Learn more about using online travel agencies (OTAs)

Two-thirds of the travel market book their trips online. Online travel agencies create a seamless, user-friendly experience for those who want to research, book, and manage their trips with just a few clicks.



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Your business deserves to be where your customers are

Hotels that use OTAs enjoy higher occupancy rates and increased revenue, especially during off-peak periods. For most businesses, OTAs are a necessary marketing and distribution platform.


Reach an enormous travel market

In February 2022, the number of visitors on Booking.com increased from the previous month, reaching approximately 401 million visits. Every other second, a traveller books accommodation on Expedia. Leverage these customer-driven platforms to target travellers, and get more bookings for your property


Our OTA Partners 

The RoomRaccoon channel manager is fully integrated with the best online travel agencies, wholesalers, and metasearch engines used by millions of business and leisure travellers to book their stays every year. 


We don’t charge our clients extra to connect with OTAs and other booking channels. We understand that online bookings are an essential part of your success - and we want our clients to succeed!


5 seconds rates and availability synchronisation  

The RoomRaccoon channel manager syncs your rates and availability across multiple OTAs within 5 seconds! You can manage your inventory from one central location and free up your time to focus on other aspects of running your business.




The OTA Billboard Effect  


Did you know that OTAs can influence your direct bookings? The OTA billboard effect is a phenomenon that occurs when travellers book directly with the property after initially discovering it on an OTA. 


Research by Expedia Groups shows that 65% of travellers booking directly with the property visited an OTA during the research stage. And about 18% of those travellers even visited an OTA on the day of the booking. 




1. Why do consumers prefer to book with online travel agencies?

If you want to travel, the first thing you do is compare your options online. Online travel agencies are the popular choice for finding accommodation. OTAs make comparing specific prices, room types, and destinations easy and convenient. Plus, travellers can even book flights and excursions directly through their favourite online travel agencies! 

One-stop-shop online travel agencies that allow customers to research, book, and manage their trips in one place will soon own 41% of the online digital travel market.


2. How do OTAs make money?

Most OTAs make money by taking a commission per booking, anywhere from 5% to upwards of 25%. Some OTAs, like Expedia, make the majority of their revenue through the merchant business model. The platform buys hotel rooms and then resells them to travellers. Often, they sell rooms as part of vacation packages with airfares and rental cars. 


3. What are the drawbacks of OTAs?

The most obvious drawback is that property operators must pay a commission fee to the OTA whenever they receive a booking. Most operators are okay with paying the commission fee. They feel that this is a small price to pay for having a full house and online exposure.


And unlike direct bookings, you are not in complete control over the guest experience from the get-go. 


4. What are the best OTAs for South African businesses?



Booking.com is an industry and traveller favourite. The OTA giant spent approximately $1 billion on Google advertising to ensure whenever travelers search for accommodation anywhere in the world, Booking.com listings will pop up first on metasearch results. Booking.com competes for highly valued traffic with Expedia, Tripadvisor, and even Google.



Airbnb is a home-sharing platform created for hosts who want to rent out their homes and apartments. But it’s becoming an increasingly popular OTA used by independent boutique hotels and guesthouses in South Africa. This is because Airbnb charges less than the industry average of 15-25% per booking.



Expedia.com is the second-largest global online travel agent behind Booking.com. Expedia Groups own Hotels.com, Trivago, TripAdvisor, among other popular travel companies. Expedia.com is a popular OTA used by South African hotels that want to target North and South American travellers, the largest travel market in the world. Consumers are more likely to buy vacation packages over individual rooms on Expedia. 



SafariNow is the largest OTA in South Africa and East Africa. The local OTA giant joined Travelstart in 2017 to maximise exposure and its accommodation offerings. Despite its name, there are more than safari packages available on the accommodation booking website. South African luxury hotels, vacation rentals and self-catering chalets use the OTA as a powerful sales channel. 


SafariNow says that shorter stays with one activity are booked most frequently. For example, 2 Night Kruger Park Safari Package.