Phocuswright study shows independent hotels are concerned with growing costs of third-party reservations, but see metasearch as a solution

Düsseldorf, Germany – 15 January 2019 – trivago, a leading global hotel metasearch, partnered with the travel industry’s research authority, Phocuswright, on a study that explores independent lodging properties in the current online marketplace. Results of the study reveal metasearch is increasingly delivering both visibility and direct bookings to independent lodging properties, but critical issues such as third-party dependence and tech-adoption barriers remain. Key findings from the research are now accessible in a free white paper.

According to Phocuswright’s Independent Lodging Properties and the Online Marketplace, progress in the sector, including the growth of metasearch and a shift to digital marketing activities, has helped independent lodging properties recover some lost ground when it comes to driving business online. Nearly two-thirds of independent properties now receive direct bookings from metasearch, and almost 90% intend to maintain or increase their use of metasearch for visibility and bookings in the future. However, in the online environment, OTA still play a very important role in most markets, with revenue shares for 2018 projected at 39% in the US and 45% in Europe. Hoteliers’ understanding of the complexity of today’s online environment, as well as their use of the technology that can help level the playing field, remain constricted, the study found.

Johannes Thomas, Managing Director and Chief Revenue Officer at trivago N.V., said: “There have been pivotal changes in hospitality’s marketing and technology landscape in the last few years. We are excited to see that metasearch has become a more attractive direct marketing channel for hotels and has helped hoteliers to diversify their marketing and distribution mix.”

He further noted: “With the digitalization of the industry, we have seen independent hotels slow to adapt and struggle to compete as a result. This research sheds new light on the issue and delivers crucial insights into the challenges and technology-adoption barriers keeping hoteliers from succeeding online. Understanding the obstacles they are facing will help us provide today’s hoteliers with better guidance and more effective marketing tools. We aim to empower hotels to embrace the digital world, reduce their third-party dependence, and efficiently reach guests in the future.”

The white paper, Independent Lodging Properties and the Online Marketplace, can be accessed at //

trivago and Phocuswright will present further findings from the study in a free webinar on 24 January at 17:00 CET (11:00 AM EST). Registration for the event can be found here: //

Key insights from the study

The majority of independent lodging properties surveyed reported generating most of their business through online channels: 79% and 69% in the US and Europe respectively, up from 59% and 63% in 2015. Metasearch has emerged as an important digital channel for driving direct bookings for independent hotels, generating significant proportions (13% in the US and 12% in Europe) of their total online room revenue. Of the hoteliers surveyed, 60% rated metasearch as a very or most effective marketing channel and 42% stated they intend to use it more in the future for distribution.

Despite the improved online performance in the sector, dependence on third-party sales is still high, especially in the UK market where OTA sales account for over 50% of independent properties’ online room revenue. The study found that growing costs of third-party reservations is hoteliers’ biggest marketing and distribution concern overall and that better use of technology to increase direct bookings can help mitigate this threat. But with 46% of respondents saying systems are too expensive, 40% citing they lack time to evaluate tools, and 35% admitting to not being aware of available options, scaling technology adoption remains a challenge.

About the research

Sponsored by trivago, the study updates and extends on Phocuswright’s 2015 report with new data collected in 2018. A mass email survey to lodging executives was used to collect data on current behavior and future plans in regard to marketing, distribution and technology-related issues. The multilingual online questionnaire targeted owners and managers of independent properties across six markets: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, and the US, with over 1,000 completed surveys received.

About trivago

With 55 localized websites available in 33 languages, trivago is a leading global hotel metasearch that is reshaping the way travelers search for hotels and reinventing the way hotel advertisers connect with these travelers online. As of December 2018, over 500,000 hoteliers across the globe are already using trivago’s hotel technology to be more competitive online and to drive more bookings for their businesses.