Guest acquisition platform SiteMinder has revealed its annual list of the channels that brought the highest total booking revenue to hotels in the Middle East, as well as other travel destinations, in 2018.

The list includes both direct hotel websites to third-party channels. SiteMinder managing director Mike Ford said in a statement that the increased diversity is also indicative of a booking landscape that has exploded in recent years and is showing no signs of slowing. According to Euromonitor International, global online hotel sales have surpassed US$264 billion to represent over 170% growth in the last decade, including over 13% over the past year alone.

"This year we found almost 20 instances of booking channels making a first-time appearance in our lists. So, while the more popular brands continue to dominate, we are seeing a broader range of players emerging. This trend reflects not only the ever-growing list of options now available to travellers booking their stay, but the subsequent need for hotels to be on more booking channels than ever to keep up with today’s endless paths-to-purchase," added Ford.

Based on total gross revenue made for SiteMinder’s hotel customers in the Middle East, the top 12 booking channels in 2018 were:

  2. Expedia
  3. Hotelbeds (incl. GTA + Tourico)
  4. Agoda
  5. Hotel websites (direct bookings)
  6. Global distribution systems
  7. Goibibo
  8. HRS - Hotel Reservation Service
  9. Mr & Mrs Smith
  10. Destinations of the World
  11. Hotusa
  12. HotelsCombined

"The number of trips taken to the Middle East surpassed 72 million last year, a rise of over 20% from 10 years ago. While this growth presents opportunity, the sheer volume also presents hotels with the challenge of acquiring business from a changing mix of potential guests,” said Michael Edinger, regional manager - Middle East at SiteMinder. “Our list shows which channels secured the highest total sales for the region’s hotel economy. Notably, the appearances of both Mr & Mrs Smith and Destinations of the World show the effectiveness of these channels for a region rich with some of the world’s most luxurious hotels.”

Interestingly, hotel websites are now among the top five channels for every market globally - up from being in the top seven channels in 2017. It is possible this is the impact of the recent hotel-chain-led direct booking campaigns. Goibibo makes its first appearance, showing travel packages are still important for hotels. This also indicates the growth of Indian travellers outbound to the Middle East.

SiteMinder’s platform processed over 87 million online bookings in 2018 – a rate of 166 per minute. The bookings totalled US$28.7 billion in revenue for its 30,000 hotel customers globally.

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