How Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) Are Dealing With The Looming Threat From Google?
By Space Coast Daily // June 23, 2023
Being an online travel agency (OTA) offers an excellent way to make significant income, especially with the growing demand for both business and leisure travel. However, with Google entering the travel game, it presents a looming threat that is hard to ignore.
As a result, many OTAs are actively exploring new strategies to maintain their competitive edge against this tech giant. If this is your current situation, worry not, as this article discusses various ways OTAs are dealing with this challenge, so you will want to keep reading.
Strategic Partnerships in the Travel Industry
One key strategy for OTAs to combat the threat from Google is forming strategic partnerships with other travel companies or related businesses.
Expedia, for instance, is powering SoFi Travel, a platform designed to offer its users travel perks and benefits. This partnership allows both companies to leverage each other’s strengths and compete more effectively.
By integrating Expedia’s vast range of travel options into SoFi’s platform, users can book flights, accommodations, and car rentals all in one place. The collaboration not only benefits Expedia by increasing its customer base but also adds value to SoFi users by providing an easy-to-use travel service along with financial tools.
Other common partnerships include OTAs and airlines or car rentals, OTAs and hotels, and OTAs and technology companies. Regardless of who OTAs partner with, these partnerships allow involved parties to combine resources, expertise, and customer bases, ultimately creating a mutually beneficial alliance that enhances their competitive standing.
Aggressive Marketing Campaigns by OTAs
In an effort to maintain visibility and deal with the looming threat from Google, OTAs are now engaging in aggressive marketing campaigns. These efforts often include offering enticing discounts or exclusive promotions to customers who choose to book through their platforms rather than Google or other competitors when searching for travel packages.
By doing so, they are effectively incentivizing consumers to remain loyal to their brand and use their platform for all their travel needs. This strategy not only helps OTAs acquire new customers but also works towards retaining existing ones by making it more attractive for them to continue using the platform due to better deals and rewards.
Besides having enticing offers on their platforms, OTAs are taking advantage of various digital channels such as social media, email marketing, and search engine advertising. Online travel agencies are also investing in content marketing strategies, such as creating engaging blog posts or informative articles on popular travel destinations, providing genuine added value for users while simultaneously promoting the platform’s offerings.
Investing in Cutting-Edge Technology
Investing in cutting-edge technology is another strategy that has proven to be an effective way for OTAs to deal with the looming threat from Google.
For instance, OTAs utilize AI-powered chatbots to elevate their service offerings or improve customer support efficiency. These virtual assistants can respond to common traveler queries instantaneously, 24/7, providing a seamless experience that rivals or even surpasses Google’s support capabilities.
Embracing virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies have also allowed OTAs to showcase destinations and offer immersive experiences for users. OTAs customers can now take VR-guided tours or explore hotel accommodations using AR before making a reservation. This innovative approach enhances customer engagement and builds confidence in the booking process.
Other technologies helping OTAs deal with the looming Google threat include OTAs management platforms, data analytics, and data personalization tools.
Focusing on Niche Markets
Another strategic move for OTAs to retain relevance in the face of increasing competition from Google is focusing on niche markets. For example, an OTA may specialize in adventure travel, offering curated packages with thrilling outdoor experiences. Similarly, eco-tourism or luxury travel could be the forte of other OTAs.
By positioning themselves as industry experts within their chosen niches, OTAs foster a loyal customer base that trusts and values their specialized travel knowledge. In turn, this enhances their brand reputation and distinguishes them from mass-market competitors like Google.