7 Reasons Why DMOs Should Use a Destination Lodging Booking Solution

May 31, 2024 by Alexa Chumpitaz
7 Reasons Why DMOs Should Use a Destination Lodging Booking Solution

DMOs are the champions of their destinations, tirelessly showcasing unique experiences and driving tourism growth. But in today’s digital age, keeping pace with traveler expectations can be a challenge. A destination lodging booking solution isn’t just about catching up – it’s about empowering DMOs to become even more efficient and effective in achieving their goals.

We dive in a little deeper to show you 7 reasons why a dedicated destination lodging booking solution can be a game-changer for DMOs:

1. Facilitate Better Lodging Research

DMOs boast a diverse range of lodging partners, catering to every travel style—from luxury full-service hotels to remote campgrounds, vacation rentals, and everything in between. The challenge? Helping visitors navigate this abundance of choice. Studies show travelers might juggle up to 38 websites during trip planning and booking!

A destination lodging booking solution cuts through the confusion. Localized filters based on location and property type help visitors find their perfect fit. While large online travel agencies (e.g., Expedia, can also provide search tools, their filters tend to be more generic, and often include lodging options outside of a DMO’s desired jurisdiction.

The well-known “billboard effect” applies to DMO lodging booking solutions, too. In a 2023 Adara study, destinations using their Site Impact Tool saw a 4X increase in booking across the destination from visitors who viewed properties on the lodging booking solution versus those who just visited the destination website.

DMO lodging booking solutions are a win-win, offering increased visibility and booking for lodging partners while allowing visitors to navigate their options easily. This ultimately translates to an overall increase in direct bookings in a specified DMO jurisdiction.

2. Boost Bookings for Lodging Partners, Slash Commissions

There’s no getting around it: online travel agencies (OTAs) are a powerful force in the booking landscape. Sites like Priceline, Expedia,, and Airbnb offer widespread reach but come at the high cost of hefty commissions ranging between 15-25% per booking.

A DMO lodging booking solution empowers you to take control. Bookings can be processed through established Global Distribution Systems—such as Sabre and Amadeus—or Property Management Systems, like Track, Escapia, and Streamline. Using these distribution channels means lodging partners are always the merchant of record. Depending on your goals, you can refer visitors right to partner websites for direct bookings and choose to collect low (10%) or no commission (0%) from bookings. No matter what you choose, you will be offering a more equitable platform for all lodging partners, regardless of how much they have historically produced.

3. Capture Traveler Booking Demand at Its Source

Understanding visitor motivations is key for DMOs. Knowing what draws them to your destination – festivals, sporting events, or unique attractions – helps you tailor your marketing strategy. A lodging booking solution acts as a powerful call to action, seamlessly connecting visitors with their ideal accommodations and activities the moment they show interest. Through multi-channel marketing, you can engage potential visitors effectively, and if using a lodging booking solution, drive reservations on your site:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM): Invest in SEO to rank high in organic search results for relevant keywords. Complement this with SEM campaigns, including pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, to capture booking intent from travelers actively searching for accommodations and travel information. Invest in SEO to rank high in organic search results for relevant keywords. Complement this with SEM campaigns, including pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, to capture booking intent from travelers actively searching for accommodations and travel information.
  • Social Media Advertising: Utilize targeted social media ads on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to reach travelers based on their interests, behaviors, and demographics. Promote special offers, unique experiences, and direct booking links to capture immediate interest.
  • Content Marketing: Create valuable, engaging content that answers travelers’ questions and inspires them to visit your destination. Blog posts, videos, and social media content showcasing attractions, events, and local culture can drive organic traffic and direct visitors to your booking platform.
  • Email Marketing: Build and maintain an email list of potential visitors and past travelers. Send personalized emails with exclusive deals, travel guides, and reminders to book directly through your DMO’s platform.
  • Retargeting Campaigns: Implement retargeting campaigns to engage visitors who have shown interest in your destination but haven’t booked yet. Display targeted ads across the web to remind them of your offerings and encourage them to complete their booking.
  • Mobile Optimization: Ensure your website and booking system are fully optimized for mobile devices. Many travelers research and book trips on their smartphones, so a mobile-friendly experience is crucial for capturing demand.
  • Optimized Website with Online Booking: Once you have done the work of directing visitors to your site, what remains  Ensure your DMO’s website is optimized for user experience and search engines. Incorporate a seamless online booking system that allows visitors to easily browse, select, and book accommodations and activities directly from your site.

