Earlier today, our Co-founder and CEO Frank Reeves stood on stage to a rapt audience at the inaugural Independent Hotel Show (IHS) in Amsterdam. His session explored the journey that hotels should be using to shift booker intent from Online Travel Agents (OTA’s) to their own website through revolutionary technology and personalised online guest experiences.
The session which focused on the move from ‘direct bookings’ to ‘direct relationships also explored the changes in buyer booking behaviours, and how a digital guest-centric approach along with the adoption of emerging technology can revolutionise guest experience from the start.
The platform also provided the perfect opportunity to discuss the results of the Direct Booking Survey we conducted alongside the Independent Hotel Show in April. The research project – which included feedback from nearly 150 hotels explored how the industry really feels about the rise of OTA’s. The survey was far reaching with responses from the Netherlands, UK, Belgium and Germany, with more than sixty percent of the participants being hotel owners or managers. Delving into the delicate relationship between hotels and booking sites, Frank provided this morning’s audience with the latest insights into both the frustrations and the positive side of this hard-to-manage relationship.
We’ve outlined some key key-takeaways from this morning’s session:
- An (unsurprising) 95% of hotels receive bookings from OTAs with 67% agreeing they offer a structured global hotel offering
- Almost 70% of hotels* are committed to a book direct strategy
- Website content and messaging still comes out top as the most effective direct booking tactic. This was followed closely by Social Media and Email Marketing.
The research clearly shows that while most hotels accept OTAs as part of their business model, the commission they charge is unacceptable. OTA commission originally started out at 8% but has since crept up to 15% or 18%! In addition, our research highlighted that guests typically have a poor user experience when dealing with OTAs. With no direct email or mobile numbers available, interaction can often be a nightmare.
“OTAs who we deal with for day to day issues have very limited knowledge of how the hotel industry works and the impact on the guest experience.”
There are certainly no surprises when it comes to the general theme of the OTAs dominating the market – particularly for many of the independent hotels we surveyed, however, what was pleasing to see was the focus that hotels are taking on channel shift. With 69% of respondents saying they’re committed to a strategy to increase their direct bookings and reduce reliance on the OTAs, this was refreshing to see.
There’s still more we can do as an industry, and we’re committed to supporting hotels – particularly independent hotels – to regain their place in the market and bring down the cost that is paid to OTAs every month.
Click here to see the full results of the Direct Booking Survey.
The Independent Hotel Show was founded in London in 2012 as the only live business platform dedicated entirely to the needs of luxury and boutique hoteliers in the UK; bringing together the hotelier community through our annual gatherings to support, share, educate and inspire.
*Source: Direct Booking Survey, Avvio / Independent Hotel Show, 2019
150 hoteliers surveyed from across Europe between 10-24 April 2019