Let’s face the facts: it’s not always easy to understand the impact of your direct booking campaign.
We know it tends to get complicated. As important as direct bookings are for hotels, there’s still an incentive to downplay any short-term negative repercussions. And the truth is, the results of major brands’ campaigns results have varied.
Recent revelations have Marriott pointing to a 20-basis point impact on RevPar, while IHG hasn’t reported any impact at this time. Now remember – back in May, Hilton was seeing positive early results; Hyatt’s index in individual hotels was up; and Choice Hotel International’s direct channel held the largest share of revenue across its various distribution channels.
As these campaigns have launched and remained live, OTAs such as Expedia and Priceline claim to have felt zero impact – despite third parties trying (and abandoning) dimming tactics and testing new means and innovations of attracting guests.
Enter: new data.
TravelClick has observed a wide range of booking data to provide a great window into today’s reality. After tracking year-over-year shifts in channel, TravelClick’s data found that year-over-year, Brand.com jumped from 4% to 6% growth in the last quarter – for big brands. And for these players, OTA growth has been slower or near flat for most of 2016.
The catch? Small and independents’ year-over-year have suffered.
The growth of smaller Brand.com groups have stopped and lead to a decline in the direct channel, partially due to additional bookings via OTAs. TravelClick’s year-over-year data shows OTAs’ growth jumped from 3% to 6% in just the summer alone.
So yes, while the major players’ Book Direct campaigns have had a significant impact on Brand.com’s bookings (and a corresponding decrease in OTA booking growth), the smaller groups and independents are seeing a shift in the opposite direction.
Perhaps this is the outcome of third party dimming’s benefit for smaller groups at the expense of big brands. Or, maybe it’s the influx of OTA bookings that resulted in independents running out of inventory and shifting to their direct channel.
Given the picture this data paints, do hotels need to retool their strategies? Revamp their amenities? Luxe-out their loyalty program? Each hotel has its own secret sauce that attracts and keeps guests on-property – and on-site.
We know that at the end of the day, direct is more. More money in your pocket to reinvest in your guests, your property, and your services. It’s what’s best – for you and guests.