The hotel industry is living in unprecedented times, making it difficult for hoteliers to rely on historical data.

NB: This is an article from The Hotels Network, one of our Expert Partners

To help hoteliers understand how the current direct channel scene looks, we at The Hotels Network have prepared a direct channel analysis for the DACH region, comparing the performance of hotels in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

This study analyses data from BenchDirect, our latest product launch and the industry’s first benchmarking platform focusing on the direct booking channel. Based on anonymised data from our hotel clients located in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, the analysis shows aggregated data from hotel websites and is independent of what technology they use. Let’s take a look below at what the insights reveal about the direct channel trends for the DACH region in 2021.

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1. German hotels registered a higher Total Website Conversion than Austria and Switzerland

the hotels network image from report looking at direct channel trends in dach region

Total Website Conversion is a key metric when it comes to understanding your hotel’s direct channel performance, as it indicates the percentage of total unique website visitors who made a direct reservation.

Analyzing the evolution of this metric in DACH, we observed that hotels in Germany were the top performing ones, achieving consistently higher conversion rates on average compared to hotels in Austria and Switzerland. This said, total conversion increased steadily in Switzerland each month to reach 4.0% in July 2021, almost matching the results in Germany of 4.1%. Despite some positive signs of improvement, total conversion in Austria remained relatively low, scoring 2.8% in July.

At THN we conducted a global hotel direct channel performance report, comparing the direct channel performance of hotels by region in Q2 versus Q1 2021. Looking at data for Q2 2021, THN’s hotel clients located in the DACH region performed better in terms of total website conversion than the global average, registering an average of 3.6% vs 3%. Click here to read the full report.

2. Hotels in Austria and Switzerland experienced a positive evolution of BE to Booking Conversion image (2)-2

To help hoteliers better understand their direct booking performance and know exactly where to take action, BenchDirect breaks down the booking funnel into different stages. The above chart compares the Booking Engine to Booking Conversion rate, in other words, the average % of visitors who made a booking after making a search in the Booking Engine.

Hotels in Austria and Switzerland registered a positive evolution of their BE to Booking Conversion, growing from 5.8% to 6.6% and 7.7% to 9.1% respectively. Hotels in Germany however saw a decrease in BE to Booking Conversion in both June and July 2021, negatively impacting total conversion.

3. Desktop as the favorite booking deviceimage (3)-1

Looking at the device data for DACH, we saw that mobile represents a high percentage of traffic but that desktop continues to be the preferred device to complete the booking process. Apart from in April 2021 when in some cases conversion rates on tablets were higher, desktop performed best in terms of conversion rates across the entire period and region. 

4. International demand started to return in Austria and Switzerland image (4)

When comparing the percentage of domestic website traffic (visitors coming from the same country as the hotel) versus international website traffic (visitors coming from countries outside the hotel’s) we saw quite different behavior in each of the DACH markets. Austrian hotels had the highest percentage of international website visitors, seeing a steady increase each month from April to reach 53.3% in July 2021. Swiss hotel websites had a higher percentage of domestic traffic but saw the percentage of international traffic grow, peaking at 30.4% in July 2021. In Germany, however, there were no signs of recovery of international demand, with domestic visitors still representing 86.7% of traffic in July 2021. 

With the exception of Germany, these results indicate that, despite domestic travel demand continuing to be a key driver of hotel performance, there is now a shift towards a more balanced demand distribution by source market.

It’s important to note that when looking at the breakdown of international traffic, we have seen that these visitors came mostly from the DACH region, meaning that for example, Austria received most of its international traffic from Germany.  

Key Takeaways

  • Generally speaking, hotels in the DACH region have experienced an increase in total website conversion between April to July 2021.
  • Hotels located in Austria and Switzerland have registered a positive evolution of their BE to Booking Conversion 
  • Desktop is the preferred device to complete the booking process.
  • Travel demand in DACH was driven by domestic visitors in April 2021 however by July 2021 there was a clear shift towards a more balanced demand distribution in Austria and Switzerland.

Understanding your hotel’s performance compared to the market should be an essential part of every hotel brand’s direct channel growth strategy, and BenchDirect provides just that. Our new and FREE (yes, it’s free forever!) benchmarking tool provides hoteliers with insights about their direct channel performance compared to the market and competition. Don’t have your account yet? Be sure to request it today and join a unique network of 10,000+ hotels worldwide who are already benchdirecting.

Read more articles from The Hotels Network