6 Reasons to Combine Your Walk-In and Online Distribution *

Many bed & breakfast owners prioritize their online distribution strategy, and with good reason.  This is done because a growing number of travelers are using online resources to browse accommodations.  Ultimately many will choose to their upcoming stay online.  This makes online booking channels crucial to the success of these properties.

However, bed and breakfast owners still need to create a diversified distribution network filled with a variety of booking channels, including walk-in reservations.

Here’s 6 reasons to maintain a diverse online distribution network, including walk-in reservations:

  1. Online travel agents only account for about 25% of online bookings for Bed & Breakfasts’, so you still need to establish direct relationships with your customers. You can’t solely rely on the marketing offered by OTAs. These are valuable and benefit your business, however OTAs won’t sustain your long-term business.  A distribution mix is critical to surviving in a variety of economic climates in the travel industry.
  2. Online reviews can drive bookings from all different marketing segments, these include travelers making last-minute decisions after arriving at their destination. Encouraging online feedback builds your brand credibility by offering objective, honest information from past and current customers.
  3. Loyalty programs can increase not only online Bed & Breakfast bookings but also direct, walk-in bookings. Create loyalty programs that not only reward your current guests, but also encourage your guests to recommend your property to their family members and friends.  Use promo codes for repeat bookings as well as upgrade rewards are powerful loyalty program options.
  4. OTA partnerships allow bed & breakfasts to expand their brand presence and identity, but these online bookings can reduce the revenue generated. Direct bookings allow B & B owners to maximize the revenue generated per customer, and are the most valuable type of booking. While you can’t rely solely on direct bookings, you should not ignore the power of traditional walk-in reservations and other types of direct bookings.
  5. Online bookings and mobile bookings will continue to play an important role in expanding brand identity and growing your customer base, but the right distribution mix will stabilize and strengthen your customer base.
  6. With a diverse online distribution mix, you can attract both business and leisure travelers.  Both markets rely on mobile technology to learn about local accommodations that have immediate availability. Optimizing your site for mobile bookings is pivotal to developing an effective distribution network.


Achieving the right distribution mix requires you to invest in an affordable property management system that includes an online booking engine as well as a channel manager.

This allows you to partner with various types of distribution agents, from large OTAs to independent agents and local visitor information centers.

With this technology in place, you can increase your bed & breakfasts online bookings as well as your direct bookings through walk-in reservations.


If you want more tips on how you can create an engaging online presence for your business, follow the IAA Bed and Breakfast Blog and our Facebook Page.  

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