4.  Attract Visitors with Value-Added Offers Not Found Elsewhere

Travelers have many options when choosing lodging, considering location, price, amenities, and reviews. While a destination lodging booking solution helps with these essentials, it’s the value-added offer that can truly set you apart and answer the crucial “Why book here?” question.

DMOs, who are often involved in promoting local events and attractions, can leverage the booking solution to offer exclusive packages that include tickets, dining vouchers, or transportation discounts – all seamlessly added to a lodging booking. Imagine a visitor who finds the perfect hotel and secures a VIP pass to a concert they’re attending, all on your DMO website. This could be the tipping point in a booking conversion and a compelling reason to book on your platform.

These value-added offers can be strategically used during slower periods or to promote specific events, increasing visitor spend and overall economic impact for the destination.

5. Use Booking Conversions and the Collection of First-Party Data as Key Performance Metrics of Success

DMOs traditionally focus on acquiring an audience for their websites and social media channels. However, to measure the true economic value of their marketing efforts, they need to track conversions. A destination lodging booking solution serves as a powerful call to action within marketing campaigns, capturing the interest of potential travelers and leading to conversions with measurable data.

By integrating booking solutions into your campaigns, you can track promotions from various sources all the way to conversion, providing an accurate Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). While not all bookings may occur on the DMO’s site, it establishes a pricing baseline for comparison with OTA sites. 

Additionally, the solution offers a unique opportunity to collect valuable first-party data, including opt-in email addresses. This data is invaluable for remarketing campaigns, helping to promote repeat visits and attract new visitors through look-alike audiences. DMOs can also utilize this data to send follow-up emails and display retargeting ads to users who haven’t completed the booking process, reminding them to finalize their reservations. This strategic use of data not only enhances marketing effectiveness but also drives significant economic impact for the destination.

6. Be Prepared to Cater to Non-Traditional Booking Needs

A DMO booking solution allows organizations to address unique, unplanned, or Emergency Response lodging needs within their communities and serve as a trusted resource. The platform can be used to provide housing to DMO constituents as a singular connection to available inventory. Some examples may include:

  • Natural Disasters: Housing relief for locals who may be displaced during natural disasters such as fires, hurricanes, and floods.
  • Humanitarian Crises: Lodging inventory dedicated to asylum seekers and refugees.
  • Recruitment Events: Housing needs during university and business recruitment.

7. Support Convention, Meetings, and Sports Group Housing Needs

Convention and sports group housing is a crucial aspect of attracting major events to your destination. DMOs play a pivotal role in this process by cultivating leads, sending out RFPs, and, once their destination is selected, collaborating with the group to fulfill their specific requirements. These groups often require specific accommodations and streamlined booking processes. A destination lodging booking solution offers several advantages for fulfilling these needs:

  • Access to Destination Lodging Inventory: The booking solution already has access to the destination’s lodging partners’ inventory and these can be leveraged for Group Housing Services. Established working relationships enable the satisfaction of rooming needs with negotiated rates and room blocks or through live rates and availability.
  • Real-Time Reporting: This feature provides the DMO and lodging partners with access to real-time room pick-up data, allowing for the assessment of additional block needs or the adjustment of room release dates.
  • Group Housing Overflow Services: When a group block sells out or after a 30-day block cut-off, Group Housing Overflow Services can quickly provide a booking link with live rates and availability to additional housing inventory. All rooms booked can be tracked and added to increase room pick-up.

By leveraging these advantages, DMOs can effectively support the housing needs of conventions, meetings, and sports groups, ensuring a seamless and satisfactory experience for all participants.

In today’s competitive tourism landscape, a destination lodging booking solution is more than just an option for DMOs – it’s a strategic advantage. This powerful tool empowers DMOs to transform from destination promoters to booking powerhouses, attracting visitors with curated experiences and seamless booking options. By capturing bookings at the source, slashing commissions, and offering exclusive value-added packages, DMOs can drive significant economic benefits for their communities. A lodging booking solution fosters deeper connections with visitors, solidifying the DMO’s position as the central hub for all things travel in their destination. The result? A thriving tourism ecosystem where DMOs, lodging partners, and visitors all win.