This year’s list of the Top 12 hotel booking revenue makers for German hotels reveals an increasingly diversified landscape, in line with global tendencies and primarily driven by hoteliers adapting to the behaviours of what SiteMinder has identified as the ‘dynamic traveller’. This new and evolved hotel guest is used to an always-connected world of digitally-enabled commerce opportunities. As such, hotels are increasingly adopting holistic hotel commerce strategies to guarantee a consistent, frictionless customer experience across all touchpoints in the guest journey.
With the German and global hotel industries growing again after another dip in November through to December—as shown by SiteMinder’s World Hotel Index—now is the time for accommodation providers to reassess their commerce strategies and ensure they are in the best position themselves to drive up revenue, secure direct bookings and increase their market share.
A direct bookings boom
Last year saw sustained growth in direct bookings for German hotels, with bookings secured via hotel websites jumping from fourth to second place among the country’s leading revenue-generators. This correlates with the 33% year-on-year growth in direct bookings we saw through SiteMinder’s open hotel commerce platform in the first half of last year, while SiteMinder’s Changing Traveller Report showed 35% of German travellers in 2021 planned to book their next hotel stay directly.
While this partly reflects guests seeking a personal touch during a period where travel was often subject to disruption, it is also a result of the fact that today’s tech-savvy guests are prepared to hop seamlessly between channels in search of the best deals.
For their part, hoteliers have expanded their investment in the latest technology, such as booking engines, hotel websites and friction-free payment processors, as well specialist digital marketing apps such as Sojern, HiJiffy, Triptease and The Hotels Network that are designed to increase direct booking conversion. Accommodation providers are also making greater use of metasearch, in order to make Google, trivago, Tripadvisor and others work for their benefit, by giving their property visibility and clicks to their hotel website.
Hoteliers can help drive direct bookings by investing in the strategies above and offering at least rate parity on their website as compared to other channels.
The rise of Airbnb
Airbnb jumped from eighth to fifth in our list of Germany’s top revenue-generators, earning it SiteMinder’s ‘High Riser’ designation. To fully reap the rewards this channel can offer, accommodation providers would do well to emphasise facilities for long-term guests seeking a ‘live-in’ experience, including wifi and workspaces for ‘digital nomads’, and kitchens, free parking, pet-friendly policies, and swimming pools. Hotels should also ensure they use high quality photos which match Airbnb requirements and users’ expectations.
A continued focus on regional channels, wholesalers and GDS
A ‘High Riser’ last year, Kurzurlaub.de again performed strongly in 2021, benefiting from domestic guests choosing to stay in Germany. With domestic travellers accounting for 71.62% of hotel arrivals in February 2022 at the time of writing, hoteliers would do well to continue cultivating these relationships.
Wholesalers also remain an important source of revenue for many accommodation providers, with leading bedbank Hotelbeds again among the Top 12 in Germany, as it was in each market we analysed. Accommodation businesses should ensure they are employing an effective approach to wholesale distribution, at a time when wholesalers are striving to to improve their reputations, and when it is becoming increasingly viable to manage wholesale rates dynamically.
Likewise, with business travel recovering and travel agents gaining fresh relevance due to ongoing wariness about possible disruption among some bookers, global distribution systems have also performed consistently strongly globally, and rose from seventh to sixth position in Germany.
In today’s world of digitally-empowered consumers, the key to success is customer experience. Hoteliers should ensure that guests enjoy a consistent, quality and smooth customer journey, from their first contact with the hotel to the moment they check out and beyond. Those that can do so will be the best placed to convert dynamic travellers from prospects into guests, and win them over as returning guests or brand advocates.
As originally published in gastrotel.de.