Updated May 2022 – As a tour operator, broadening your revenue streams and increasing your booking levels are one of your main focuses. One of the keys to achieving this goal is by expanding your distribution channels by partnering with different resellers. An effective way to get started is by working with an Online Travel Agent (OTA) to increase your bookings and your revenue. Being on an online travel agency list increases your chances of being discovered by millions of people looking to book their next tours and activity, online.

In today’s article, we’ll go through the importance of OTAs, who the biggest players are in the game based on region, and how you can make the most of working with OTAs.

But first, what are OTAs?

OTAs are booking websites that provide a one-stop-shop for all things related to travel. Whether that be airfare, car rentals, vacation rentals, cruises, hotel bookings and hostels, vacation packages, tours and activities, and more. Travelers seeking a convenient way to book their entire travel itinerary from one booking site would come to an OTA.

Some of the biggest OTA players currently within the travel market include the likes of:

  • Booking.com
  • Expedia group
  • Agoda
  • Trip.com
  • Airbnb
  • Trivago
  • Viator
  • Get Your Guide
  • Hotels.com
  • Tripadvisor

These top online travel agencies attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to their sites daily – making them a great partner to work with to boost your booking levels.

What are the benefits of using an online travel agency?

benefits of using OTAs

As a tour provider, OTAs provide a range of benefits for your business and your customers.

Benefits for travelers:

  • It’s a one-stop-shop where they can browse and make travel bookings with over hundreds of different brands and suppliers within the travel industry
  • It provides travelers with the convenience of being able to compare and place a booking with different companies, all while being able to pay for the entire itinerary at once
  • OTAs provide travelers with a sense of trust in booking from a familiar and reputable name. Travelers that may be venturing to a foreign country may not always want to book directly through an OTA travel website that they’re not familiar with
  • OTAs provide travelers with a user-friendly platform. They’re constantly updating and implementing greater features on their website to boost and simplify the user experience

Benefits for operators:

  • Provides greater reach and exposure for your business, especially within the international market
  • OTAs help to fill the gap to close available seats, especially during lower seasons by easily accepting last-minute bookings
  • Enhances your content for thousands of international travelers by translating your tour descriptions into multiple different languages
  • Most OTAs such as Viator provides an easy and thorough onboarding experience

The best online travel agents on a global scale

1. Viator

Top online travel agency list - Viator

About the company:

Unlike certain OTAs that list a multitude of different travel products, Viator is wholly focused on tours and activities. It sells its products to a global consumer base at Viator.com, 60 additional consumer-facing websites, mobile websites, and apps, and through its global network of affiliates. Viator’s listings are supported by more than 500,000 reviews, photos, and videos posted by travelers. It boasts 9 million visitors per month.

How it works:

Viator will need to approve you first! They will check with the local visitor’s bureau and relevant associations to see that you’re a legitimate business. Then they’ll make sure that your customer service is on par, usually by sending a destination expert to test the products themselves. Another cool thing that Viator does is create a site specifically for tour guides. Here, guides can list tours, licenses, photos, availability, and payment details. The site will allow real customer reviews, SMS booking notifications, and an online booking function. 

To register as a tour guide on Viator, click here.

To apply as a supplier on Viator, click here.

2. Get Your Guide

Top online travel agency list - Get Your Guide

About the company:

GetYourGuide is the premier booking platform for incredible travel experiences. It’s a two-sided B2C marketplace that connects travelers with thousands of activities and attractions worldwide. Since launching in 2009, GetYourGuide has raised more than $650 million and sold over 30 million tickets.

As of 2021, they’ve listed over 35,000 tours and activities in over 7,440 destinations. Their platform receives an average of 2.5 million visitors per month from all around the world. And these numbers are continuously growing.

How it works:

Site visitors start by selecting a destination they’d like to go to or a specific attraction they’re interested in participating in. GetYourGuide will then showcase a selection of travel products from various travel companies within the search criteria. Whether it’s transportation that’s required to get around town, fun activities such as paddle boarding or kayak, or something more interactive like taking a cooking class. All these travel services will be listed so travelers can compare and create the best itinerary that suits their needs.

If you’re an operator interested in working with GetYourGuide, ensure you’ve got a booking engine that integrates seamlessly with their system. Rezdy is proud to be recognized as one of the top-tier premium connectivity partners within GetYourGuide’s Connectivity Partner Program which acknowledges the best-performing reservation and ticketing systems. This ranking is based on the partner’s API Performance, API Features, and the Business Value & Engagement with GetYourGuide.

