November 13, 2018

Travel is increasing—both for business and leisure. Because of this, there is opportunity for companies to capitalize on the niche audience they already have by creating their own private online travel agency.

What is a Private Online Travel Agency?

An online travel agency (OTA) is a website that allows a user to book travel of any kind. A private online travel agency is a website that provides travel booking to a select group of members. It is not open to the public. A private OTA has certain advantages that a public one does not.

Why Create Your Own?

Organizations with a dedicated audience have what’s called a closed user group. Examples of a closed user group are:

  • Members of a professional or social association
  • Members of a club that paid to join
  • Employees of a specific company
  • Members of a fraternal organization
  • Members of a charitable organization
  • Students and employees of a university or college
  • Subscribers to a paid service

If you have a closed user group, you have a unique competitive advantage that retail sites like Priceline and Expedia don’t. Closed user groups are eligible for hotel rates that are discounted well below retail prices. Public sites are required to sell rates at the retail price set by the hotel. This unique discount can be offered to group members as an added value for their membership, employment, or subscription. At the same time, it can act as a revenue center for the organization.

If you have a closed user group, you also have a captive audience to market to. You have trust already built up, whereas a public OTA might not.

If you think offering travel benefits might be a good opportunity for your organization, here’s what you need to know about setting up a private online travel agency.

What does an Online Travel Agency offer?

Both private and public OTAs can offer one type of travel or several. The options are:

  • Hotels
  • Airfare
  • Car Rentals
  • Weekly Rentals
  • Cruises
  • Packages
  • Activities
  • Entertainment

Hotels offer the biggest opportunity for revenue. However, you can also offer convenience by offering multiple types of travel.

What Does an Online Travel Agency Need?


In order to sell travel reservations, you need to negotiate contracts with travel suppliers. For each type of travel offering, the process is a little different.


An online travel agency first and foremost needs to be online. This means having a booking engine (a.k.a. website) that can:

  • Recognize members using a sign-on process
  • Aggregate travel inventory
  • Present it to the customer
  • Process transactions

Build your Private OTA with Alliance

Alliance Reservation Network helps closed user groups offer travel benefits. We offer full-service travel booking engines, complete with inventory. Our members-only hotel booking engine offers the best hotel rates available from almost every relevant supplier in the industry. Our solution is perfect for organizations looking to extend their brand but don’t wish to extend beyond their core competencies.

Alliance’s solutions come with phone and email customer support and robust reporting. We take care of all accounts payable and accounts receivable for our booking engine. Our clients do not have to worry about anything except cashing checks.
Find out how Alliance can help your organization by filling out the form below.