Depending on where your property is located in the world, you probably get the majority of your bookings through Booking or Expedia, and it’s likely to have been like that for a while. There are a few that don’t rely on them, but not many.
Both use increasingly inventive tactics to get accommodation providers to set up ever-cheaper rates with their full range of promotions.
A question for accommodation providers: why are you giving your cheapest prices to the OTAs that cost you the most?
It’s a race to the bottom. The more discounts accommodation providers give Booking and Expedia, the more people will book on their sites and the more accommodation providers will pay. Who can discount the most to keep those Booking or Expedia guests streaming in? Accommodation providers might not like paying the equivalent of 25% or 30% per booking, but it’s like eating a whole box of Pringles. They don’t taste that nice and you know they’re doing you no good, but something makes you keep doing it.
Granted, the reason that Booking and Expedia can charge so much is because they bring accommodation providers so much business. They have bottomless marketing budgets that reach every corner of the planet. However, their success is down to the accommodation providers themselves, and their willingness to agree to their every demand has created lower value for both accommodation providers and their guests.
The pressure is always on. Do you feel like you should be paying more to appear more prominently because other hotels in your area are? Is there a feeling niggling at you that they are getting more bookings because they appear higher than you? That rate intelligence tool that is supposed to make it easier for you to set your rates. Does it make it easier, or does it make it easier for you to discount when you realise what your competitors are charging? What about that website that Booking.com wants to build for you and pop their booking engine on? Great, except they will now always have availability when your website does. How about the discounts that you can set up for their members - the discounts that you pay for? An extra 10% discount for their valued travellers must really eat into your bottom line when you’re already paying at least 15% in commission.
There’s a vicious circle going on here. Accommodation providers say that they want change. Accommodation providers say that they want an alternative to the ‘big two’, yet they are complicit in their success by yielding to their every demand. There will be no alternative until there is a genuine appetite for change, with accommodation providers willing to stand up and actually make it happen.
What if you were to give better rates to the companies that charge you less commission?
Hotel Bonanza is a company in the early stages of offering you that lower commission at just 8%. The support we have received since soft-launching has been fantastic, with so many accommodation providers prepared to give us the time we need to get our business established in the knowledge that if we succeed, it will save them money.
If you truly want an alternative, you need to throw your weight behind a start-up like ours. It costs you nothing, aside from the time it takes to complete your registration. Give us the same rates or better, and we will be able to get across our message of a fairer deal for all on our website, on our Facebook group, in our email newsletters, on Whatsapp... Give us higher prices, and we will find it almost impossible to persuade people to book on Hotel Bonanza and the vicious circle will continue.
If your response is that Hotel Bonanza is just trying to do the same thing, but charge less commission, then ask yourself why that is? There is no choice now, the bar has been lowered so far that customers have become blasé about seeing offers of up to 70% off on rooms that are simply the same price as on another website. These discounts are so ubiquitous that they have become meaningless. We need our Bonanza Club to be different, a membership that consumers trust and want to be part of, one that offers genuine discounts and works with accommodation providers to give everybody a better deal.