Online Travel Agencies or OTAs are the dominant force in the travel industry. Their collaborations with major airlines and hotel chains make their service inevitable. But, COVID-19 has created many hurdles. Due to this, in this ultimate battle of survival, data analytics is on the winning side. With data analytics, OTAs can remold their operations and marketing and bounce back even stronger.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought a significant economic shakedown. Industry growth fluctuated drastically. Due to this, the travel industry has seen the worst fate. Among the stakeholders of travel industries, the worst hit are the Online Travel Agencies.
How badly are OTAs hit?
In March 2020, global flight sales saw a 12% decrease as compared to March 2019. After about three months into this pandemic, the effects seem to have worsened. Major travel destinations have closed until the discovery of a vaccine, such as the beaches in Rio de Janeiro.
Even the airport and accommodation authorities caught the virus. This problem jeopardized the whole travel industry leaving no corner safe. As the outbreak continued, government agencies transformed hotels into isolation wards in several countries. Hence, this points to a total loss of autonomy for OTAs.
These OTAs deal with flight bookings, hotel bookings, and sometimes, both. Due to the available promotions, customers use OTAs for most of the flight bookings rather than the vendors’ website. Thus, OTAs are of unprecedented importance in the present era of the travel boom.
The following graph shows how the growth rate went to a negative figure for the travel industry.
Source: Neil Patel Blog
Making the best of this time as an OTA
Without any doubt, this is one of the toughest times for the whole travel industry. The highest share of the industry’s revenue comes from Online Travel agencies (OTAs) as they provide lucrative deals on travel and accommodation. Therefore, they are the worst hit.
As a business, this is no time to grieve this loss of business of about a quarter. Instead, this is a golden opportunity to brace yourself for an impactful comeback.
Most of the OTAs were looking forward to bringing some significant changes in their operations and management for a long time. For those of you were waiting for the right time, here it is. Due to COVID-19, traveler sentiments and priorities will change hugely.
Previously, they were focused more on economic packages and gave comparatively lesser priority to hygiene and other variables. Business travelers comprise a significant 22.2% of the travel industry’s revenue. This crowd generally focuses more on comfort. However, now hygiene and safety is their top concern too.
When you look at all these trend shifts, OTAs are bound to take significant steps.
It is time for OTAs to embrace major changes
The OTAs are segmented in various ways. A few of these classifications are the OTA booking mode, platform, services provided, or even regional influence. As a whole, these agencies deal with accommodations, transportation, and vacation deals.
Identifying and tackling major customer concerns
This issue is the most prominent customer expectation due to COVID-19. Consequently, it brings the opportunity to involve all sorts of creative measures to ensure visitors’ sanitation. Sanitation stations in hotels and restaurants are the ideal means.
This problem, again, is the time to revolutionize the use of self-service payment methods by OTAs. This change prevents any transmission due to circulating hard cash or payment cards. Many hotels serve meals in halls, making it a risky practice. Mobile application deliveries can be the life-saver here. Customers can order on the OTA applications itself, thus ensuring both convenience and safety. Many OTAs can start their revenue lines by providing food for occupants.
Travelling has its affairs. One such is traveling to and from the hotel to places like airports, railway stations, and subways. Such modes provide another chance for OTAs to expand. As a solution to such issues, OTAs can kick-off transport services within and around the city too.
As a precaution, it is crucial that you inform the customers about the terms of all these services beforehand.
The global economies faced a significant setback. At a time of such a recession, money becomes an indispensable commodity. When it comes to customer experience, this variable remains ever-important for OTAs while ensuring their appeal and standards.
There are various methods to design a recession-proof operation method with the help of data. At such times, stringent performance monitoring helps in progressing on the desired path with a restricted budget.
The key to boosting profit is lowering operating costs and, subsequently, increase productivity. Some significant changes and prioritization in the operation department will yield the desired results. By analyzing where the money goes, such as articles like utility, F&B, and maintenance costs, you can trim costs in the rightful places.
3. LABOR FORCE
Your labor force is crucial to your customer experience as an OTA. This time is right for you to hire or re-train laborers to match the upcoming customer demands. They have deliverables like maintenance of hygiene, servicing, and sanitation in their hand.
While you take care of this, it is vital that you consider the cost of this sort of training.
How can OTAs make use of data science to survive COVID-19
Nowadays, data is the answer to almost everything you want. Similarly, OTAs can make use of data analytics to understand how future trends will affect them. From there, you can make the necessary changes to your operations, workforce, or even your budget. Data, as a whole, can make predictions for you.
- Acquisition Analytics: Data experts can analyze which social media platform is most prevalent among your customers. With the knowledge of the right channel and search engine, your marketing campaign becomes streamlined.
- Revenue analytics: Understanding what your competitors are doing and how they are getting results will significantly impact your planning.
- Supplier analytics: Supplier performance can help you optimize your inventory and infrastructure. This practice saves time and money. Therefore, it is critical to network with the right supplier.
- Demand analytics: Demand is a figure that helps you stay prepared. Data scientists can get you the trends like booking dates, destinations, and segments. Using this, you can design effective promotions.
- Usability analytics: Few metrics can determine how users respond to your offers and campaigns. It proves crucial when you see how deeply it can impact your revenue.
- Cost analytics: Proper analysis can help you use your income sustainably. By dividing it strategically in the wake of future requirements, you will generate more profit.
Give Datahut a try!
At Datahut, we believe in the might of data. With experienced data scientists, we are capable of extracting data from various sources using web scraping. Furthermore, our data management methods will make your job easier and drive results in your favor within no time. We try our best to align our work with your needs and, thus, give you excellent customer experience.
To know more about us and how we can help your OTA, contact Datahut.