What is a hotel booking site?
A hotel booking site, also known as an online travel agency (OTA), is a platform where travellers can book accommodations over the internet. These sites often provide comprehensive information about the hotel, including room availability, amenities, prices, location, and user reviews.
The best hotel booking sites can list a large number of hotels from various regions, providing travellers with a wide array of options to choose from. They typically allow users to compare prices, facilities, and locations of multiple hotels at once, making it easier for them to find the option that best suits their needs.
For hotel managers, these sites provide a way to reach a wider audience and fill rooms that might otherwise remain unbooked. However, this usually comes with a commission fee for each booking made through their platform.
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Why should medium- and large-sized hotels connect with the best hotel booking sites?
Medium and large-sized hotels can significantly benefit from partnering with the best hotel booking sites for several reasons:
- Global Exposure: Hotel booking sites have an international user base. This allows hotels to reach out to a global audience, extending their reach beyond local and national markets.
- Higher Occupancy Rates: By listing on these platforms, hotels can increase their visibility and attract more bookings, which can help to maintain higher occupancy rates.
- Trust and Credibility: Established booking sites have earned the trust of millions of travellers. Being listed on these platforms can enhance a hotel’s credibility and reputation.
- Ease of Booking: These platforms offer streamlined booking processes that make it easy for travellers to make reservations, potentially leading to higher conversion rates. New analysis has shown that traveller confidence has surged this year – but only hotels that enable straightforward booking processes will be able to capitalise.
- Reviews and Ratings: Guest reviews and ratings on these platforms provide valuable feedback for hotels to improve their services. Positive reviews can also boost a hotel’s reputation and attract more bookings.
- Marketing and Promotion: Many booking sites offer promotional opportunities and marketing tools that hotels can use to increase their visibility on the platform, such as sponsored listings or special deals.
- Analytics and Insights: Booking platforms often provide hotels with valuable data and insights about their performance and the market, which can be used to make informed business decisions.
However, you should also be mindful of the costs associated with these platforms, as they typically charge a commission on each booking. It’s important to balance the benefits of increased exposure and bookings with these costs to ensure a profitable strategy.
What are the best hotel booking sites?
Some of the top most commonly listed booking sites include:
- Google Hotels
Top tips for using the best sites for hotel booking effectively
There are many providers that could be considered among the best third party hotel booking sites, but not every site is the right choice for your business, and there is still work that must be done to make the most of the sites you choose to list with. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Research and compare
Before deciding on which hotel booking sites to partner with, it’s crucial to research and compare different platforms. Consider factors such as their user base, commission rates, market focus (e.g., domestic vs. international), and the type of travellers they attract. It’s also important to assess the platforms’ features, such as their booking process, review system, and promotional opportunities. This will help you select the platforms that best align with your hotel’s needs and goals.
Optimise your listing
Once you’ve chosen a platform, make sure to optimise your hotel listing. This includes providing high-quality photos, a detailed and engaging description of your hotel and its amenities, and up-to-date information about room availability and prices. Some platforms also allow you to highlight unique features or selling points, which can help your hotel stand out from the competition.
For example, Booking.com is known for its robust listing features, allowing hotels to provide detailed descriptions, a variety of high-quality photos, and highlight unique amenities. It also offers a user-friendly interface to manage listings.
Manage reviews & ratings
Guest reviews and ratings significantly influence travellers’ booking decisions. Actively manage your hotel’s reviews by responding promptly and professionally to both positive and negative feedback. Thanking guests for their positive reviews can enhance your hotel’s image, while addressing complaints or issues raised in negative reviews can demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction.
Utilise promotions & special offers
Many hotel booking sites allow you to offer promotions and special deals, such as discounted rates for longer stays, last-minute deals, or value-added packages (e.g., including breakfast or a spa service). These promotions can help attract more bookings, especially during off-peak periods or times when you have many unbooked rooms.
For example, Priceline is renowned for its promotional tools, such as “Name Your Own Price” and “Express Deals”. This makes it one of the best discount hotel booking sites. Listing here can help hotels attract more bookings, particularly for last-minute or off-peak periods.
Monitor competitor rates
To remain competitive, it’s important to regularly monitor the rates offered by other hotels in your area or similar to yours. Some booking platforms provide tools to help with this, or you could use an external rate shopping tool. If your prices are significantly higher than your competitors’, you may need to adjust them or clearly communicate why your hotel offers better value.
