Hotels are increasingly dependent on online booking agencies to fill their rooms even though 60% of the bookings in Switzerland are still done in conventional ways through telephone calls, emails and walk-ins.
Some 27.4% of all bookings are made on the internet, generating over CHF1 billion in gross revenue in 2014, according to a survey of 265 Swiss hotels by the Tourism Institute of the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland, Valais.
Online booking agencies like Booking.com are responsible for a significant chunk. These kinds of intermediaries generated a quarter of all bookings for four out of 10 hotels surveyed. Swiss hotels that are rated three star and below are especially reliant on them, a trend the survey did not explain.
The online sites are not driving customers to Swiss hotels for nothing. The average Swiss hotel annually forks out CHF500 per room in commission to Booking.com alone. On average, hotels spend around CHF30,000 in such commission payments. The commissions paid by the Swiss hotel industry have been estimated to add up to CHF 90-130 million each year.
The hotels themselves are getting more involved in driving up business online. Over 8% of all bookings were made on hotels’ own dedicated online booking platform. Around 42% of all hotels have a mobile version of their website and one in ten have their own smartphone app.