D-Edge’s latest hotel marketing report provides a comprehensive picture of online booking patterns over the past five years, with a special focus on the changes caused by the COVID-19 epidemic. Based on data from nearly 5,000 independent hotels and small hotel groups, the report makes some important findings:

The report highlights a boom in international travel. International travel will account for 69% of online booking revenues in Europe in 2023, compared to 18% in Asia. The Digital Revenue Index (DRI) for hotels in Europe in 2023 increased by 68% compared to 2019, with a 52% increase in Asia. This increase is not only the result of the post-epidemic recovery, but also indicates that average transaction prices have increased and guests are willing to pay more for a booking.

Average daily rates (ADR) showed a strong increase, especially due to a combination of strong travel demand and high average transaction prices (ATP). In Europe, ADR increased by 33.8% compared to 2019, while in Asia the increase was 33.3%. While the average length of stay (ALOS) has stabilised in Europe, Asia has not yet fully recovered to pre-pandemic numbers. Europe’s ALOS in 2023 reached the 2019 level, while Asia’s was 7.0% lower. The market share of direct bookings has increased in both regions, especially in Asia, where a significant share of online revenues (32%) is now generated from direct bookings. In Europe, the share is 28.8%.

In Europe, Booking.com continued to dominate the online distribution space, accounting for 43% of online hotel revenues. However, the report points to a re-diversification of distribution channels, with Booking.com losing some ground to other OTAs in 2023. In Asia, direct bookings hold the largest share of online revenues. There were regional differences in direct market share, with five-star hotels in Europe showing the highest share of direct revenues at 38%, while two-star hotels generated only 18% of online revenues from direct bookings. In Asia, the differences between hotel categories were even greater, with five-star hotels generating 56% of online revenue from direct bookings.

Travellers are booking earlier and longer-term bookings account for a significant share of revenues. This gives hotels the opportunity to forecast and develop revenue strategies. However, high cancellation rates remain a concern in both regions, posing challenges for revenue management and operational planning. In Europe, 23% of bookings were cancelled in 2023, compared to nearly a quarter in Asia. The report also points out that while the hotel industry has made an impressive recovery from the outbreak, it still faces a number of economic and geopolitical challenges that could impact international tourism growth (PhocusWire).