17:55 – staying in touch with your guests
  • 19:10 – how to build your direct bookings from a standstill
  • 23:35 – viewing your OTA commissions as your marketing budget
  • 24:57 – tactics for driving people from OTAs to your direct booking site
  • 26:30 – the importance of a reputable booking site
  • 28:04 – pricing to your best advantage
  • 36:33 – current pricing trends
  • 39:28 – the more advanced stuff: Google/Facebook/Insta ad campaigns
  • 43:45 – showing your guests why they should book direct
  • 45:27 – using Google ads to compete with OTAs
  • 50:20 – you only need to target your guests
  • 53:47 – collaboration over competition
  • 55:36 – the one thing our panellists would do to get started with direct bookings

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