For example, Expedia’s Rev+ tool provides market insights and demand trends, allowing hotel managers to compare their rates with those of their competitors, making it useful for price monitoring—though that functionality is also available directly with SiteMinder.
Take advantage of analytics
Hotel booking sites often provide analytics tools that give insights into your hotel’s performance, such as your booking rate, average daily rate, and revenue per available room. They may also provide market insights, such as demand trends or the performance of similar hotels. Use these analytics to identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions.
For example, Google Hotels, given Google’s expertise in analytics, provides valuable insights into search trends, demographic information, and other relevant data that can help hotel managers make informed decisions.
Build direct relationships
While hotel booking sites can help attract guests, it’s also important to build direct relationships with your guests. This could involve encouraging them to book directly with your hotel in the future, perhaps by offering a loyalty program or direct booking discounts. Direct bookings allow you to avoid commission fees and have more control over the guest experience. However, ensure that any incentives for direct booking do not violate the terms of your agreement with the booking platforms.
Emerging trends from the best hotel online booking sites
Below are a few important new trends that are appearing among the best hotel online booking sites. These can serve both as inspiration to improve your own direct booking experience, but also a checklist for surveying the sites you may want to list with. If an OTA lacks these functions, they—and by extension, your listings with them—may be falling out of date.
Personalisation is becoming increasingly crucial in online hotel booking. Websites are now using data analytics and AI to provide tailored recommendations based on a user’s previous searches, bookings, and preferences. This level of personalisation enhances the user experience, making it easier for customers to find accommodations that suit their specific needs and preferences, and can lead to increased customer loyalty and higher conversion rates.
More and more travellers are using their mobile devices to book hotels, making mobile-friendliness a key feature of top hotel booking sites. These sites are optimising their interfaces to provide a seamless mobile experience, with easy navigation, fast loading times, and a streamlined booking process. Some are even developing mobile apps to offer additional features, such as mobile check-in and digital room keys. Hoteliers should take note of this trend and ensure that their own direct booking experience is up to scratch.
Instant booking is another growing trend, offering customers the ability to confirm their reservation immediately without having to wait for a response from the hotel. This feature not only provides instant gratification for users but also streamlines the booking process, making it quicker and more efficient.
To foster customer loyalty and encourage repeat bookings, many hotel booking sites are offering loyalty programs. These programs typically involve earning points for each booking, which can be redeemed for future stays, upgrades, or other perks. This trend reflects a broader shift in the hospitality industry towards prioritising customer retention as well as acquisition.
User reviews & ratings
The importance of user reviews and ratings continues to grow, with many travellers relying heavily on these when making their booking decisions. Top hotel booking sites are making these reviews and ratings more prominent, and providing tools for hotel managers to respond to reviews, demonstrating the importance of active reputation management in the hospitality industry.
Social media integration
As social media becomes increasingly integral to people’s lives, hotel booking sites are integrating social media features into their platforms. This includes allowing users to log in with their social media accounts, share their bookings on social media, and even book hotels directly through social media platforms. This trend offers a way for hotels to leverage the power of social media to reach a wider audience and engage with customers in a more interactive way.
Advanced search & filtering
To help users find their ideal hotel, booking sites are offering advanced search and filtering options. Users can filter hotels by factors such as price, location, amenities, and rating, and can search for specific features or services. This not only improves the user experience but also allows hotels to highlight their unique offerings and attract their target audience.
Partner with the best hotel booking sites using SiteMinder
SiteMinder is more than just a hotel management platform. It’s your key to the top-performing hotel booking sites across the world. We’ve designed our software exclusively for medium- to large-sized hotels, ensuring that you get a tailored experience that’s proven to grow your revenue and outpace your competition.
Here’s how SiteMinder can improve your performance with the best hotel booking sites:
- Sell more rooms online. SiteMinder empowers you to connect with the world’s top booking channels with a two-way connection, ensuring that you always have up-to-date, fully synchronised listings no matter what OTA you’re listing on. Best of all? You can manage every room from a single place.
- Better results from search engines. Whether you’re showing up on Google Hotel Ads or ranking on hotel metasearch engines, our platform helps you appear higher in the results when ready-to-buy guests are searching for hotels like yours.
- Constant, effective promotion. Our platform enables you to continuously promote all your available rooms on all connected booking channels, all the time.
SiteMinder is the #1 Hotel Commerce Platform. Whether you’re managing a single hotel, a hotel group or a large chain, SiteMinder gives you a single place to manage everything — with access to real-time insights, bookings, guests, distribution, and payments.