How to maximise your Direct Bookings in 2021?

The hotel distribution landscape has massively changed due to the corona crisis. The COVID pandemic has caused a fundamental – positive! – shift when it comes to direct bookings. How can you benefit from this current direct booking trend and most importantly, turn it into a long-term strategy?

February 3, 2021

Direct Booking Trend 2020

How to maximise your Direct Bookings in 2021?

When we look at the number of direct bookings compared to the total number of bookings, we see a fairly constant course in 2019. About 11% of all bookings are made directly. In 2020 however, we see a significant increase! On average throughout the year, nearly 20% of the bookings are direct bookings. That’s an increase of 65% compared to the year before. And the curve is still increasing.

Although 2020 might have been a year with lower occupancy rates, due to government measures related to travel bans or advice against travel, when people did travel, they booked more directly at the accommodations.

*Source: Stardekk, anonymised data Cubilis, Benelux.

Tips to convince travellers to book direct, even after COVID-19

#Tip1- A good website

Travelling isn’t as care-free as it used to be. A lot of people are more anxious to travel and those who dare to do so, prepare their trip more thoroughly. As a result, travellers take more time to visit the website of the hotel or B&B they’d like to stay in, to find more information about safety measurements and cancellation policies. If everything seems in order, why not book it right then and there?

Does your website check off following boxes?

  • Price comparison Tool: guests can compare the pricing on different platforms, to realize the cheapest way is to book direct.
  • User-friendly: guests can easily navigate on your website, whether it’s on desktop, tablet or mobile.
  • General information about your safety measures, check-in hours, cancellation policy, cleaning protocols, …
  • Inspiring content & high-quality photos: find the right balance of inspiring travellers, while providing them with the necessary information they need to complete the booking.
"In 2020, more bookings are made directly. We see an increase of 65% compared to last year."


#Tip2 - Smooth booking process

How to maximise your Direct Bookings in 2021?

A good Booking Engine on your own personal website is a must to increase your direct booking rate. Make sure the booking process is short & secure, this way more visitors will trust you and complete the online booking on your website.

Do you offer hassle-free online payment possibilities? Since the new PSD2 legislation – in force since 1 January – connecting your Booking Engine to a Payment Provider is the most appropriate way to ensure a safe online transaction. Moreover, it offers you a guarantee of payment in case of no shows.

Boutique Hotel 't Fraeyhuis is doing a great job!

#Tip3 - Email marketing & Loyalty programs

Besides focusing on reaching new travellers, don’t forget to address your existing (happy) customers. Do you have a database with all contact information of your previous guests? Now is the perfect time to send them a charming reminder email.

Reinvite those romantic couples who celebrated their engagement at your hotel or those “bon vivants” who enjoyed your luxurious breakfast so much. Be a little sentimental and remind them of those great times at your place. Surely they would love to come back to relive those moments.

Also, consider creating more loyalty using member rates or starting your own loyalty program.

Free eBook to start building your direct booking strategy

Want to really increase your direct bookings, even long after COVID-19? Download our free eBook, a guide for hotels and B&Bs, and start building your strategy!

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