(Source: WIHP / Tnooz)
Today our partners at World Independent Hotels Promotion (WIHP) released a rather interesting (and colorful!) chart showing how guests have heard about the hotel they are booking. The chart compares the last four years of WIHP’s survey, which targets guests who have made direct bookings.
Analyzing more than 12,000 guest replies, WIHP found that once again, Friends and Family are the number one source of referrals. In 2013, Friends and Family dropped to second as TripAdvisor took the top position. WIHP surmised that this may have been due to TripAdvisor’s recently launched TripConnect, but that does not seem to be the case.
One interesting fact: OTAs are steadily declining as a source of direct booking for hotels. Although Martin Soler of WIHP says that “perhaps the hotel industry’s strategy to try and retain guests is working somewhat,” we suspect that the so-called “OTA billboard effect” may actually be diminishing as consumers are now more comfortable purchasing on OTAs (perhaps the “William Shatner effect” of Priceline?).
It’s also true that the move to mobile will also diminish the OTA billboard effect, as consumers begin booking through online apps — who wants to leave an app to book through a hotel’s poorly designed mobile website? (Another reason that hotel technology companies will need to up their game when it comes to mobile booking engines.)
OTAs aside, it’s safe bet that Friends and Family and TripAdvisor will continue to remain the best sources for hotel direct bookings. We will soon be exploring how TripAdvisor’s new TripConnect and Instant Booking releases figure into this relationship with the OTAs, but in the meantime, check out TripAdvisor’s latest report revealing top site engagement strategies for hotels.
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