Congratulations on listing your property on an Online Travel Agency (OTA)! OTAs are designed to help you increase your hotel’s visibility, draw in more reservations, and streamline booking and payment management, thus enhancing your online travel business.

While OTAs do come with perks, the biggest driver for hotels is bookings. With all the different specs and steps required to even set up your listing, it can be daunting to take those first couple steps towards attracting that first reservation.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to increasing bookings on your online travel agency.

1. Show-and-tell: Make your listing as attractive as possible 

Travelers only see what you list. While your hotel may have amazing amenities, sun-soaked rooms and all the bells and whistles, potential guests won’t have a clue about any of these unless you show them.

Simply put: Take high quality picture photos that focus on the perks and what makes your hotel unique compared to the rest. Of course, make sure your description is equally enticing. Be sure to mention your prime location, special packages and more.

Check out this article for advice on how to take better photos of your hotel room.

2. Strike a balance: Make sure your rates attract your audience

Your time, service, and efforts are extremely valuable, so it’s only fair that guests fairly compensate you for staying on your property. However, guests have varying budgets and choices.

To remain competitive and up your bookings, set a profitable rate that attracts travelers of all financial standings. You could even set up promotions where travelers browsing your hotel at a certain time or day receive a special rate.

At Agoda, we offer a variety of discount programs designed to attract travelers. Click here for more information about our different products. 

3. What’s past is prologue: Use OTA data to tailor future actions

In addition to streamlining the booking process and increasing your visibility, some of the best travel agencies online provide insightful information about your potential guest demographics and preferences. At Agoda, we help hotels benchmark their bookings against similar hotels and provide tailored advice on helping them maintain a competitive edge.

Without any bookings yet, it’d be difficult to get specifically tailored insights for your property. However, you can always look at the profiles of travelers who’ve booked accommodations in your area, within your price range or are looking for perks you specifically offer.

4. Stay ahead of the curve: make sure your available dates are updated

Finally, update your availabilities. You can do everything to attract travelers, but that work would be for nothing if you realize your guests’ booking dates are actually unavailable.

Losing out on customers due to an availability allotment issue isn’t the end of the world. However, it does require communicating to customers that they cannot stay in the hotel that they reserved. This could result in negative sentiments and reviews.

5. Encourage guests to leave reviews 

A big part of growing on an online travel agency is learning how to leverage positive reviews effectively. In addition to providing superb service, why not introduce a ‘Review-and-Reward’ initiative? Offer guests a minor discount on their subsequent booking, or a unique hotel service for leaving reviews.

Tip: The more positive reviews you get, the better. Some travelers even filter hotels based on the amount of stars other guests have given.

In the meantime, embrace the journey. You have a blank slate for creating the type of hotel you want with the reputation you want while marketing to the travelers you want. By sticking to these tips, we’re confident that you can reach your first booking in no time.