Choice Hotels launches Digital Direct Programme to help hotel owners boost online bookings

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Choice hotels, Hotel chains

Choice Hotels' new Digital Direct programme is designed to make it easier for guests to book rooms at its hotels
Choice Hotels' new Digital Direct programme is designed to make it easier for guests to book rooms at its hotels
Choice Hotels has launched its Digital Direct Programme in Europe to help franchisees boost their presence on the web and secure more bookings. 

The programme, which uses a system designed by digital marketing provider buuteeq, has already launched in the US and Duncan Berry, chief executive UK, Choice Hotels Europe told BigHospitality it had proved such a success there it was time to bring it to growing markets in Europe. 

"It was introduced into the US in May and 215 hotels there are now using it," he said. "It has really brought a lot more traffic through their websites and we thought it was important to get it introduced here to our franchisees." 

Streamlined booking 

The new platform features a direct integration between the Choice Hotels central reservation system and the buuteeq Cloud Digital Marketing System (CloudDMS) giving each hotel the capability to deploy and manage their own SEO-optimised websites across web, mobile, and social channels. 

Franchisees can pay between 99 Euros and 450 Euros per month depending on the level of service they want, but the principal benefits are that it gives up-to-the minute information on room availability and rates and helps with online marketing. 

Berry said some of the stand out benefits were that it streamlined the booking experience for guests and would give consistency across the brand, but could also save franchisees money because they wouldn't have to pay commission to a booking website if guests used their own website direct. 

"With the independent hotels who had taken on the Choice Hotels brand, we found that they had different booking engines and guests were less likely to use them. The buuteeq system keeps things visually the same and so hotels using the system can benefit from being seen as part of a brand," said Berry. 

Three hotels in the UK, including the Clarion Collection Hotel St Albans, have been piloting the new software and more are expected to take up the system from October. 

Kishor Majithia, managing director, Clarion Collection Hotel St Albans, said: "Working with buuteeq to transition from our old website to the new one went very smoothly for us and the people at buuteeq couldn’t have been more helpful.

"We are watching our website analytics closely and are already happy to see increased traffic and more direct conversions. We look forward to maintaining our close working relationship with buuteeq as we continue the website development.”

The news was released at Choice Hotels' European Convention in Ireland earlier today. Berry said the company was looking to continue its expansion across the UK following its agreement with Akkeron​ earlier this year to rebrand nine of its hotels.

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