According to Phocuswright, a travel market research company, 34 percent of people in the United States used online agencies for their travel needs last year, and 66 percent booked directly, slightly up from 2013. Last year, the Marriott chain, which includes the Ritz-Carlton, ran its own campaign, “It pays to book direct,” that featured the YouTube personality Grace Helbig and offered perks such as free Wi-Fi to Marriott loyalty customers who booked directly through the hotel, rather than through a third party. Next month, Marriott will add more benefits, including exclusive member rates and the ability to use its mobile app to check in and out. Hilton is also offering similar deals to members who book directly. “I think what Hilton is doing is quite creative and has the potential to be very, very successful,” said Henry Harteveldt, founder of Atmosphere Research Group, a travel industry research company. “It’s all about building trust in the Hilton website, and the most effective way is to go after the online travel agencies.” Get the full story at The New York Times