Last Updated: 06 Oct, 2020

Strategic Decisions to Make When Building an OTA

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An Online Travel Agency (OTA) is a web-based marketplace that grants consumers to research and book travel products and services, including hotels, flights, cars, tours, cruises, activities and more, accurately with travel suppliers. Every day, millions of travelers around the world use OTAs to plan convenience and business travel.

OTAs contribute access to your ability guests in locations and at volumes that would be difficult for you to approach through your own marketing efforts. Additionally, OTAs provide market observation and tools for targeting travelers, securing and processing bookings, communicating with guests and managing reviews.

Features of Online Travel Agency

  • Multi-Currency and Multilingual
  • Dynamic  Tour Packaging
  • Responsive Web Portal
  • Multiple Sales Channels
  • Secure Payment Gateways
  • Content Management System

What are the advantages of an Online Travel Agency?

  • Comparison tools

The main advantage of using an OTA is that you can quickly and easily compare prices of accommodation, flights and more. Most have search filters and comparison tools so you can target your search.

  • Peer reviews

Another benefit to booking over an online travel agency is the review system, whereby users leave ratings and written reviews for future customers. These reviews are often only available after a user has booked a service, so they are reliable.

  • Flexible cancellation

To be featured on an online travel agency, hotels, airlines and other service providers must adhere to the OTA’s cancellation policy. All of the information is clearly laid out for the customer in an email, which makes it very user-friendly.

  • One account for all of your travel needs

Once you have used an OTA several times, it becomes very intuitive. You can also use one account for all your different travel needs, saving the hassle of entering details.

  • Internationally adaptable

OTAs personalize things like measurements and currencies to adapt to the user’s settings. Consequently, independently run establishments who may not have the resources to adapt their website internationally can compete.

Why do you need an Online Travel Agency (OTA)?


Working with an Online Travel Agency (OTA) not only boost you reach more travelers globally, it allows you to engage them when they’re researching, planning and booking their next trip. 

Discover how they work, what tools they offer and how to choose the right one for your business. The travel industry is expanding fast and is among the largest industries in the world. 

There is an ample scope for growth of your startup Online Travel Agencies (OTA’s) expected to the ever-increasing demand for the services from the travelers globally. An online travel agency is accessible to start, but there is fierce competition to tackle.

There are many entrenched companies as well new entrants who will be your direct competitors.

Choose a niche travel market




There are many travel agencies operating in a given locality. So should do everything to stand out from the competition. The perfect way is to do a market research and find out what kind of service the local community needs. 

Nowadays travelers don’t simply book tickets through agencies. They expect a whole lot more. You should be able to provide strong recommendations according to the requirements & preferences of your customers. So it’s important you should know your niche well to compete efficiently in a given market.

Reasons Why Niche Marketing is going to be the Key to achievement for Travel Agencies

  • Various motives drive people to travel
  • Focused marketing yields higher conversions
  • Increasing competition from emerging niche tour operators
  • Lower cost, higher impact

Acquire accreditation




Online Travel Aggregator (OTA), plans to opt out of the government scheme on accreditation of OTAs and bed-and-breakfast establishments, stating that it is a technology platform which cannot be assessed for the quality of service of inventory offered on the portal.

Accreditation in its simplest meaning is a process for evaluating higher learning as a way to standardize quality of education across institutions. 

There are various accrediting bodies that develop and maintain these standards and hold academic institutions accountable. There are accrediting bodies at the university level as well as the programmatic level.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) : IATA accreditation is a seal of confirmation recognized worldwide. We are devoted to working with all travel agencies to improve customer service and choice.  

IATA and NON IATA travel agents, all are consider for flight suppliers to integrate the web services in their web portals. While IATA is searching the GDS systems like Amadeus, Travelport, Sabre, Non IATA agents are looking for third party flight APIs.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) : Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is an association of leading member cruise lines committed to the extension and awareness of cruising world-wide. 

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) CLIA exists to promote all measures that foster a safe, assure and healthy cruise ship environment, educate and train its travel agent members, and promote and analyze the value, benefit and affordability of the cruise vacation experience.

