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Where Do Direct Bookings Come From?



Analyzing the true source of direct bookings for a hotel is a tricky task that requires more than simple online analytics such as referring sites. Knowing with some certainty how guests have come to book on a hotel’s website can only be determined by asking each guest how they discovered the hotel.


At WIHP we go to great lengths to ensure all of our “big data” is being used to optimize our marketing strategies.


For the past three years, we have surveyed over 40,000 hotel guests and published the trends of how guests heard about a hotel and why they decided to book on the hotel website. The findings are almost always surprising.


2011 - 2013 Direct Booking Sources

2011 - 2013 Direct Booking Sources

In 2011, we were as surprised as most online marketers to re-discover that word of mouth from friends and families was the number one source of direct bookings.


In 2012 we saw OTAs gain market share and drive even more direct bookings for hotels. Making the first fully verified fact out of the ”billboard effect” theory that had long been talked about in hotel marketing circles. So much so that almost a quarter (24.82%) of direct bookings came from the billboard effect. Which alone justifies working with OTAs and discredits the ludicrous “battle against OTAs”.


This year is no exception with TripAdvisor becoming the most important factor in direct bookings over OTAs and even Friends and Family. The company has recently gone to great lengths to increase it’s position as a friend of the independent hotels by opening it’s TripAdvisor advertising platform to hotels directly. While we haven’t found any evidence that this would have caused the change, it’s an important statistic for the future of the platform as a direct revenue source.


2013 Direct Booking Sources

2013 Direct Booking Sources

This survey was collected from over 15,000 hotel guests that have booked directly on hotel websites during the second quarter of 2013.

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Martin Soler

VP Marketing and Sales

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