Skift Take

The hotel distribution landscape is complex, with hotel rooms being sold and promoted in many different channels. Covid-19 has certainly impacted how and where hotel rooms are being distributed, but it is unlikely this disruption will be sustained long-term. That’s not to say that disruption isn’t coming, though.

The channel mix, referring to the mediums and platforms used by hoteliers to sell their rooms to consumers, is always in flux. Over the past decades there has been an increased reliance on online travel agents (OTAs). But in more recent years, many hotel players have pushed back, promoting direct bookings made through hotels’ own website booking engines or other direct means.

The pandemic has disrupted the delicate dynamics. Initial data coming out since the pandemic started seems to indicate that out of the much-reduced demands, both direct and OTA bookings have grown their share at the expense of other third-party channels like bed banks and global distribution systems (GDS).

To better understand the latest developments and issues that shape the distribution landscape, and how this might change moving forward, we interviewed 33 industry experts to share their views, including hoteliers, hotel consultants, channel representatives, and tech vendors.

In Hotel Distribution 2020 Part I: The Channel Mix, we focus on providing a greater understanding of the key issues that are shaping the channel mix, focusing on the major channels of direct booking, OTAs, and bed banks and wholesalers. We also discuss the role of metasearch engines.

Together with a second report, which will be published next week and will focus on the technology landscape and tech vendors that enable hotel distribution, this report series provides a consensus view of the key issues and main opportunities for hoteliers, tech vendors, and distribution platforms to come out of the current crisis.

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What You’ll Learn From This Report

  • How hotels distribute their rooms to a complex web of channels, and how the Covid pandemic has impacted this.
  • How direct bookings have grown as part of the channel mix, and the importance of net RevPAR (revenue-per-available-room).
  • The size and reach of the largest OTAs, and how their relationship with hotels has evolved.
  • The role of bed banks in the hotel distribution landscape, and how disruption might be coming.
  • How the hotel metasearch bidding process works, and why Google will only grow its influence.
  • How we expect Covid, and other disruptions, to impact the future of hotel distribution.

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This is the latest in a series of reports and data products that Skift Research puts out to help you analyze the impact of the coronavirus on the travel industry. Tap into the opinions and insights of our seasoned network of staffers and contributors. Over 200 hours of desk research, data collection, and/or analysis goes into each report.

After you subscribe, you will gain access to our entire vault of reports conducted on topics ranging from technology to marketing strategy to deep dives on key travel brands. You will also be able to access our proprietary Skift Recovery Index and Skift Health Score data and reports.


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