TravelClick, the technology specialist with 38,000 hotel clients worldwide, has released data on how individual leisure and business travelers made hotel reservations in the US during the second quarter of 2016.
Direct, or “brand.com”, bookings were up 6% in the second quarter of 2016, compared with the second quarter of 2015.
That rise represents somewhat higher reservations growth than the 3.3% growth rate for bookings made through online travel agents (OTAs, like Expedia and Booking.com) during the same period, compared with a year earlier.
In-person travel agents (using global distribution systems) experienced the most growth in bookings during the second quarter: up 7.4%, compared with second quarter 2015.
TravelClick says that if current trends hold, it expects to report more growth when the third quarter is complete, especially for the brand.com channel.
Based on actual reservations for the third quarter, 33% of reservations are in the brand.com channel, 20.5% are direct to the hotel, 12.2% are via an agent and a travel agent’s global distribution system, and 21.6% are via OTAs. (Calls to a hotel’s 800-number took up the remaining share.)
As usual, the statistics can be interpreted in numerous ways. But the numbers are likely to be greeted by some hoteliers as a positive sign that their efforts to push more travelers into booking direct are having an effect.
For example, Hilton has been running a ‘Stop Clicking Around’ campaign that it says is its biggest in 97 years, promising discounts for direct bookings as a way to cut out middleman fees.
The broad picture is still hazy. In the second quarter, Expedia said it had no hit from hotel chain direct booking campaigns, and major hotel chain quarterly reports presented a mixed picture.
It’s not all growth. Older methods of making reservations are fading away.
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