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6 Alternative, Unique Marketing Channels

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Posted by Alex Gaggioli
September 10, 2015

New online travel agencies seem to emerge all the time, offering niche-targeted guests to drive bookings to unique markets. The booking engine giants such as booking.com and Expedia are great ways to reach a large number of guests. But the interests of those guests are unpredictable, making it hard to market to specific interest groups on large OTAs. Popular OTAs with hundreds of thousands of hotel results often overwhelm travelers searching for particular types of properties.

Niche OTAs can offer travelers a more curated experience, and improve bookings within specific communities.These unique marketing channels allow smaller hotels and hostels to be discovered without competing with large brands.

We researched some new (and some older) booking platforms that cater to a more targeted audience. There are many booking platforms out there, so we chose ones with unique offerings.

Bud-and-Breakfast_Logo

Bud and Breakfast, a myallocator partner, is a cannabis friendly accommodation booking platform. Their site offers a place for marijuana enthused guests to find 420 friendly properties all around the world. The owners were inspired to start the business after Colorado legalized recreational marijuana and are now committed to helping hotels and cannabis-loving travelers come together.

The site lists cannabis smoking-related amenities, helping guests choose a property that has exactly what they’re looking for:

  • Cannabis Provided
  • Outside Smoking [allowed]
  • Inside Smoking [allowed]
  • Lounge Smoking [allowed]
  • Vaporizer Only
  • Vaporizer Provided  

Some current properties featured on their website include the Downtown Penthouse in Boulder, Colorado and the Bowmans Bearcreek Lodge in Hope, Alaska.

The site hopes to bring together cannabis enthusiasts all around the world. They also report on Marijuana legalization updates for the United States and beyond.

To become a partner, navigate to the “Become a host page. Bud and Breakfast does not charge a registration fee, and instead charges a 3% commission when a booking is completed.

Ctrip-Logo_Logo

Ctrip, although not a new OTA, is important if a hotel property is targeting the Chinese market. They are a large OTA with over 400,000 hotels and 138 routes in 138 countries and regions around the world. They are China’s largest booking platform and boast more than 90 million registered users.

Ctrip is comparable to large OTAs such as booking.com and Expedia, but because of their Chinese dominance, they offer new visibility in a growing and lucrative Chinese travel market. If you find that many of your guests are Chinese, or you operate in areas where Chinese travelers frequent, it could be worth adding to your marketing distribution strategy.

In order to list your hotel, fill out this form to be connected with their support team. Ctrip’s commission fees are not publicly available. Ctrip is also a myallocator partner.

Gomio_Logo

Gomio was created in 2004 to be a hostel booking platform that is also a social connection site for travelers. They currently have over 6,000 hostels on their platform. Each hostel has passed a quality control test before being listed on the site.

Gomio is a resource center for travelers, backpackers, tourists, students, and families to find a hostel property that meets everyone’s needs. Travelers and hostel owners alike can connect to other travelers, locals and businesses through their site.

The site offers a lot of information for travelers on a wide range of destinations so travelers can research before they head off on their trip. Gomio is great for hostels that are looking for another OTA where they can list their beds in order to reach hostel-seeking travelers. The Gomio team will even help travelers find the best hostel for them through their search engine, give recommendations via social media, their hostel map, and a live chat on their website.

Gomio charges hostels a flat 10% booking fee for all reservations made on the site. In order to be listed on the site, hostel owners must begin by filling out this form. Gomio is also a myallocator partner.

Roomorama_Logo

Roomorama is a booking platform that caters to travelers looking for “unique, stunning” accommodations around the world. The site lists bedrooms (in a shared apartment or house), houses (the whole building), apartments, Bed and Breakfasts, hotels, and hostels.

Roomorama attracts travelers looking for a more unique experience, similar to what Airbnb provides. This also allows non-traditional hosts, such as those looking to rent out individual rooms in their home, an opportunity to show their availability.

The site does not charge hosts any fees for being listed on the site. However, guests are charged a booking fee as a percentage based on their length of stay. In order to be listed on the site, you can start by filling out this form.

HotelsByDay Logo

Tnooz recently reported on a few new booking platforms that we wanted to include as well. HotelsByDay is an interesting twist on a booking platform that plays into the sharing economy by letting hotels rent out rooms for a morning, mid-day or an afternoon stay.

The platform allows hotels to sell unused intra-day inventory and increase revenues. They argue that you can raise your revenues by up to 15% while increasing RevPar and ADR. If a hotel is located in a business district or has a lot of business travelers, HotelsByDay could sell the short-term availability in your hotel. Business travelers are probably more likely to rent a room in the middle of the day in between meetings or flights.

According to Tnooz, the booking commission is half of what normal OTAs charge at 7.5%. To learn more about setting up your property on the site, click here.

Stayful_Logo

Tnooz also included Stayful on their list of interesting, new booking platforms. Stayful allows travelers to name their price for any of the independent, boutique hotels on their platform with the help of their unique bidding system. After a customer has named their price, Stayful negotiates with the hotel on the behalf of the traveler to reach an agreement. Travelers can only book on rooms within a 30-day timeframe, so a hotelier has the opportunity to sell a room that might go unsold.

Stayful is great for unique independent hotels who are interested in selling excess inventory. According to their website, their focus is on the independent, boutique hotel, filling empty rooms at the right price and at a low cost of distribution. Stayful only lists a community-selected, curated list of hotels to list on their site. According to the Tnooz article, they charge a 10% commission on successful bookings.

In order to be considered for Stayful’s site, you can fill out the form here.

All of the above OTAs cater to a unique audience that hopefully drive more bookings. Not only will travelers have the opportunity to discover new and exciting properties, but hotels and hostels receive more bookings.

It can be tricky keeping your inventory updated across all of your marketing channels. This may explain why most hotels only sell on one or two OTAs, instead of working with these niche OTAs. That’s why we at Cloudbeds made our channel manager myallocator. It connects all of your marketing channels to one central pool of inventory. This makes sure that your inventory availability is up-to-date on every marketing channel, reducing your chances of getting overbookings.

Learn more about myallocator here, and see a complete list of niche OTAs and other marketing channels that myallocator integrates with, here.