The hotel industry maintains steady growth as consumers continue an upward trend of shopping for hotels online and booking electronically, according to TravelCLICK's 2007 first quarter eTRAK results, released today. The data shows the total Central Reservation System (CRS) reservations for major hotel brands increased 6.9 percent in Q1 2007, reaching more than 21 million bookings.
The Internet contributed 41.2 percent, or 8,796,245 reservations, of the total CRS reservations at major hotel brands, a 21.9 percent increase compared to the same period in 2006. The data also highlights the low growth, but continuing importance of GDS e-commerce, with 35.7 percent of total electronic CRS reservations. Voice reservations represent the remaining 23.1 percent of CRS reservations, posting a decline of 4.8 percent over the same period last year.
In the first quarter of 2007, brand websites grew again and continued to gain share compared to third-party merchant and opaque websites, which remain an important component of hotels' online strategy to ensure visibility to a global consumer audience. According to eTRAK, brand websites were the source of 82.3 percent of the brands' centrally-booked Internet reservations.
eTRAK is a quarterly benchmarking report that enables individual hotels to track booking trends on the Internet and GDS through CRS performance. The consolidated results provide industry indications based on performance trends for 28 major hotel brands and chains.
Observations for the market based on this latest data include:
Electronic bookings show no signs of slowing down, making an actionable electronic distribution strategy a crucial part of any hotel’s business plan for growth.
Hotel websites have become the center of the industry’s sales and marketing efforts. As consumer choice continues to broaden, hotel companies are increasing their focus on Web-direct bookings to ensure the consumer sees Web-direct as a viable option.
The voice channel is benefiting from synergies with the Web, as call volume continues to decrease while conversion rates increase due to more educated customers.
"Hotels are getting better at ensuring that rate parity exists and that the hotel's website lives up to its best rate guarantee," said Jeff Bzdawka, Chief Operating Officer at TravelCLICK. "In conjunction with more aggressive Internet marketing, the industry also continues to drive business direct, increasing overall profitability."
The eTRAK report covers all Central Reservation System booking results, including Internet, GDS and voice bookings. The report allows subscribers to compare their own performance to that of their direct competitors and the industry in general. The unique information contained in eTRAK is intended to help hotel companies determine e-commerce priorities, such as where to invest Internet advertising dollars and which sites create the best returns. For more information about TravelCLICK's eTRAK report, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Results from this study may differ from overall hospitality industry trends on the Internet and GDS because eTRAK reflects only the performance of 28 major brands. The conclusions, however, are directional for the industry as a whole.
About TravelCLICK TravelCLICK (http://www.travelclick.net/) is the leading provider of emarketing solutions that help hotels sell rooms smarter and drive long-term profitability. TravelCLICK helps hotels maximize asset ROI by combining innovative market analysis and proven industry best practices with advanced technology to develop and implement high-return strategies. The company offers a full set of solutions including reservations and distribution management, market intelligence-based decision support, and marketing services. Serving the hospitality industry since 1996 and headquartered in the Chicago area, TravelCLICK has more than 12,000 customers in 140 countries.
(2) Retail Website: Third-party distributor where the hotel lists inventory at the same price that it is sold to the consumer and hotel pays distributor agreed upon commission (e.g. HRS, Bookings, Venere in Europe).
(3) Merchant Website: Third-party distributor where the hotel provides inventory to the site at a net rate. The merchant marks up the rate by an agreed upon percentage. The consumer pays the merchant at the gross rate and the merchant site pays the hotel the net rate (e.g. Expedia/Hotels.com, Travelocity and Orbitz).
(4) Opaque Website: Third-party distributor that enables customers to choose a fare or rate without knowing the brand of the supplier until after the item is purchased (e.g. Priceline).