12 Best OTAs to Increase Your Hotel Bookings

If you’re a hotel owner and want to be successful in the industry, you should know about OTAs. OTA is shorthand for an online travel agency. OTAs are crucial for hotels since you can use them to increase your revenue. An online travel agency is somewhere one of your potential guests might go to book a room at your hotel if they are not visiting your website directly. They are one of the key distribution channels hotel owners have at their disposal. 

A Trends Global Survey mentioned recently that in 2023, OTAs were one of the top five online resources that travelers used. 80% of travelers used them, ahead of search engines at 61% and social media at 58%. When you think about that, it becomes obvious how useful OTAs can be as partners for your hotel.

The Billboard Effect

As a hotelier, one of the most useful aspects of partnering with OTAs is what is known as the billboard effect. If you have visibility in OTAs, that brings a lot of direct business to your hotel’s website. 

This is why many hotel owners feel that OTAs are a necessary evil, at least when they first open for business. Ultimately, though, keep in mind that as a hotel owner, your goal should be to sell as much as possible directly to avoid paying commissions and losing revenue on the way.  

Let’s take a moment to talk about some of the most prominent OTAs that are available for you to partner with right now. 

Booking.com

Booking.com is one of the largest and most successful OTAs. The Bookingholdings.com website states that 1.5 million rooms are reserved daily on Booking.com, on average. The same company that owns Priceline owns Booking.com, and it is one of the oldest and most recognizable OTAs, dating back to 1996. 

The company’s headquarters is in the Netherlands. The site has listings that include hotels in nearly 200 countries around the world. Statista’s Booking.com website stats show that the site had 565.2 million visits in January of 2024 alone. It’s clear that this site can be a crucial partner for you if you want to attract more visitors to your hotel.

Hotels.com

Hotels.com is a site where potential hotel guests can find accommodations, though they can also book stays in condos and B&B accommodations. It is owned by the Expedia group, and it’s based in Dallas, TX. 

The site operates internationally, and it gets a lot of repeat business. The Hotels.com Rewards program is a huge part of their business model. Users can get a price reduction each time they book 10 overnight stays through the website. You can imagine how much this would appeal to someone who travels frequently for either business or pleasure.

Expedia.com

Expedia.com is another powerhouse among OTAs. More than 16 million room nights are booked there each year, according to the Mize website. The Expedia Group owns Expedia.com, as well as several subsidiaries. It is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, and it traces its origin back to 2001. 

Expedia.com can lay claim to the title of one of the world’s highest-grossing travel companies. It also has localized websites in 40 different countries. Statista reports that the site’s worldwide 2023 earnings were a staggering $12.84 billion

Agoda.com

Agoda.com is based in Singapore, and it is a part of the parent Booking Holdings company. Agoda is heavily focused on the Asian travel market. Users can shop amongst over a million holiday homes and hotels there. 

Agoda is ambitious, lately starting to make inroads into the Americas and the European travel markets. The marketing for Agoda emphasizes discount accommodations. While it may not have the cache or brand recognition in the US as Booking.com or Expedia.com, it is still worth knowing about as it strives to make itself a household name outside of Asia.  

HRS

HRS.com is based out of Cologne, Germany. It also has major offices in New York, London, and Paris. It was founded back in 1972, where it began its life as an offsite travel agency. 

The HRS.com site provides bookings for business and recreational travelers, but, unlike most of the other OTAs on this list, it is focused mostly on the former. Its attraction is mostly a special “business rate,” a 30% discount geared toward business travelers. If your hotel is mostly targeting business travelers as well, HRS can be a great partner for you.   

Priceline.com

You may know the Priceline.com website for their aggressive ad campaigns that encourage you to “go to your happy price.” Booking Holdings owns Priceline.com, as well as the previously mentioned Agoda.com. Priceline has their headquarters in Norwalk, Connecticut. 

Booking.com and Priceline.com could almost be considered siblings in the OTA market. The main difference is that Priceline.com is more heavily geared toward discount travelers. They employ the “Name Your Own Price” model. It allows potential customers to enter a hotel star level, location, and ideal price. Then, the site goes to work, trying to find a deal that matches those requirements as closely as possible. 

The gimmick has proved popular. Hotel owners who list their business in Agoda.com will have it visible on Priceline.com automatically.    

Orbitz

Orbitz is an OTA, but it is also a travel metasearch engine. It is a subsidiary of the popular Expedia group. Orbitz does provide a range of international options, but it is focused mainly on the American market. Those who use it can book a hotel room, but they can also rent a car, find a flight to and from their destination, book a cruise, and more. 

The package deals that travelers can find on Orbitz make it a popular go-to for recreational travelers, especially those who are looking for a last-minute vacation. The Expedia Group bought Orbitz in 2015 and folded the site into its ever-growing empire. Hotel owners who list on Expedia will automatically have their property appear on Orbitz as well.   