The integration between our system and GetYourGuide is seamless and provides operators with an easy and automatic booking process. When a customer places a booking through GetYourGuide, you’ll manually have to input the booking details into your manifest, reports, and CRM. With Rezdy, all of this data is automatically processed. This saves you time and also ensures that you never make a mistake, forget a booking or miss a payment.

To apply, click here.

Top OTAs by region

With the various online OTA travel agency list to choose from, it’s important to consider its popularity per region to have a successful partnership.

AMER – Expedia

Top online travel agency list - Expedia

About the company:

Expedia.com is the largest travel company in the world and is extremely popular within the American region. It was named Top Travel Company on Travel Weekly’s 2013 Power List. With a global presence in over 70 countries, Expedia receives over 50 million unique visitors each month, and its mobile apps are downloaded nearly 80 million times at a rate of over 200 downloads per minute.

How it works:

Site visitors start by selecting from the option of stays for accommodation, flights for airfare, cars for car rentals, things to do for tours and activities, and packages for a combination of two or more of the options listed. Expedia will then offer a selection of suggestions based on the options listed above.

To apply, click here.

APAC – RedBalloon

Top online travel agency list - Redballoon

Redballoon is an extremely popular OTA within the Asia-Pacific region. They’re an Australian-owned company that has been operating since 2001 and have had over 4 million tours and activities booked on its site. Unlike Expedia, which caters to a variety of travel products, RedBalloon only sells experiences such as outdoor activities, wine and food tours, water sports, and spa and wellness – to name a few.

How it works:

When you visit their website, they’ve cleverly curated their product offerings into different types of categories. These categories include Experiences – which outlines the different categories of the tours and activities they offer, location, seasonal events such as Mother’s Day experiences, gift ideas, business travel ideas, bucket list experiences, and newly listed products.

From these options, customers have the chance to browse through the categories that best suit their needs. For example, someone looking for a gift for their partner can browse through the list of gift ideas for men, gift ideas for women, or even gifts for couples.

To apply, click here

EMEA – Headout

Top online travel agency list - Headout

Headout is the go-to OTA within Europe, the Middle East, and the African region. Just like Redballoon which solely focuses on selling experiences within APAC, Headout offers experiences in over 60 cities and 40 countries, most of which are within the EMEA region.

As of February 2022, they claim that the company has grown by 800% within the past year and has had over 10 million bookings made on their site. They’ve recently raised $30M in their recent series B funding in early 2022 after only months of raising $12M in the series A funding back in September 2021.

How it works:

Headout’s main goal is to make traveling more fun & spontaneous. They don’t list the travel company, nor does it reveal the brand of the tour operator. Instead, they only let the customer know what type of tour or activity they’re purchasing.

Travelers looking to book through Headout start their journey by selecting their travel destination. A variety of experiences will then be showcased based on the type of tour or activity and its pricing. For example cruises, museum tours, sightseeing tours, entertainment, food and drink tours, popular things to do in the city, etc.

Operators in Europe that sell their tours on Headout say that the company is growing fast, selling hard, and pushing for better rates for operators.

To apply, click here

Integrate your booking system with your Agent listings

Working with OTAs provides tour operators with a wide range of benefits. From expanding their business reach to millions on a global scale, boosting their booking levels and revenue streams, and broadening their distribution channels. However, the more bookings that come through to your business from an OTA, the bigger the admin duties.

Without an online booking software, operators will need to manually input the booking details received from OTAs into their system. This opens up gaps that lead to errors such as mistakes when updating and inputting details into the system, missing payments, and over/double-booking. This can be extremely detrimental to business operations, especially during busy periods.

An online booking software like Rezdy easily integrates with all of the OTAs listed in this article and provides operators with a seamless booking process. Rezdy will help you showcase your real-time availability on the OTA’s site, easily process bookings and payments, and automatically update the system and manifests.

Furthermore, Rezdy offers the most progressive channel manager distribution channel within the experiences industry – Rezdy Channel Manager. Listing your products on Rezdy Channel Manager connects you to over 25,000 resellers including the biggest OTAs that are ready to promote and sell your products. 

Using Rezdy Channel Manager is as easy as: 

  • Naming your price
  • Setting your commission rates
  • Let resellers sell and promote your products.

And on top of that, Rezdy Channel Manager simplifies the payment process by collecting payments and paying commissions. This reduces the need to chase your agents for payments.

Curious to see how Rezdy fits for your business? Start you FREE 21-day trial or book a demo today.

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