Corporate bookings through global distribution systems remain vital to hotel chains despite the fact they now receive 75% of bookings through their own distribution channels, according to new data.
Bookings by travel agents through GDS suppliers accounted for 16.8% of corporate hotel bookings for the second quarter of 2012, compared to 9.1% through online travel agents.
The remainder of bookings were all made through the hotel’s own channels: 21.3% through hotels own websites; 36.7% direct through walk-in trade or calls direct to hotels; and 16.1% through hotels’ central reservations offices.
Hotel intelligence specialist TravelClick, which works with 30,000 hotels worldwide, revealed the statistics at the fourth annual Advantage Hotel Hero Conference.
Douglas Green, TravelClick’s enterprise director of sales for Europe, said the importance of the GDS channel was “good news” for agents but admitted hotels often “lost their focus” on the GDS channel despite it being the highest-revenue distribution channel. “The GDS’ provide the highest daily rates but hotels sometimes forget this,” he said.
Hotels are also increasing the rates offered through online travel agencies after offering cheaper rates at the start of the financial crisis in 2008 in order to boost bookings through this, said Green.
“Online travel agents seem to have had their day in the sun and reality is coming back to the market and we expect that to continue. Hotels have realised these bookings can be very profitable for them so we are seeing a trend of the average daily rate [through OTAs] rising,” he added.
He predicted OTAs could even see their inventories “squeezed” as hotels focus more on the GDS as a distribution channel.
The figures also revealed that the Middle East was the only destination to suffer a drop in hotel revenues for the second quarter. Its average daily rates fell 2.3% despite double-digit occupancy levels of 10.7% suggesting hoteliers under-charged in the region, said Green.