Airbnb

Airbnb is a hospitality marketplace with a strong online presence. Those who join can access lodgings in many different countries and territories, booking rooms primarily in private residences. However, in recent years the site has modified its options so that users can now book hotels through it as well. 

As a hotel owner, you can certainly take steps to list your business on the site. However, you should know that the site has strict rules about which hotels can be listed there. 

To be eligible, your hotel must have shared common spaces. The rooms should have a clear local influence, and the hotel must have unique design characteristics. Keep these details in mind before taking steps to partner with this entity.   

Tripadvisor

Tripadvisor.com is an OTA, but it also serves other purposes. User-generated content and reviews are some of the reasons why would-be travelers go there. Anyone looking to take a trip can plug their destination into the website’s search engine to find the best restaurants and other attractions. However, the site also has a built-in hotel booking service which hotel owners might want to take advantage of. 

Headquartered in Needham, Massachusetts, the company has been around since 2000. Tripadvisor.com gets a boost by working with third-party connectivity partners. They display available listings and live hotel prices. It has an advertising partnership with Expedia as well.  

LateRooms.com   

LateRooms.com is headquartered in Manchester in the United Kingdom. It is a dedicated hotel reservation platform. The company opened its doors in 1999, but it did not start offering online hotel bookings till 2002. 

As the name implies, LateRooms.com tries to attract customers who are looking for last-minute hotel room deals. Both business travelers and individuals looking for an impromptu vacation use it.

Those who use LateRooms.com can book hotel rooms for that same day if they want. Unsurprisingly, these rooms can often be obtained at a discount. Hotel owners who want to book unsold rooms on the same day should consider partnering with this entity.   

Travelocity

Travelocity.com was founded in 1996. It is one of the older OTAs on this list, and, like so many others, it is now owned by the powerful Expedia Group. It is headquartered in Dallas, TX. Travelocity is mainly focused on providing its users with engaging travel experiences and package deals.  

The “Travel for Good” option is popular on the Travelocity website. Customers can access discounts and special deals if they participate in volunteer programs while traveling. It’s a unique idea, but one that has proven popular since the site first implemented it. 

Hotel owners who list on Expedia will also see their hotel listed on Travelocity. That’s part of what you get when you involve yourself with the Expedia Group.  

Trip.com

Trip.com is based in Shanghai, China. It is China’s largest online travel agency. Keep this in mind if you’re targeting the Chinese market as a hotel owner. Domestic travelers in China know it well, but it’s also recognized in other parts of the world.

The majority of sales through Trip.com come from Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Beijing, and Shanghai. The site also has a working relationship with Booking.com. This allows Trip.com to access Booking.com’s global portfolio. It’s an inroad for Booking.com into the potentially lucrative Chinese market. 

Why Hotel Owners Need to Consider Partnering with OTAs

As a hotel owner, you are probably already familiar with at least some of these OTAs. You may need to do some additional research to figure out which ones would work best as partners for you. In addition to looking into the options on this list, you should also think about a working relationship with property partners like Surf Office. It can direct potential customers looking to schedule off-site work retreats to your hotel. 

As for OTAs, they can increase your hotel’s local, national, and even worldwide visibility. They make bookings on behalf of their users, but you should be aware of the fees they charge as well.

What Kind of Fees Do OTAs Usually Charge?

As a hotel owner, if you agree to partner with an OTA, you can get your hotel noticed by business or leisure travelers who otherwise might not be aware of it. In return, the OTA charges a fee for allowing you to list your hotel with them. 

An OTA will usually charge anywhere from 10-25% of the booking fee as a commission. These fees can be as high as 30% in some instances. 

This commission fee is usually paid after the customer has either completed their travels or when they make their final payment. If you’re partnering with an entity that appears higher in the search results for words or phrases having to do with travel, making it more likely a potential customer will book with you, the OTA usually charges more. 

You might not be thrilled about paying that fee, but partnering with an OTA could mean the difference between having empty rooms in your hotel and filling them with paying customers. When you look at the situation in that way, you’ll probably be a lot more willing to pay the fees associated with this kind of partnership.

Partnering with OTAs can be one of the more expensive ways for hotel owners to make their properties more visible, but most of them are still willing to do it because of how popular these entities are with the public. 

What Else Can a Hotel Owner Do to Advertise Besides List with OTAs?

Because of the fees associated with OTAs, it makes sense as a hotel owner to know about other ways you can make your room listings more visible. You can do so by partnering with local businesses. You can set up a strong email marketing campaign. You might utilize creative social media promotion methods. You can use meta-search advertising as well.

Smart hotel owners know not to rely on one of these methods, but to implement all of them. OTAs are inarguably one of the best methods for attracting guests, but the other strategies we mentioned should be in your arsenal as well. You’ll probably do best when you launch marketing campaigns that take advantage of several different techniques. 

There’s no denying how much success you can find with OTAs, though. They are proven partners in the hotel industry that earn their fees because of the increased visibility and prominence they allow your hotel to attain. 

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