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Hilton reports progress on getting guests to book directly

Hilton Hotel

A guest enters a Hilton Hotel in downtown San Francisco. Hilton Worldwide says it has made progress trying to get guests to book directly, instead of through a travel website.

 

(Paul Sakuma / Associated Press)

Hotel giant Hilton Worldwide, along with other major hotel brands, has been trying to persuade travelers to book directly through their booking system, instead of making reservations through an online travel site.

As an incentive, Hilton has offered perks like free wireless Internet.

The effort has paid off, according to Hilton Chief Executive Christopher Nassetta, who told industry analysts last week that since the direct-booking campaign was launched in February enrollment in Hilton’s reward program has jumped almost 90%. To get the perks, guests must book directly and enroll in the rewards program.

“The business we received through Web direct is higher than it’s ever been and is growing faster than ever,” he said, adding that the percentage of bookings made through the hotel website is growing five times faster than the rate for bookings through third-party travel websites.

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Hotels prefer that guests book directly through their websites because it means they avoid paying a 15% to 25% commission charged for bookings through the third-party sites, such as Expedia.com and Booking.com.

But online travel agents say travelers can more easily compare rates by using online sites.

Online travel agents “not only provide consumers the opportunity to shop across brands but users can find independent or boutique hotels that they may not have found otherwise,” said Steve Shur, president of the Travel Technology Assn., a group that represents online travel agents.

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.

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