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Sales on online channels grew in Swiss hospitality despite economic downturn in 2009
According our survey many Swiss hotels worked with Internet distribution systems (IDS) during the economic crises trying to gain new customers and to compensate for foreseen losses. This explains the increase of market shares of such platforms. Nevertheless direct booking channels of the hotels are still dominant sales’ forces.
A rough estimation of online sales in the Swiss hotel sector based on data from our survey results in an overall turnover of probably more than 800 Million CHF in 2009 and commission costs of some 80 Million CHF. IDS have significantly increased their market share, from 5.7% in 2008 to 10.6% in 2009. This is probably due to a more active online distribution sales strategy during the economic crises.
Direct booking channels as dominant sales forces
Despite the growth of the IDS, direct booking channels such as telephone, fax, walk-ins, e-mail, Web form on the own website are still dominant for Swiss hotels. The share of these direct bookings decreased between 2008 and 2009 from 75,4 percent to 71,1 percent. On average more than half of all bookings (52,7%) are mediated through electronic channels. 26% of hotels have an own real-time booking system with a direct link to the hotel software (PMS) on their website, but Swiss hotels realize on average only 4.4% of all sales through this channel. Booking.com, Hotel Reservation System (HRS), Switzerland Travel Centre (STC) and destination management systems of local destinations are the most frequently used IDS in the Swiss hospitality sector. On average a Swiss hotels uses 5 IDS channels.
Since 2003 the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland Valais (www.hevs.ch) in collaboration with the Swiss Hotel Association (www.hotelleriesuisse.ch) has conducted regularly surveys in order to monitor the evolution of sales in the different distribution channels. An online questionnaire was sent to over 2’300 members of hotelleriesuisse in January and March 2010 and resulted in 224 valid responses.