Hospitality service providers typically lose certain margins in their revenues and profits when they have to sell their products via online travel agencies. While OTAs take your travel products to the shop-fronts where customers can easily access them, they also charge you a commission and that means a drop in your revenues per booking. Many spas therefore invest in robust online booking software in order to win back these revenues from online travel agencies.
The online booking market is highly competitive, with thousands of brokers looking for a share of the revenues. In this highly competitive landscape, the spas typically struggle to stand out in the crowd and attract most of the bookings and traffic before the buyer purchases the product from OTAs. Some marketers will run with big budget SEO ad campaigns in order to drive in bookings but there are countless ways that you can use to drive traffic to your websites.
The trend where the independent spas and salons post their offers and deals on websites or various online travel agencies is slowly receding and many are realizing the importance of investing in the best online booking software to boost their bookings and revenues on their websites. While this gives you sufficient exposure to the market and generates bookings for your business, there is a fundamental flaw with this model. In order to list your rates with the OTAs, you have to give them more commissions and that means you will be selling your spa bookings or reservations at lower costs than you would if buyers were booking directly from your own branded website.
Investing in the Internet Booking Engine or IBE
If you are investing in online booking software, it is important that it is very comprehensive and packed with all the features that will make for an enjoyable and easy booking experience. The online booking software should be highly responsive and easy to integrate with various other marketing channels that you use to drive bookings to your spa. The best spa booking software allows you to vividly display your products on your website and also creates various opportunities for up-selling and generating more revenues for your spa business.
While usin OTAs makes very good business sense, it is important to build a robust spa booking software on your branded website that will compete with the OTAs and help you maximize on your revenues. In order to do this, your spa needs to invest in a robust booking engine and also use the same approach as online travel agencies in tapping into the market and the bookings for your spa.
There is a need for investment in technologies that boost and drive traffic to the main branded website. This allows the spa to gain some of the market share that is controlled by online travel agencies. Through proper online marketing and revenue management practices, spas and other travel providers can develop a very profitable online booking model. Building your IBE also gives you great insights from analytics data into the nature of your clientele.