Direct bookings have been taking market share from the OTAs, a trend which has accelerated this year, according to a study from D-Edge.
The Accor-owned company said that it had noticed an increase in customers looking for a direct relationship with hotels, commenting that, “during times of uncertainty in restrictions and fast-changing regulations, guests prefer to be in direct contact with their hotels”.
The trend grew in 2020, which said could be explained by the reduction in advertising by OTAs while direct kept a level of online advertising. When OTAs reduce their advertising budgets, organic results for hotels rank higher in search engines resulting in sales on hotels websites.
The group also reported a surge in market share by Booking.com in Europe, mostly at the expense of Expedia while direct booking gained traction and became the leading channel in Asia.
D-Edge said: “We believe that it may be linked to the relaxed cancellation policies of Booking.com and their market position for ‘free Cancellations’ that give them a strong position on the current market conditions. Regarding Expedia, one assumption is that their strength in Europe was very focused on bundling flights with hotels and negotiating deals. Post-lockdown, this has become a much harder sell.
“Hotels in the Asia-Pacific region have seen a similar evolution during 2020, with website direct becoming the primary source of online revenue, and Booking.com group remaining in a similar range. Similar to Europe, Expedia has lost the most in market share compared to previous levels.”
While OTAs were experiencing a loss in market share in both Europe and Asia-Pacific, the company reported that they remained, in both markets, the dominant source of online revenue. With 63% of market share in Europe and 61% in Asia-Pacific, the similarities in both regions show a trend that is likely global.