Study Reveals Tech-Savvy Indie Hotelier on the Rise

DALLAS—New research backed by SiteMinder, the global hotel industry’s guest acquisition platform, has revealed that today’s independent hoteliers have a greater awareness and appetite around technology when it comes to their marketing and distribution strategies.

According to eHotelier’s Marketing & Distribution 2020 Journal, 68.4% of independent hotels already have a digital marketing strategy implemented for their business and a further 24.4% intend to implement their strategy over the coming year.

Only 7.2% of independent hoteliers do not understand the relevance of a digital marketing strategy or how it can help their hotel business.

“These figures seemed almost unimaginable as recently as 13 years ago, when SiteMinder first opened its doors to hoteliers all around the world who yearned for a way to market and sell their rooms online,” said James Bishop, senior director of global demand partnerships at SiteMinder. “We are delighted to see the difference one can make with an open mind to what is possible.”

When it comes to the value of booking channels in driving revenue, direct website bookings remain perceived as the most important booking channel for independent hoteliers, with 62.1% ranking direct website bookings as either very valuable or valuable—a sentiment accentuated among hotel chains and franchises (87.9%).

Owned channels, such as direct mail and a hotel’s website, trumped paid channels, such as paid social media, in terms of their perceived effectiveness in driving business. The study also underlined a growing desire for hoteliers to better know their customers, with direct feedback seen as the most important channel in defining how they approach their marketing strategy.

“Unsurprisingly, direct website bookings remain perceived as the most important channel, a heartening outcome for the health of the market, as it displays the enthusiasm that hoteliers of all sizes currently have to embrace the tools and innovations at their disposal,” said Bishop. “However, hotels should also remember that having a balanced distribution strategy between channels, such as OTAs, wholesalers and GDS—as well as direct—remains key in the success of marketing your hotel online.”