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Top 12 Hotel Booking Channels in the Middle East - 2020

Middle East hotel bookings

The lists of distribution channels that brought the greatest booking revenue to hotels in 2020 and since the global hotel booking reset began in April are revealed.

Announced by SiteMinder, the global hotel industry’s leading guest acquisition platform, the lists, which vary across more than 20 of the world’s most established travel destinations, reveal a broader range of consumer choices and a shift away from the consolidation seen in previous years, with 32 instances of distribution channels making their first appearances and 20 instances of distribution channels climbing at least two positions from the prior year.

The annual lists also highlight the sustained growth of direct bookings for hotels, with hotel websites maintaining their top five position in all destinations over the full 2020 year, including in the Middle East where they ranked as the third-top producer of booking revenue for local hotels. The ranking of hotel websites rose further in more than a third of destinations since April, when hotel bookings dropped to below 10 percent of 2019 levels as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the Middle East, the top 12 hotel booking channels in 2020, based on total gross revenue made for all users of SiteMinder’s platform, were:

OVER THE FULL 2020 YEAR

1.    Booking.com

2.    Expedia Group

3.    Hotel websites (direct bookings)

4.    Agoda

5.    Hotelbeds 

6.    Goibibo & MakeMyTrip

7.    Mr & Mrs Smith 

8.    WebBeds - Destinations of the World

9.    dnata 

10.  Egypt Express Travel 

11.  Lastminute.com

12.  HRS - Hotel Reservation Service

SINCE THE HOTEL BOOKING RESET

(APR-DEC 2020)

1.    Booking.com

2.    Expedia Group

3.    Hotel websites (direct bookings)

4.    Agoda

5.    Hotelbeds

6.    Mr & Mrs Smith

7.    WebBeds - Destinations of the World

8.    Goibibo & MakeMyTrip

9.    dnata

10.  Egypt Express Travel

11.  Airbnb

12.  Lastminute.com

 

Other key findings included:

  • The increased popularity of Airbnb as a distribution channel for accommodation providers. Airbnb debuted among the Middle East’s top 12 from April.
  • The strengthening of local and regional distribution channels—including WebBeds - Destinations of the World and dnata, which are both Dubai-based, and Egypt Express Travel—as a result of restricted international travel. Over the full 2020 year, they comprised around half of the top 12 in each destination and were particularly dominant from the start of the global hotel booking reset.
  • The explosion in spontaneous travel, spurred by unpredictable changes in travel restrict Lastminute.com and HotelTonight collectively feature among the top 12 lists of nine destinations, including the Middle East, over the pandemic period.
  • The continued relevance of wholesalers, with leading bedbank Hotelbeds among the top 12 in each destination, including the Middle East, both over the full 2020 year and during the pandemic period. WebBeds was also among the top 12 in the Middle East and seven other destinations since April.

“The travel disruptions of 2020 levelled the playing field for many distribution channel providers to demonstrate the unique value they provided to consumers and therefore to hotels,” says SiteMinder’s senior director of global demand partnerships, James Bishop.

“With international travel restrictions in place and rising cases of coronavirus around the world, many consumers were drawn to local hotel accommodations where the direct hotel website has always performed well, or through local booking channels, which, after an initial slump, saw an uptick from pent-up travel demand. Many other consumers were drawn to the staycation appeal and perceived security of Airbnb-listed properties. SiteMinder’s lists of the top 12 hotel booking revenue makers are testament to real changes in people’s travel behaviour and preferences during this time.”

Adds James: “This past year in the Middle East, as a result of the hotel booking reset, we naturally saw a decline in international guests and, subsequently, a greater relevance of local and regional players such as dnata, Egypt Express Travel and WebBeds - Destinations of the World. Consumers have changed. It is therefore critical that hoteliers assess how and where they sell their rooms, and ensure they embrace the distribution channels—global and local, direct and indirect—with proven effectiveness in securing reservations and revenue.”

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