Distribution Strategy Best Practices that Will Profit to your Property

Are you a hotelier willing to implement a distribution strategy that will deliver the best results to your hotel? Indeed, it is a must to efficiently distribute your hotel inventory considering today’s digital landscape. According to the travel organization ExpediaGroup, sales in digital travel surpassed $800 billion in 2020. The Online Travel Agency Expedia also mentions that people are performing around 43 searches before deciding to book a hotel stay. This is the main reason why you need to have a powerful distribution strategy that will ensure a sustainable growth for your property. Selecting the right channels can allow you to achieve the greatest competitive advantage and propel the highest revenues. When it comes to distribution, your hotel has many options. You should make sure to use the right mixture of channels which should be adapted to your target market’s expectations.

Hotel Distribution Strategy Defined

A hotel distribution strategy is a plan to make your brand visible in a variety of channels so your potential guests are able to book your rooms. The goal is to sell your rooms in the right number and mixture of channels in a way to maximize your property’s revenues. Examples of channels commonly used by hotels are Official Websites, Online Travel Agents (OTAs), Global Distribution Systems (GDS), Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs), etc. Ensuring your presence in these different channels allows to increase occupancy, reach the right targeted travelers and generate important Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR). In order to implement an efficient distribution strategy, it is important to define your business objectives and sales metrics. In addition, you have to make sure to determine who is your ideal target audience. Here are the most popular distribution channels you must focus on for your property:

Hotel’s Official Website

Image taken from: https://www.pegs.com/ecommerce/hotel-website-design/

According to the hotel event’s management organization Cvent, a hotel’s official site is likely the primary direct booking source nowadays. Having a well-optimized website can allow you to attract repeat guests and upsell better than any other channels. This is why most properties focus on this distribution strategy as it allows to generate the highest revenues among a variety of channels. As a hotel marketer, it is crucial to design a website that includes high-quality imagery and description of your properties’ amenities. You can also publish interactive content that will boost your guest’s engagements. In this way, you will facilitate your customer’s journey and drive conversions. According to the Business Data organization Statista, 50% of online traffic is generated through smartphones or tablets use. Thus, it is important to make sure you have a mobile version of your site that allows a quick and smooth booking experience for your guests. In order to maximize the discoverability of your site, you will also need to invest on your SEO (Search Engines Optimization) practices to likely ensure a high ranking in the search results. In this way, people will easily be exposed to your brand when searching for properties of your scale.

Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)

Image taken from: https://travelingformiles.com/uk-regulator-clamps-down-on-online-travel-agency-practices/

Online Travel Agencies so-called OTAs are third party sites that hotels partner with to promote their brands and increase their hotel’s bookings. Nowadays, those platforms are important revenue generators for hotels. The most famous OTA sites include Booking.com, Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz, Hotels.com, etc. OTAs have the ability to attract huge audiences actively looking for travel plans. Collaborating with those travel organizations will allow you to gain access to valuable insights about the market and programs allowing to capture significant bookings. You can also increase your brand’s awareness as you can be part of booking packages such as a flight ticket and your hotel. In order to differentiate in those platforms where the competition is so vast, make sure to includes your best property’s photos and highlight your unique amenities. Although OTAs usually take 15 to 30% commission per booking, those agencies can be very advantageous for your hotel. Indeed, they act as a main point for the booking process and then allow you to better focus on your guest’s experience.

Global Distribution Systems (GDS)

Image taken from: https://quicktravelaffiliate.com/gds-system/

Global Distribution Systems are an essential part of your distribution strategy. GDS are integrated reservation networks used to connect with travel agents. Examples of well-known GDS in the travel industry are Galileo, Sabre, Amadeus, Travelport, Worldspan, etc. Those reservation systems are used to book hotel rooms in real-time. It allows to simultaneously connect with multiple travel agencies and promote your most updated offers. It gives you the possibility to share up-to-date information in terms of availability and pricing in the GDS all around the world. This distribution strategy also enables to improve your global brand’s exposure and fill last-minute room bookings. In order to distinguish on those channels, make sure to maintain the most competitive pricing high enough to cover the GDS set up fee and percentage compensation per booking.

Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs)

Image taken from: https://www.linchikwok.net/2018/01/dmo-services-to-hotels-how-valuable-are.html

Destination Marketing Organizations so-called DMOs are most likely governmental organizations such as tourism sites and visitors bureaus. Those platforms are typically promoting tourism and travel in different destinations. They develop marketing strategies to attract tourist’s spending and as a result reinforce a particular area’s economic situation.  DMOs are usually visited by people looking for information about a destination of their interests when considering a vacation. Thus, it is important to consider being present on those platforms to make people discover your brand and gain more exposure for your offers. For instance, if your hotel is located in the city of Miami, you can have your hotel listed in the well-known DMO, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau so you can encourage traffic to your own site. In sum, you must look for your local DMOs sites and develop partnerships to promote your hotel and generate more bookings.

Once you have implemented an efficient distribution strategy, make sure to compare the metrics in the different channels to determine the ones performing better for your property. Cvent mentions several technologies that can be used to manage your hotel distribution channels and gain useful insights. Indeed, you can consider operating channel management, reputation management and revenue management systems to perform your distribution strategy’s audit.  You will definitely want to maximize your efforts on the channels you own to maximize direct bookings before focusing on third-party ones. As you will engage in a well-thought analysis of your different channels, you will be able to successfully optimize your hotel brand’s messaging. As a result, you will be able to generate significant business to your property. Always ensure testing your existing and new channels to appeal travelers and ensure the most profitable results!

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