As a result, shoppers aren’t yet convinced that booking direct is always their best option. So, to focus all your efforts on growing direct bookings, and ignoring third-party channels, could end up hurting your bottom line in the long run. Here we examine key benefits that come from “right channeling,” including third-party channels as part of your optimal channel mix. Research from Phocuswright shows that OTAs currently hold 39 percent of the U.S. booking market. The reality is, many of your guests are accustomed to using OTAs like Expedia and to book their hotel rooms. OTAs and metasearch sites make it easy to shop and compare multiple accommodation options in one browser window. And many rely on the one-stop shopping convenience of being able to secure their flights, hotel nights and rental cars all in one place. Whether or not direct bookings increase due to the Billboard Effect from being listed on an OTA site, OTAs ability to attract new customers is well established. And OTA listings are particularly beneficial for smaller operators, because no matter how beautiful, efficient and SEO-optimized your hotel website may be, you’d be hard pressed to achieve the global reach of an OTA all on your own. In addition, a broad distribution strategy improves chances that your inventory will appear higher on popular metasearch sites such as Kayak and Trivago, which are also effective new-customer acquisition channels. Get the full story at rainmaker