Hoteliers’ Love-Hate Relationship with Booking.com

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Booking

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Around 50% of all online hotel bookings in Europe go through the Priceline-owned Booking.com, creating a love-hate relationship with hoteliers and the travel portal, says Pedro Colaco, co-founder of Guestcentric in a recent article based on latest findings from the USA.

On the one hand hoteliers are looking to free themselves from the dominant travel partner and instead generate direct bookings. On the other hand, barely a hotel can afford not to work with them, even at 20 per cent commission for top listings in their search pages.

Colaco offers a strikingly sober look “at booking.com’s dominant position” considering “the risk of cost for hotels going up in the future (as it is already in many cities in Europe) and the hotels’ being held captive if they don’t have a balanced distribution strategy”.

Colaco also offers a powerful message to hoteliers regarding achieving their own online presence:

  1. Great looking website– Many studies show that a large majority of consumers would prefer to book directly with the property given the same terms and conditions. To instill consumers with the trust to book, it’s important to have a stunning website that conveys to potential clients a positive feel for the hotel,;
  2. Multi-channel reservations – it is vital to diversify channels, and ensure that your hotel is present in at least 5-10 mass channels, including Expedia/Hotels.com, lastminute.com, hotels.de and the ones that may be most relevant to your segment (e.g. if you have a boutique hotel, you should try to get listed on splendia.com, tablethotels.com, mrandmrssmith.com);
  3. Optimize for mobile devices – Mobile is the fastest growing channel in hotel bookings, especially last-minute reservations. With the increase of reservations by mobile devices, your hotel needs to have a website and booking engine optimized for mobile devices;
  4. Collecting guest information – Collecting your guests’ data so as to target the right profiles with your promotions and reward the best guests with campaigns that encourage loyalty;
  5. Presence on social platforms – a beautiful page on the major social networks can go a long way to increase an hotel’s brand exposure;

The growth in recent years achieved by travel portals such as Booking.com are clearly a double-edged sword for hoteliers – you can’t live with them, can’t live without them.

Have you reserved a hotel room via Booking.com recently? Do you work with Booking.com? Are you part of Booking.com? Please share your thoughts below.

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