Australia's hotel sector is increasing its uptake of online commerce and technology, with direct bookings now one of the top two revenue drivers for the industry.
According to open hotel commerce platform SiteMinder, the sector is rebalancing its online commerce strategies with a mix of new and established methods. The sector is also concentrating investments in areas such as customer-facing hotel websites, booking engines, payment technologies, metasearches, app development, and hotel consulting support.
SiteMinder's senior director of global ecosystem, James Bishop, says there is a new breed of hotel guest called the ‘dynamic traveller'.
“[This guest] comes with evolved booking behaviours and preferences. Our data highlights the willingness of hoteliers to adopt both new and established methods to attract these customers, as they pursue a more holistic hotel commerce strategy to sell, market, manage and grow their business.
“Most clearly, the rise of direct bookings reflects the grown investments we've seen among hotels in their websites—including their booking engines and payment options, and the specialist conversion tools they connect with—as well as their metasearch strategies and local hotel consultant support. Meanwhile, a newcomer cohort of 29 channels showcases the openness of hotel businesses to employ a broader, multichannel approach as a way of connecting with more niche or harder-to-reach customer segments.
The report notes that hotels are using their owned media channels to inspire trust in travellers, while travellers seek to be in direct control of their accommodation experience. In New Zealand, direct bookings rose in 2021 - it was a similar story in other countries such as the Philippines and the wider Asia region.
Airbnb's commerce platform exemplifies how an online commerce strategy remains popular, particularly as travellers seek out accommodation that balances work and travel.
SiteMinder's Asia Pacific regional vice president, Bradley Haines, adds, “As market conditions change, it's vital that hoteliers continually analyse and assess their online commerce strategies, and ensure they are educated on the distribution channels proving most effective in securing reservations and revenue for local businesses.
The report suggests, ” Boost brand.com results by incentivising OTA viewers to migrate to your website with a professional, informative profile. Then work hard to convert your website visitors quickly with superior web design and an online booking engine to make the reservation process simple.
In addition, hotels should, “Keep close quarters with your connected channel partners who can provide large volumes of data and market insights, leading to valuable selling opportunities for your hotel”.