.hotel Top-Level-Domain

Domain names for the hotel business

OTA Market Shares in Germany 2009

According to the German Hotel Association IHA (www.hotellerie.de) the two leading German hotel booking portals HRS.de and Hotel.de count for about 60% of the market of Online Travel Agents (OTAs) with in the German OTA market in 2009.

Provisions payed by hotels for hotel room bookings via the German OTAs range between around 8 up to 30%.

The hotel domain .hotel may help hotel to become more independend from the OTAs by better search engine rankings and more direct type-in by short, simple and descriptive domain names like www.one-and-only.hotel.

Search request for hotels

A good tool to find out more about the customers behavior is Google Insights which offers the option to select various parameters to specify a search request:

  • Search Terms
  • Locations
  • Time ranges (from 2004 to today)

You can search for instance for the search term “hotel berlin” on a worldwide basis within the last 12 month. The results are a “interest over time” graph with key news influencing the results, a world map which shows the intensity of interest in the search term, and the search terms specified into “top searches” and “rising searches”.

Google Insights is for DOTHOTEL a valuable tool to identify search terms, e.g. “hotel” versus “hotels” and the activity of searching customers in this area ans by this the demand for the .hotel top-level domain.

The graphical presenation for the “top searches” looks like this:

Timeline for the .hotel domain names

Where and when to register .hotel domain names?

Based on the latest developments in ICANN’s process for the acceptance and approval of new top-level domains such as .hotel we have created a chart which shows the next steps and the overall timeline. The estimated schedule for the introduction of the .hotel domain names is based on indications of ICANN in March 2010. The major milestones are:

  • June. 2010 – Publication of the 4th Draft of the Applicant Guidebook
  • December 2010 – Publication of the final version of the Applicant Guidebook
  • April 2011 – Submission of application for .hotel
  • March 2012 – Start of .hotel domain name registrations for the hotel industry

We expect that major domain registrars and their domain resellers (where you get your .com or .info domain name today) will offer .hotel domain names from Q2/2012.

A detailed timeline chart is available here.

.hotel at ICANN Nairobi

We participated with two people at the 37th meeting of the Internet administration agency ICANN in Nairobi to discuss with directors and staff the introduction of the .hotel top-level domain (TLD). ICANN is likely to open the application window for .hotel and other extensions like .sport, .paris or .ibm beginning of next year.

According to latest information from ICANN the new TLDs including dothotel may become available later in 2011. That means that hotels and hotel chains will be able to register domain names like www.choice.hotel or www.design.hotel at this time.

How .hotel domains will benefit customers + hotels

Recently a Google executive presented at a major hotel conference in Europe that the average customer seeking to book a hotel undertakes 12 search cycles during 26 days to finalize his booking.

These figures show how important it is to position the hotel’s homepage among the top search engine rankings in order to catch-up with as much as possible of the customers search requests.

This is exactly where the new .hotel domain names enter the online travel booking landscape because they will improve search engine rankings and by this reduce provisions paid to Online Travel Agents (OTAs) like Expedia, Hotel.de or Tripadvisor. In fact the .hotel domain names will be another simple and inexpensive as well as efficient and effective tool to increase hotel revenues in a strongly growing online travel business.

To summarize an extensive topic, here are the benefits offered by .hotel domain names in this regard:

Benefits of .hotel domain names for customers:

  • Better access to the hotel’s website through improved search engine rankings or type-in (direct search)
  • Trustworthy and latest information direct from the hotel owner
  • Availability of special and best price packages which are not offered by OTAs

Benefits of .hotel domain names for hotels:

  • Strong branding effects of the domain name since frequently used by customers
  • Less provisions paid to OTAs
  • Sustainable better search engine positions

This is a topic on which we will publish more soon, watch out on our website.

