From all to zero - An operators view of when and how to work with OTA’s

Jason Williams, iFly Queenstown, is going to share the journey of iFly from setting up 3 years ago and using OTA’s prolifically to grow the business, and fast forwarding to today with zero product listed on OTA’s.

In this video, you'll hear:

Working with OTA's initially....

Year one for iFly - very much about growth.  Involved in everything you could do, including lots of OTA's, and they defintely worked for us to build audience quickly.

In our peak usage of OTA's we worked with 21. But it wasn't easy going....

  • Many didn't pay their bills on time, even up to 6 months (including well known international OTA's)
  • Many only put through a handful of bookings a month, it almost wasn't the paper work and chase up for unpaid bills.
  • Grabone was being redeemed in our peak period.  Even with blackouts the customers won’t accept it, reducing our yield in busy periods.

11.9% revenue was agents, we had a strong business of direct due to our prime location with high numbers of walkers by.

And then pulling all listings over 2020/2021

Covid forced us to remodell our products for domestic audience.  That also mean adjusting prices, leaving less room for the large commissions some OTA's ask (25%+). Even so, 2020 was bigger for us (post covid) compared to the year prior.

In 2021, after pulling our listings from OTA's...

  • Website Conversion has increased 400%.  
  • We don't have anyone competing for Google Ad spend on our main keywords anymore.  We could have been paying up to $7/click but it's now around $2.

Some tips for working with OTA's:

  • Placement makes on the OTA make a big difference to performance. Negotiate to ensure you get good placement.
  • Negotiate terms and make sure it works for you. You do have an alternative.... to list no products.
  • Work with those that provide you control of times of day and black out periods to offer your products.