As the global cruise industry trade association, CLIA contribute you with the best benefits, tools and resources to navigate the cruise industry, attract more clients and increase your earnings. Learn how you can take your career to the next level.

Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) : The Airlines Reporting Corporation contribute ticket transaction arrangement services between airlines and travel agencies and the travel management companies that sell their products in the United States. 

The Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) is the premier driver of air travel intelligence and commerce in the travel industry, with leading business solutions, travel agency credential services, process and financial management tools, and high-quality data.

Who determines if an OTA Program is accredited? : To understand why it is important for an OTA program to be accredited, we need to take a look at the accrediting bodies and understand who they are. The AOTA consist of  yet another branch known as the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy which is responsible for administering the national licensure exam all aspiring OTA’s must pass in order to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA).

Consider cost-reducing practices




Finding cost control opportunities is to analyze costs that provide value which differentiate the agency from the competition. An accessible example is a highly experienced travel agent. These costs should be studied strategic. 

All other costs should be treated tactical – basic but not the source of any aggressive advantage. Considering the high distribution channel costs, over-reliance on OTAs as an authority of business is seen as a threat to hoteliers worldwide.

How can reduce the cost of sale

  • Invest in an attractive website
  • Better  guest experience with a  booking engine
  • Put aside a budget for digital marketing
  • Increase guest loyalty
  • Review the possibilities of the GDS
  • Work with a good deception   partner

Integrate booking engines and third-party APIs




Travel agents, no longer follow the common process for booking travel deals for end customers. With the advancement of travel technology and flexibility solutions, agencies are using online travel agent software, where in end customers and sub agencies can book online. That's why, most of the travel start-ups look ahead to the OTA model.

Travel agency booking engine as the determination of your business and manage your direct and partner sales. Travel booking grant you to integrate GDS systems, feeds and suppliers' inventory into your booking engine or OTA platform. 

So B2C and B2B customers can make a search to book a flight, hotel, transfer or cruise on your travel website without getting determination to any other website like in white-label

The advanced front office booking system integrates at high level the largest travel suppliers on the market, offering services such as: 

Integrate a payment gateway


A payment gateway is an interface that authorizes payments for ecommerce websites, web portals and online stores. Online users can make the payments for their purchase, through these payments ways. 

It can be used online and offline as well. Payment gateways takes measures to assure credit card details by encipher information like credit card numbers, CVV etc to assure that information is passed energetically between the customer and the ecommerce owner company.

Payment gateway integrated systems such minimize the manual tasks and efforts desired to send receive and payments. That’s why many merchants are accept gateways like PayPal which help both buyers and sellers to send and receive payments directly and securely.

Advantage of Payment Gateway

  • Payment gateway providers assure seamless and secure transactions over internet
  • All the payment gateway API uses SSL encryption to assure the sensitive data.
  • Being the automated process
  • Payment gateway can be integrated with any standard shopping cart, available in the market.
  • With the facility of online payment, consumers can now buy the products and services online. This not only saves time but also equally convenient.
  • User and merchant get the immediate confirmation  

Ensure a user-friendly system




In order to be user-friendly, an interface must be make sense to the average user and should require minimal evidence for how to use it. A deceptive product is not user-friendly, since it will cause undue frustration for the user. A user-friendly product is predictable and does not malfunction or crash.

Simple to install

This applies to everything from operating systems to browser plug-ins. Installation is the first point of contact for customer, so it had better be a friendly process. Otherwise, they're going to be bored the second they begin using your tool.


Not only should a fragment of software work as normal, it should also be efficient. It should be optimized for definite architecture, it should have all memory leaks plugged, and it should work seamlessly with underlying structures and subsystems.

Easy to update

As with the installation, an application's update process should be accessible . If updates are complex, users will more than likely bound the process. This can often leave behind a stream of bad results, as many updates patch security holes, memory leaks, and other problems.



Travel business is rapidly expanding globally and for entrepreneurs starting travel business can be good opportunity to earn money. Now anyone how wish to start travel business can comfortably accomplish their goal.

To set up online travel agency business, travel agents need to develop travel portal and travel agency software. But while developing the OTA and travel management system you need to accept which service and products you are going to offer to your customers. Full-fledged system with advanced features and tools helps you to manage your business and build up customer service.


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