For too long, offering event housing solutions to your guests online came with a number of factors to consider. The risks associated with offering online housing solutions could be intimidating and cause event planners to shy away from doing so.
For many, it raises some big questions:
- Do the pros outweigh the cons or vice versa?
- Is it more important to offer these services and create a more positive experience for your guests or is it more important to mitigate your risks by avoiding financial obligations you can’t afford?
At Experient, we had different questions:
What if you didn’t have to make that choice? What if you could do both?
Make Your Online Event Housing Process Simple
We introduced OTA (Online Travel Agency) to provide a housing solution that would give event strategists the ability to create a more positive booking experience for their guests, track their behavior and the event’s economic impact while reducing—and in some cases—removing the financial risks associated with housing services.
OTA gives your guests a window into the world of online hotel rooms, just like Trivago, Hotels.com, and others, using the Global Distribution System (GDS). Travelers—and even your attendees—visit these aggregate sites to review hotels in the area, compare rates and availability, and book their rooms.
But unlike these online sites, OTA belongs to YOU! It lives on your event site and we help you track all the activity and the data (that you now own, by the way) it records. Housing an OTA on your event’s website simplifies the housing process for your guests. It allows them to choose, while still keeping them in your housing network.
The benefits of OTA go well beyond guest satisfaction. It also offers your event:
- Better Data: Know where event guests are staying and how many room nights the event generates.
- Increased Revenue: Collect additional revenue not realized before.
- More Time: Continue offering housing solutions to last-minute attendees, even after the event has begun.
- Peace of Mind: Rest easy knowing you are providing options that maximize the guest experience, enabling positive growth for your event.
With OTA, you don’t need to negotiate rates with any of the hotels or set a minimum number of room nights requirement. The only commitment you need to worry about is promoting OTA as an option to your guests. Luckily, Experient helps you with this by using several proven methods to drive attendees to the OTA and reserve rooms.
How OTA Can Help Your Event
Here are two perfect examples of how we’ve seen OTA simplify the event housing process:
A company that puts on numerous events was charged with setting up an inaugural event. While the company is familiar with housing, it felt it was too risky to enter into a contract with hotels for a first-time event. To make it even more difficult, the event was hosted in a city that isn’t a typical destination, so the hotel community was inexperienced in navigating groups.
Using OTA, they were able to find success with a new event in a new city without risk. The outcome was better than they ever expected: attendance was booming and the hotel bookings showed the destination that there is high interest in booking rooms in their city.
The next remarkable story is about a youth sports group. They have two events, back-to-back in two different cities. Securing group blocks has been a challenge for these events as the team numbers and sizes vary from year to year. Even worse, they had no budget to implement a housing program.
As a result, Experient utilized OTA to provide an option for the team managers to secure small blocks of rooms for their teams based on their current needs. With OTA, the event produced approximately 1,000 room nights and extra revenue for the event organizer.
Do you remember the two questions we asked earlier? The answer to both is “YES!” You CAN improve your guest experience without adding risk. Your event CAN generate housing revenue without financial risk whether you have an existing room block offering or not.
Ready to see how OTA can work for you? Contact Brian Strickland at Experient to learn more about OTA and how you can add it to your site. Email Brian today: firstname.lastname@example.org.