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The Future of Direct Bookings: Hotels and Accommodations Facing a Tough Battle in the Next Decade

The Future of Direct Bookings looks Bleak

BookBetterDirect Direct Bookings Distribution Forecast Shows OTAs Rising by 10% in 2031

Hold onto your hats, hoteliers and tourism professionals—according to the BookBetterDirect.com Forecast: Direct Bookings vs OTA Bookings 2022-2031, the battle between direct bookings and Online Travel Agents (OTAs) is taking a dramatic turn. We are eagerly awaiting confirmation!

Upcoming: HOTREC Hotel Distribution Study 2024

Every two years, the European umbrella association of hotels, restaurants, and cafés, HOTREC, conducts a pivotal study in collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland Valais (HES-SO Valais-Wallis).

The upcoming study, set to be released in June/July 2024, will reveal the state of the European hotel distribution market for 2023.

This eagerly anticipated report is the sixth of its kind and aims to shed light on the ongoing booking war between OTAs and direct bookings.

HOTREC Hotel Distribution Study 2022

The Hotrec statistic from 2022 revealed a striking trend: although the hotel industry saw a significant increase in direct bookings during the pandemic, this gain was not sustained post-pandemic. This raises a critical question for the future of direct bookings in the hotel industry. 

According to BookBetterDirect’s CEO and Founder, Sabine Holtkamp, the inability to maintain these gains was due to several factors. 

She, explains: “The initial surge in direct bookings during the pandemic was a silver lining for many hotels, and shows that it is possible to increase direct bookings! This was driven by travelers’ desire for flexibility and direct communication. 

However, as travel returned to normalcy, the overwhelming advertising power of OTAs, combined with their extensive reach and customer loyalty programs, drew customers back.

Additionally, many hotels and DMOs lack the knowledge, digital infrastructure, and marketing strategies to compete effectively. Moreover, constant competition between neighboring hosts and destinations divides the community, hampering collaborative efforts to build a united front. 

This has led to a regression to pre-pandemic booking patterns. But let’s wait and see what the HOTREC study 2024 has to say, and hopefully we are proven wrong.”

To predict the future, you have to look at the past.

BookBetterDirect prediction 2022-2031

At BookBetterDirect, we’re on the edge of our seats waiting for these results.

Will the OTAs, with their $14+ billion advertising budgets in 2023, continue to dominate, or will hotels reclaim ground as they did briefly during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Place your bets, because we’re about to dive into some shocking forecasts for Germany, Austria and Europe.

 

Germany: The Battle Intensifies

In 2021, Germany saw 59.90% of bookings made directly with hotels according to the HOTREC 2022 study, while OTAs held 34.30% of the market.

Unless drastic measures are taken, our forecast for 2031 predicts an enormous shift: OTAs are expected to gain 14.5% more bookings, rising to 48.93%.

Direct bookings, on the other hand, will see a dip to 51.07%.

The remaining loss will be absorbed by traditional partners and tourism organizations, who tradtionally play a very little role in the direct booking game.

Austria: A Steeper Decline

Austria, which had 63.70% direct bookings and 26.50% OTA bookings in 2021, is expected to see more significant changes. 

Without taking any drastic actions, our forecast for 2031 for Austria predicts that OTAs are to increase their share by 16.2%. 

Direct bookings will suffer a 10.15% decline, dropping to 53.55%. 

The remaining loss will be taken over by traditional partners and tourism organizations.

A Grim Outlook for 2031?

Unless we all make some radical changes, our forecast for 2031 is even more startling. 

In Austria, direct bookings are predicted to decrease by 10%, falling to 53.55%.

Direct Bookings 2021
0 %

Austria
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Direct Bookings 2031
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In Germany, the forecast shows a 7.83% decline, with direct bookings dropping to 51.07%.

Direct Bookings 2021
0 %

Germany
🇩🇪

Direct Bookings 2031
0 %

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The Lone Winners: France, Italy, and Turkey

Despite these troubling trends, there are bright spots on the horizon. 

Our predictions for 2031 suggest that France, Italy, and Turkey will be the only European countries where direct bookings will see an increase. 

Switzerland, although not a winner, will see the least decline among European nations.

What Will HOTREC’s Study Reveal?

Will these predictions hold true?

We’ll soon find out when Professor Roland Schregg and his team at HES-SO Valais-Wallis present their findings in the HOTREC Hotel Distribution Study 2024.

This study will confirm whether the tides have indeed turned in favour of OTAs or if hotels have managed to make a significant comeback.

[Read the old HOTREC 2022 study]

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

What we think:

Time for a Radical change in Direct Booking Aquisition

Despite hoteliers, hosts and DMOs pouring massive amounts of effort into SEO, Google Ads, and social media promotions, the direct booking needle doesn’t seem to be moving in their favour.

If these forecasts are accurate, the future for direct bookings looks bleak.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

At BookBetterDirect, we believe it’s time for a radical change. We are convinced that we can turn the tide.

Not with the traditional methods hoteliers and DMOs have in their toolbox, but with something different. Something bold and revolutionairy.

Our innovative approach is designed to ensure that guests receive the best deals while supporting the local economies and achieving a more sustainable tourism industry.

We empower hoteliers and apartment owners, providing them with the tools they need to achieve more direct bookings.

By focusing on transparency, fairness, and sustainability, we aim to counteract the dominance of OTAs and put the power back in the hands of those who deserve it most.

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

Ready to be part of the change?

Join us in this revolution and create a future where direct bookings are the norm.

Become a BookBetterDirect Member and be a part of the change that can turn the tide in favour of direct bookings.

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Stay tuned, stay informed, and let’s make the future of direct bookings bright together.

First Published: 31/05/2024
Updated: 11/06/2024

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