What does BahamaGo do?
BahamaGo is an OTA which works to help smaller hotels and airlines based in The Bahamas effectively increase their online distribution.
What’s the company’s niche?
Through our initial market research, we observed the smaller end of the hotel spectrum was increasingly being overlooked by the large OTA players. We therefore decided to focus on this set of properties, which are usually 10 rooms or less and owner-operated. We find we can add the most value to this sector; those who usually lack the resources and time to effectively manage their own online distribution.
How does BahamaGo work with small hotels?
Unlike mainstream OTAs, BahamaGo works on a very integrated, case-by-case approach with our hotel partners. Usually this involves first shifting the property owners onto an integrated Property Management System (PMS) and away from manual methods of reservation management, such as journals or Excel sheets. A good PMS, eliminates many of the headaches involved with more manual methods of reservation management. Moreover, one that is online and cloud-connected allows for easy real-time, online distribution.
Why is real time online distribution so important?
The trend for hotel bookings has and continues to be increasingly important for online bookings. In the competitive landscape of hotels, it is critical that a hotel makes it is easy as possible for a potential customer to find and book rooms. Effective online distribution achieves this by enabling bookings from a number of various channels. These include the hotel’s own website and a large number of OTA websites, as well as social media and comparison sites, like Facebook and Trip Advisor. At BahamaGo, we work with our hotel partners to encourage distribution on our own site, but also a variety of other channels listed above.
What systems do you use to ensure you keep track of bookings and compete with brick and mortar travel agents?
The primary system we use is helping us is a PMS from a company called Hotelogix. They provide an industry-leading cloud-based product, which we were able to easily integrate with our own OTA booking engine and scale as needed. If offers an extensive range of distribution channels and a price point that we and our clients find extremely appealing.
What are the challenges and opportunities in growing your client base globally?
Given our niche, BahamaGo continues to see opportunities in the underserved end of the hotel spectrum. We find this more in countries like The Bahamas and the rest of the Caribbean where smaller, and often more rustic boutique resorts can benefit from our experience in online distribution. On the flip side, those very properties can sometimes present some hesitation to new technology. Especially those owned by older, less tech-savvy owners.
What’s next for BahamaGo?
In addition to expanding our reach further out into The Caribbean region, from our Bahamas base we are also now increasing our product range to encompass more B2B type services. For example, we are currently working with Bahamas Ministry of Tourism in helping upgrade their flagship website, Bahamas.com, transforming it from purely informational to transactional. We hope to add this sort of value to other Ministries and tourism boards in the region.