The importance of online distribution for hotels

Direct booking channels (e.g. your website) are the bread and butter of a hotel’s digital strategy. Rooms sold on your website are not charged any commission, after all. However, 3rd party websites still present a significant advantage for customer acquisition and digital distribution, which may increase substantially a hotel’s revenue. To understand the importance of online distribution on platforms such as booking.com and Expedia, first we have to understand why guests browse these websites. 

Why do guests book on online travel agencies? 

Considering the fast-paced, tech-savvy world we live in, efficiency has become crucial in travel planning. Tourists have numerous decisions to make, ranging from the destination to the duration of the trip, which makes them lean towards the easier booking journey.  Aggregators and OTAs present a range of options on the same website, taking away the need to visit dozens of hotels’ websites in order to emulate a similar experience of options and rates. 

Another influencing factor is the implied trust of well-known websites. When compared to the polish and technology available on pages such as Expedia, many hotels’ websites do not inspire credibility, especially when they have outdated designs and usability problems. Many potential guests choose to book from third parties over booking directly in order to reduce their anxiety.

How do third-party booking websites benefit your hotel? 

The first aspect that stands out when looking at booking websites is their reach. In July 2019, Booking.com had a staggering 697 million visits . Certainly, each property received only a tiny fraction of these visits, but any website with such high traffic reflects huge potential of business. Add them all up together and you are looking at a number in the billions. 

Booking.com and similar websites invest huge amounts of money in paid advertisement and SEA campaigns, which means they appear frequently in relevant search results. By partnering with many of these platforms you make your hotel more likely to be found on the internet. A diversity in online distribution increases the potential for both active and passive improvement of your room occupancy.

It is important to consider, however, that this strategy requires a well-planned pricing strategy so that you have a justifiable profit after the commissions are charged. Hoteliers should not overlook the importance of quality when thinking of quantity.

How can hoteliers optimize multi-channel management?  

As hotels partner with more third-party websites they increase the time needed to manage more channels. This is not an easy task, especially if hoteliers do it on their own.  

Thankfully there are solutions to help you manage your property’s online distribution and online presence. If you would like to know how RegiÔtels helps take the effort away so that you can focus on your guests, please visit: https://www.regiotels.com/revenue-management/ 

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