hotel booking

Middle East’s Top 12 Hotel Booking Channels for 2021 by Revenue

SiteMinder, the world’s leading open hotel commerce platform, has unveiled the lists of distribution channels that over the past year brought the highest booking revenue to hotels in the Middle East and more than 20 other of the world’s most popular tourism destinations.

The list for the Middle East—in line with global trends—reveals a more holistic online commerce strategy, consisting of both new and established methods, is being taken by hotel businesses to reach new customers and produce revenue. This holistic commerce strategy consists of a greater balance between direct and indirect revenue streams, with direct bookings retaining the third position in the Middle East. Globally, direct bookings now rank as one of the top two revenue drivers in more than half (12) of global markets—up from five markets last year and two in 2019—driven by increased investments in booking engines, hotel websites, metasearch, frictionless payments, support from hotel consultants and specialist applications designed for conversion.

This year’s lists also feature 29 new distribution channels—including TBOHolidays and Airbnb in the Middle East—reflecting the current aptitude among hotels to embrace new revenue streams in their pursuit of new customers. Additionally, the lists increasingly feature Airbnb, which debuted in the Middle East’s list and two others, and rose in 12 additional markets, in spite of the channel being made available to traditional hospitality businesses only four years ago.

Other major findings supporting a greater adoption of a holistic hotel commerce strategy included:

  • The maintained relevance of regional channels, particularly in locations with ongoing reduced international travel. This was exemplified in the Middle East by Dubai-headquartered Destinations of the World by WebBeds.
  • The ongoing importance of wholesalers for many accommodation providers, with leading bedbank Hotelbeds again among the Top 12 in the Middle East and in each destination examined. Destinations of the World by WebBeds also climbed two positions to sixth.
  • The consistent performance of global distribution systems, which re-entered the Middle East’s Top 12 for the first time since 2019.

“We’re living in a new era of hotel guest, dominated by what we’ve identified as the ‘dynamic traveller’ who comes with evolved booking behaviours and preferences. Our data highlights the willingness of hoteliers to adopt both new and established methods to attract these customers, as they pursue a more holistic hotel commerce strategy to sell, market, manage and grow their business,” says SiteMinder’s senior director of global ecosystem, James Bishop.

“Most clearly, the rise of direct bookings reflects the grown investments we’ve seen among hotels in their websites—including their booking engines and payment options, and the specialist conversion tools they connect with—as well as their metasearch strategies and local hotel consultant support. Meanwhile, a newcomer cohort of 29 channels showcases the openness of hotel businesses to employ a broader, multichannel approach as a way of connecting with more niche or harder-to-reach customer segments.

“The popularity of Airbnb comes as no surprise. As many travellers continue to seek out accommodation options that allow work and travel to seamlessly meet, hotel distribution channels catering to longer stay and workation guests will continue to perform strongly.”

In the Middle East, the Top 12 hotel booking channels in 2021, based on total gross revenue made for all users of SiteMinder’s platform, were:

2. Expedia Group
3. Hotel websites (direct bookings)
4. Hotelbeds
5. Agoda
6. WebBeds – Destinations of the World
7. Mr & Mrs Smith
8. Global distribution systems
9. HRS – Hotel Reservation Service
10. Goibibo & MakeMyTrip
11. TBOHolidays
12. Airbnb.

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