Preparing for Pandemics: Reflecting on the Impact of Strategic Elements in the COVID-19 Influenced Online Travel Agencies' Marketing Mix




Hotel Booking Intention, Online Travel Agency, Marketing Mix, Minor Features, Tourism, COVID-19, Pandemics


The landscape of online hotel booking, particularly through online travel agencies (OTAs), witnessed a transformation during the COVID-19 pandemic. This shift triggered intense competition among OTA marketers. Interestingly, amidst this competitive environment, while causal predictive models exist that focus on moderate to high effects of major features on Price and hotel BI, the strategic impact of minor features has largely been overlooked. To address this gap, a frequency analysis involving a comprehensive sample of 63 OTAs identified four minor features. Subsequently, a partial least squares structural equation modeling approach explored 499 consumers’ perceptions. Two features were shown to be significant (COVID-19 Hygiene Label, Price Discount), with COVID-19 Hygiene Label mediating Price. However, Scarcity and Loyalty Program showed no direct or mediating effects. The model accounted for a strategic 29.8% R2. As COVID-19 is an ongoing recurring issue and preparation for future pandemics is prudent, the results provide valuable insights for OTA app developers aiming to gain additional predictive marginal performance advantages (i.e., .10 or greater). Implications and suggestions for future research are also offered.

Author Biographies

Rifa F. Darmawan, National Quemoy University

Rifa F. Darmawan is an e-commerce operation specialist based in Bandung, Indonesia. She has experience managing e-commerce channels, particularly in the beauty industry. Ms. Darmawan received her MBA from National Quemoy University, Taiwan. Her research interests include consumer behavior, hotels, and tourism, particularly in developing countries.

John Baker, Ton Duc Thang University

Dr. John R. Baker has taught undergraduate and graduate business administration and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) courses in the USA and Asia (Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam). His research interests include areas in both fields and how these come together in an interdisciplinary nature.