Where Are Your Hotel Bookings Coming From?
February 04, 2022
Article by Ayna Gonzales
Track your hotel booking sources and find out how you can maximize your budget. Increase your occupancy and generate more revenue without spending more money.
In the digital age, everyone does everything online. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that majority of hotel bookings are done digitally, without ever having to interact with a person.
In fact, Mews.com reports that by 2023, more than 700 million people will be making online hotel reservations.
But “online hotel booking” is a vague concept. There are multiple booking channels that hotels can use and not all of them deliver the same results. It’s best to carefully examine each one and determine how you can maximize your resources.
4 Common Hotel Booking Sources
1. OTAs and Direct Website Bookings are Most Popular Hotel Booking Sources
A 2017 Cornell study found that people preferred checking an OTA for hotel listings before making any direct bookings on hotel websites. Experts argue that OTA allows customers to make comparisons between room rates. However, after looking at their options, budget-conscious guests make the effort to book directly on their chosen hotel’s website rather than pay for extra fees if they booked through the OTA.
For guests that have more disposable income, booking through an OTA is more convenient and preferable, especially if they earn points or extra perks.
On the other hand, there are guests that do not check OTAs. These are the people that have brand loyalty to specific hotels. They aren’t as concerned with getting the best deals as they are with having their expectations met. They head directly to their chosen hotel’s website to make their reservations.
2. Metasearch Sites Drive Significant Amount of Hotel Reservations
Aside from OTAs and direct website bookings, metasearch sites like Google Hotel Ads, Skyscanner, and Kayak are used by travelers without any immediate travel plans.
These platforms are used by guests when they just happen to pass by a great deal while browsing online.
In an SHR study, data analysts noticed that by 2016 metasearch engines had contributed significant revenue to hotels through their advertising and booking channels. People who didn’t want to scour OTAs or hotel websites instead turned their attention on metasearch sites to make the selection process easier.
Researchers found that many reservations were done months in advance compared to more immediate reservations done through OTAs and hotel websites. Furthermore, the study showed that the lowest room rates were being booked more frequently on these sites.
3. Social Media Is Set to Become a New Booking Source
Social media, though traditionally used for marketing purposes, has become another platform for e-commerce selling. With the arrival of Facebook Booking Engine hotels can now integrate their reservations system into the social platform.
Because Facebook controls about 45% of all online ads, it can be easier for hotels to target customers as soon as they log into the app. With the booking engine, guests can make hotel reservations directly from a Facebook page and get confirmation without ever leaving the platform.
It won’t be long before other major social media apps hop in on the trend. Some hotels have started linking their Instagram stories to their booking sites and using the built-in shopping feature to link directly to their rooms.
Tracking Your Hotel Reservations
Investing in a hotel reservations management system like ZEN eManager can help you track your booking sources. Knowing where guests are booking from gives hoteliers an insight as to how they should be allocating their marketing and acquisition budget.
For example, if you noticed that more of your guests are booking through OTAs, you may be better off investing more of your budget into having more listings on popular websites. Or if you find that your social media efforts are driving your website bookings, you can change your strategy to highlight social ads more.
By having customer booking data, hoteliers can understand how best to reach and connect with their customers. This also helps identify missed opportunities and reveal customer booking patterns. It will be easier to know what promos to use for each platform, how much advertising budget each channel should have, and which sources may need more help.
Need help increasing your occupancy rate and maximizing hotel marketing plans? Work with ZEN Hospitality Solutions. We’ll help you find the right hotel management system to improve your hotel’s performance. Talk to an expert today.
Article by: Ayna Gonzales