Online Travel Agency (OTA) appears in the blooming era of online tourism (e – tourism) which uses technology in every tourism process such as booking, transporting, eating and visiting. In the situation when 2.5 billion people using Internet via smartphone; keyword “Tourism and Hotel” ranks 5th among user’s concern; 62% of people uses smartphone to find tourism services; 72% tourist hope to book tour via mobile and 54% tourist want to connect to travel agency online, OTA becomes one of the most promising business trend with an expectable profit.
It is undeniable that the combination of tourism services and technology called OTA changes the whole tourism and bring a large amount of money to this field. According to Google and Temasek Holdings (Singapore), Southeast Asia OTA profit is predicted to shoot up to 89.6 billion USD in 2025. Another survey from Phocuswright, 39% of the digital travel market belongs to online travel agencies, and the number is expected to grow. The successful examples naming booking.com, agoda.com, traveloka.com or trivago.com seem like an unbreakable confirm for an effective tourism solution.
However, the attractive surface of OTA and online tourism involves many people to jump in. A numerous Online Travel Agency entrepreneur are set up and make this market become saturate and strictly competitive. So, what is the main strategy for your OTA to exist and grow strongly? Here are the tips to build a successful online travel agency.
Define your travel market and its potential customer
The first and the most important step before you start your career, not only OTA. Each travel market owns different negative or positive points so they are suitable to different types of customers. TheTravelNet showed five travel markets to consider naming:
- Libertine travel: tourism services for liberal and open – minded tourist
- Special needs travel: travel for disable people or ones who suffer mobility difficulties, concentrate on finding airlines and resorts to reach their requirements
- Wellness travel: travel for young and health, providing yoga and meditation cure along with other tourism services
- Organized tours for millennial: focus on young customer who find adventure, exploration and memorable experiences without worrying about fee
- Specialty cruises: travel by cruises and related services for group of travelers
Your travel market depends on your capital, start – up building conditions, customer’s demands and partly on tourism trend. You have to define your travel market BEFORE deciding target customer. Travel market has a great influence on reduce unnecessary type of customer and focusing on the right target who use your services. Defining target customer includes gender, age, habit, requirement…
Launch your own research to seek a relevant market, browse local forums or ask your advisors are some suggestions needed.
Maximize the advantages of technology
You run an OTA means that you have a huge supported from technology, just make use of this advantage. Learn as possible as you can about smartphone application, web design for PC and mobile, user – friendly systems to ensure your OTA maximizes it benefits. It could be better if your Online Travel Agency Software is available in Android, IOS and even Window to increase mobile setting rate. For foreign travel, an ideal OTA website should include multi – language support and secure online payment.
Technology will be out – of – date so you definitely upgrade your website/app frequently. The rising trend for 2018 OTA is put virtual reality into practice. Virtual reality provides 360 degree video of famous tourist attraction around the world or hotel rooms, clubs, festivals, airline services helping customers make right decisions before booking. You possibly develop your own project like this by Adamo Digital’s supports. Our company developed successfully some of OTA solutions such as: booking room, booking ticket online, tour management, etc. Some of Adamo Digital recent customers naming e-destinACCESS in USA or Wego in Singapore, etc.
Consider cost – reducing practices
“Cheapest is dearest” has not been right in competitive environment of OTA. More and more online services appear in tourism market with the same qualifications, same benefits but one with reasonable price will be in customers’ first choice list. But, how could you improve your service and maintain low price at the same time? Will it destroy your budget?
It is high time for you to connect with other tourism services such as ticket office, hotel, resort, restaurant, tour guide or other businesses being worry about the scary growth of online tourism. They need to survive through this crazy wave by leaning on OTA and provide their services. Vice versa, a shake – hand between OTA and its partners can make a deal for discount, voucher or presents for your customer. Sharing interest for a bigger profit, why not?
“Top to toe” service
Most of OTAs are trying to support their customers on the whole journey and should you do. One small worthless thing can destroy journey’s happiness. So a good OTA must guarantee to provide perfect from the beginning (booking, advising) to the end (coming back home safety). This make customer to stay with your brand longer, spend time to create good impression and avoid other OTAs from stealing yours. Moreover, after service plays an important part in bring your customer back next time. By some simple caring tips like birthday cards, membership, old customer’s benefit…, you exist in your customer mind already.
Booking.com possibly be a good example of an OTA with “Top to toe” service.
Whatever tips are used, one of the key criteria for building online travel agency to gain customer trust is thoughtful attitude to details. You need to look from customer’s side, understand their needs and take care of them in a good way.