Understanding the value of a holistic approach to hotel distribution

Recently our partner SiteMinder released their annual review of the top hotel booking revenue makers of the year. They analyzed the distribution channels that made the most revenue across 21 different regions. Looking at the results, one of the most important takeaways is the importance for hotels and brands to take a holistic approach to distribution. takes the top spot in most markets, with direct channels following closely behind. Direct revenue is in the second spot for more than half of the 21 markets reviewed in this study. And this is indicative of a distinct trend—they’re second place in 12 markets, compared to just two in 2019, pre-pandemic.  

All of this points to the need to take a truly holistic approach to distribution. Travelers have seen the value in booking directly and are doing so in higher numbers—but the major OTAS, regional channels, and GDS aren’t going anywhere.  

Revamping direct channels 

It’s more important than ever before for individual hotels and hotel groups to reevaluate their direct booking strategy. If it’s easier for travelers to book on a third-party channel than on your own website, they will. This means you need a site that meets current web design standards, so you look fresh and current.  

Based on our experience building hotel websites for hundreds of properties and management companies and hotel brands, we’ve seen that more and more hoteliers understand the value of their website. Now is the time to invest in a site that stands out from the competition and integrates with your entire tech stack.  

Direct channels rank at the top of both paid ads and all options, with an “official site” flag

What’s more, the accelerated pace of direct bookings also correlates with Google adjusting its hotel results module to highlight direct options.  

Hotels can compete against OTAs for lower commission bookings on this key metasearch site in ways they could not pre-2019. Google flags the “official site” and typically places direct rates at the top of organic results.  

Taking a holistic approach to your distribution means evaluating all the ways a traveler can find your hotel. Even if they book elsewhere, they will probably visit your hotel website for validation and information. Invest in an impactful website to continue to stand out. 

Evaluating new opportunities for third-party revenue 

The reality is that on the list of top revenue drivers for your property, direct channels are just one of many. Ideally, they’re near the top of the list for those low commission, high value bookings. But the rest of your distribution mix is from third-party channels.  

When considering all the ways to improve third-party revenue, consider if your listings are even accurate and up to date. Is your hotel even showing up correctly in a competitive number of places? How does my hotel look on third-party channels? If I have a great rate, does my hotel look appealing to travelers? 

You may have a centralized system for syncing rates, but what about the rest of the content a travel channel displays? Travel channels source rates from a variety of places—from hotels themselves as well as bed banks 

Keep your listings up to date with a centralized service like our Content Verification platform. How long has it been since you updated your listing information? It’s likely that channels have changed their best practices and categorization since then. Our platform audits your listings on the top revenue-driving channels for accuracy and to help ensure you are showing up in more searches. 

Take a holistic approach to distribution by improving how your hotel looks. In addition to the listing information, our specialized media distribution platform sends your photo out to hundreds of travel channels, including the major global ones that hit the top spots in the aforementioned Siteminder survey, as well as the GDS, wholesalers, and smaller regional channels.  

In particular, we have a direct API connection to Expedia and we were the first provider to write to’s Quick Connect onboarding tool. Standing out on the top travel channels means having high quality photos of your property, amenities, and rooms.  

Holistic distribution through centralized technology 

Whatever your revenue management strategy is, you need a strong digital presence, without stretching your teams too thin. Most hospitality providers are trying to do more with less, and that’s where technology comes into place. 

Leonardo delivers centralized content management solutions to: 

  • Build and manage eye-catching hotel websites that are hotel specific so they integrate with your technology 
  • Consolidate and distribute media assets to third-party channels  
  • Audit and verify third-party listings for accuracy  

Learn more about how we can help you take a holistic approach to distribution today.