.hotel at German Hotel Congress

At this years top event of the German hotel branch, the Deutschen Hotelkongress 2010, which took place on 25./26. January in Berlin, we discussed .hotel with numerous hotel CEOs, e-commerce managers and search engine operators such as Google. There are many questions from the hotel community about .hotel and we had lots to do to answer them all.

The German hotel association IHA is supporting .hotel.

.hotel at World Hotel Congress in Belgrade

Our .hotel top-level domain project had been invited at the 47th Annual Congress took place between the 18th and 21st of January 2010 at the Continental Hotel in Belgrade, Serbia. With the start of the new decade, the Congress had highlighted the future of the hospitality industry. Belgrade, Serbia perfectly embodied this year’s theme of looking towards the future for opportunities of growth and development in the hotel industry.

We had the opportunity to present the .hotel TLD to a large audience and discuss numerous questions which where asked by the participants. Topic like the protection of hotel brand trademarks came up and requests when and where .hotel domain names will be available.

HOTEL Top-Level Domain managing directors Johannes Lenz-Hawliczek and Katrin Ohlmer at the IH-RA Board Meeting after the presentation on the benefits of .hotel for the global hotel industry.

.hotel to talk at 47th World Hotel Congress in Belgrade

The .hotel project has been selected to present its concept to a global hotel industry audience at the 47th annual congress of the International Hotel & Restaurant Association IH&RA, held from 18-21 January 2010 in Belgrade, Serbia. We are looking forward to this excellent opportunity to demonstrate the participants from all over the world the benefits of the .hotel namespace. Beyond these benefits, the focus of our presentation will be on our registration and rights protection policies. We will also be present on the exhibition floor and invite all delegates to visit our booth.

IH&RA requests ICANN to introduce .hotel

IHRA-logo-233x213In his comments to 3rd version of ICANN’s Applicant Guidebook for the introduction of new generic top-level domains the IH&RA President Dr. Ghassan Aidi reflected on the advantage that .hotel will give the hotel industry and hoteliers an identifier which is unique and descriptive, especially for consumers. Dr. Aidi said “Please accelerate the process as we do need badly DOT HOTEL”.

In a second post the IH&RA states that our .hotel project goals are fully in alignment with the International Hotel & Restaurant Association’s tasks. We appreciate that the IH&RA is convinced that the creation of the .hotel namespace will be a significant step towards the hotel industry. In direction to ICANN Dr. Aidi requests “We strongly encourage ICANN to go ahead swiftly with the new gTLD process. This will not only enable the merits of this innovative concept to be proven but may also have direct effects on the global hotel industry.”

About the IH&RA

The International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA) is the only global business organization representing the hospitality industry worldwide. It is a global network of independent and chain operators, national associations, hospitality suppliers and educational School in the hotel and restaurant industry, representing over 750.000 establishments in more than 150 countries. Officially recognized by the United Nations, IH&RA monitors and lobbies all international agencies on behalf of this industry, estimated to comprise 300.000 hotels and 8 million restaurants, employ 70 million people and contribute 950 billion USD annually to the global economy.

ICANN Chair Dengate-Thrush: .hotel is a very exciting idea

dothotel-lenz-icann-seoulWe presented the proposal for a .hotel top-level domain to a larger audience within the global Internet community (photo) at the 36. meeting of ICANN, the organization that manages domain names and IP numbers, in Seoul. Johannes Lenz-Hawliczek presented .hotel at the ICANN public forum to the ICANN Board of Directors. The audience applauded the idea of having a .hotel TLD and the Chair of the ICANN Board of Directors, Peter Dengate Thrush, welcomed .hotel with the words “sounds like another very exciting idea coming forward”.

We also discussed .hotel with trademark lawyers who work for large hotel chains and explained which rights protection mechanisms we will introduce to protect trademark owners like HILTON, MARRIOTT or HYATT. For .hotel domain names a phased introduction is foreseen which allows owners of intellectual property rights a preferred registration of their names before the open registration for members of the global hotel industry community starts.