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In February 2021, the direct channel generated 35% more nights booked than

Can anyone challenge the supremacy of the two major channels in the world, Booking and Expedia? Has the pandemic changed the channel mix for (most) hotels? Most importantly, will this be a permanent change?

According to Statista, gross bookings of Booking Holdings worldwide decreased from 70.7 billion U.S. dollars In 2019, to about 24.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. As for Expedia, the global gross bookings of Expedia dropped from 108 billion U.S. dollars recorded in 2019 to 36.8 billion U.S. dollars during 2020.

Is this surprising taking into account the situation we are living in? Not really. What’s new here, is that the Direct channel, meaning the share of website direct revenue, has accelerated in 2020. According to our ongoing Hotelier PULSE research, the Direct channel has proven to be the most resilient in 2020, generating 58.6% of the bookings made in 2019, outperforming Booking (41.5%) and Expedia (22.8%).

Looking at the evolution of booked nights from 1500 hotels across all channels from January 2019 to 2021, the direct channel was the top performer. In February 2021, the direct channel generated 35% more nights booked than – the second strongest performer out of all channels.

Hotel trends and booking behaviors have changed significantly. Hotels are taking advantage of the guests’ communications and generating more direct bookings than in previous years. Could this period be when Hoteliers finally recover their inventory for good? We’re navigating uncharted territory, however, we can say that the chances are higher than ever based on the events of 2020 and data analyzed.

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