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  • Writer's pictureSteve Shefveland

Hotels and OTA's. A Symbiotic Relationship Balanced on Cost.

The relationship between a hotel company, travel service companies and the online travel agencies (OTA's) is interesting. Is it a necessary evil? Or am I being too harsh with this phrase. Both want reservations (Sales Revenue - to be exact). And both need each other. Either side you fall on, this is good because business and leisure travelers love you both!

However there is always a cost of sales. So, at the end of the day, who partners with whom (or not at all), it is about the cost of sales, the performance metrics around that, and the opportunity cost of not partnering.

As the Founder of a global Business Process Outsourcing (Call Center Outsourcing) business, I have a unique view of this relationship. One of our call centers in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico (a 50 minute flight South on American Airlines daily) handles a large volume of customer interactions from hotels, travel services firms, rental car companies, and online travel agencies (aka OTA's, or Internet travel and booking firms). Daily, we have to convert, because both our travel and hotel and OTA partners are spending a lot of money to support these channels. We convert higher, and at less cost.

For example, we handle reservations, customer care and back-office tasks such as chat, SMS/TEXT and email for these clients. In total we average a 38% close rate (across all volume, all services) and a 92%+ NPS/C-SAT, driving tremendous value for our partners. Bottom line? We have reduced our hotel and OTA clients cost of sales by 40% or more from our Nearshore Hermosillo, Mexico site, via our lower cost of labor, lower cost of travel, and our performance in the travel market.

Lastly, we have at team of agents who sign up new hotel properties daily for several OTA's, helping them further their channel partner network (i.e. sales).

Bottom line? We feel the tension daily between these two sets of industry partners who need to justify the cost of their channel relationships: Hotels, Travel firms and OTA's. However, with the right partner handling these interactions at the right cost model, and who is close to home (USA) so it doesn't break the bank in travel time and travel, you can achieve superior results which will justify the cost of these important channels.

To learn how we can help you reduce your headaches of running a labor-based call center, streamline your operations by letting us handle weekend, overnight or peak volume calls, or by letting us handle some (or all) of these interactions, contact me at 602-312-8900, or email me at We have a lot of experience in this market and can help you.

-Steve Shefveland, Founder

Emerging Global Services, LLC

602-312-8900 /

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