March 21, 2016

Direct Booking Battle: Hotels Up the Ante with Perks to Guests When Booking Direct to Beat OTAs

By Robert Wilson

The battle comes as the nation’s hotels report record occupancy levels and near-record revenue per room.

The American Hotel and Lodging Assn. recently called for legislation to combat fraudulent online booking sites. But Shur and his group say the hotel association is exaggerating the problem to scare people away from online travel sites.

As for the perks, the Hotel Amarano in Burbank offers guests who book directly either a $25 food and beverage credit to use at the hotel’s eateries or a room upgrade. Guests who book directly at the Beverly Hilton Hotel can get free Wi-Fi.

In Hawaii, a hotel management group is giving daily $20 Starbucks gift cards to guests who book directly at the group’s Lite hotels, plus 12 other properties across the islands.

“It’s becoming necessary for today’s hotel brands to stay ahead by enticing travelers in new ways,” said Matt Bailey, president and chief operating officer at Aqua-Aston Hospitality.