Online Distribution Considerations for Independent Hotels


Change is always afoot. Thankfully, today’s hotel management software solutions give lodging operators a clear view of their business at all times, helping hoteliers identify trends and strategize accordingly to maximize revenue.

NB: This is an article from WebRezPro

As your markets change, your strategies evolve. This goes for your online distribution strategy too—it shouldn’t be left on set-and-forget mode. While recent times have been particularly unpredictable, here are some trends our industry is seeing in the aftermath of the pandemic that may be affecting your online distribution strategy.

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Demand for travel agents

More travelers are turning to travel agents to manage their bookings as widespread flight cancellations and various Covid protocols have complicated travel this side of the pandemic. It’s important to note that this surge in demand for travel agent services largely comes from vacationers, not business travelers.

While travel agents have traditionally been a source of corporate bookings, hotels catering to the leisure market may want to consider adding GDS channels into their distribution mix if they haven’t already.

Metasearch matters (look at Google!)

As of July 2022, Google has over 90% of the global search market. Highlighting the importance of metasearch, Google became a key distribution channel for hotels when it launched Google Hotel Finder (now Google Hotel Ads) in 2011.

As a metasearch channel, Google Hotel Ads (along with the likes of Tripadvisor, Trivago and Kayak) can send travel consumers to a hotel’s own website to book direct. Metasearch channels require hotels to bid for ad placements, charging hotels based on either a cost-per-click (CPC) model (whenever a traveler clicks on a hotel’s ad) or a commission-per-acquisition (CPA) model (whenever a traveler completes a booking through a hotel’s ad). When Covid cancellations began to decimate the travel industry, Google introduced its commission-per-stay model, allowing hotel partners to pay only for bookings that eventuated in an actual stay. This move boosted Google’s position in metasearch even further.

Then, in March 2021, Google released free hotel booking links within Google Hotel Ads, sending traffic to a hotel’s own website booking engine for free. In North America, Google’s free booking links have increased the number of times the direct price is included in the metasearch results from 20% to 70%, according to Triptease. While visibility of free booking links is diluted by paid ad positioning, why pass up an opportunity to gain direct bookings for free?

Although metasearch channels don’t typically bring the volume in bookings that OTAs currently do, they’ve been gaining market share throughout the pandemic (as Google has demonstrated) and still offer hotels an attractive ROI (although CPC costs are rising). Adding metasearch channels into your mix helps reach more guests and gives you ownership of the booking. Google is a no-brainer!

Read rest of the article at WebRezPro

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