Online hotel bookings continue to rise, according to data collected by TravelClick in their North American Distribution Review (NADR) for Fourth Quarter 2013. In that report, TravelClik found that hotel bookings through Online Travel Agents (OTAs) and direct hotel websites grew more than any other online booking channels in the third quarter of 2013.
Of those two leading channels, OTAs grew the most, with a 13.6% increase compared to Q3 2012. Direct hotel websites got 5.3% more bookings. Interestingly enough, though probably not completely surprising, that while these online booking channels saw growth, the more traditional methods of hotel booking saw decline. Hotel Direct Reservations (meaning walk-in guests and those that called the hotel to make a reservation) remained steady at -0.2% and calls to hotel 800 numbers went down 5.5%.
TravelClik (www.travelclick.com) also studied the average daily rates (ADR) in Q3, which went up 3.6% in all channels, with the OTA seeing the highest with a full 8% growth rate. So far in quarter 4, the ADR for OTA is up 7.1%, with the other channels (like Hotel Direct and hotel websites) also seeing growth already.
Out of all of the hotel rooms booked in Q3 of 2013, going to the hotel’s direct website was the most popular way of hotel booking, occupying 27% of all of the rooms booked. Next was through Hotel Direct methods (24.7%), followed by travel agents using a Global Distribution Systems (18.4%), 800 numbers (15%), and OTAs (14.9%).
While online channels are seeing the most growth, it’s clear from the numbers above that they are still not the far-and-away preferred method of booking a hotel. As a result, hoteliers should resist the urge to pour all of their marketing budget into online channels. Yes, it’s likely that this growth will continue and that, perhaps, online bookings will one day become the exclusive way of booking a hotel. After all, OTAs are just a tenth of a percent from overtaking 800 numbers. But with the traditional methods of hotel booking still going so strong, hoteliers should still reserve a good bit of their marketing dollars for brochures, television commercials, print ads, and other media through which they can communicate with those not opting to book online.