An online travel agency (OTA) is an e-commerce website or app that provides access to a variety of travel products and services, such as lodging, airfare, transportation and tour experiences. It acts as a kind of Everything Store for travel, making it easy for customers to find what they are looking for and to book their reservations on one platform.
OTAs also act as a distribution channel for hotels, and are becoming increasingly important in the industry, especially since consumers often compare prices on multiple sites before making their decisions. This means that it is crucial for hoteliers to be active on a wide range of OTAs to increase brand awareness and drive bookings, including direct ones.
Many travelers appreciate the convenience of booking through an OTA. It’s a one-stop shop for all their needs, and they can make changes to their itinerary at any time without having to call multiple numbers. However, some travelers are concerned about the reliability of these platforms and the quality of customer service they provide.
OTAs are also responsible for collecting and remitting taxes. This depends on whether they are considered a marketplace facilitator or merchant of record, which can vary by taxing jurisdiction. For example, in Kansas, marketplace facilitators must collect and remit sales tax on third-party lodging, but they are not liable for the net rate of hotel accommodations. It is essential to understand your OTA’s tax status and how it relates to your company’s policies and procedures. online travel agency