Booking.com, The ‘Unfair Fight’ for hotels
During the pandemic, the hotel business witnessed a stronger increase in online traffic than usual. But why is it increasingly becoming challenging to drive traffic to hotel sites? On a light note, Booking.com was one of the solutions most hoteliers went for.
And even though many hotels are still not appearing on this site, booking.com has become a basket where hoteliers run to for traffic. With that in mind, this article will highlight what is happening at booking.com and how to work through it.
The Virtual Cards with non-refundable bookings
One of the primary concerns surrounding booking.com is the infamous virtual cards and their online payment system. Most hoteliers see it as a ‘non-refundable model that continuously charges customers whose cards were not accepted by the hotel. Hotel owners decided to activate this feature at the expense of a huge commission.
It wasn’t until the pandemic hit when customers and hoteliers realized that this was a bad idea. That’s because all that money flew away, which was a direct warning of what could potentially happen in the future.
Direct payment at booking.com
In a different turn of ‘playing’ hoteliers, booking.com now also accepts prepayment on their bookings. And through that, they can generate cash while promoting the hotels. Amazing, right? WRONG!
In reality, booking.com is moving to the merchant world where they are charging the bookings and gaining from the undercut prices. That typically means the company offers lucrative prices than the direct channel. As you organize your battles against Expedia prices, you now have to deal with booking.com. More importantly, booking.com opens your hotel up to the most dangerous opponent.
Booking.com has taken the extra step to offer exclusive programs. Although this might sound like a good option, it’s only after taking a closer look at the program that you will realize what is indeed lurking behind the illusion. For instance, the exclusivity means their standard program gets lower traffic than the preferred plus package.
Recently, booking.com has notified hotels about their Genius rates can be pushed to its affiliates and partners. Your hotel prices will be available by default to their channels. Therefore, if you are not cautious, your Genius rates will be available throughout Booking’s network. Unfortunately, the Booking also comes to you only through Booking’s network.
Other Significant changes you need to note
If you haven’t noticed, Booking has also made significant contract changes that ultimately try to deal with direct sales. The company is planning to lower RRP as an incentive. That’s because, during the pandemic, this company has had so many rivals come up. Aside from that, they are also introducing Risk-free reservations, for booking.com, of course.
If you put your hotel on Booking, it will be a disadvantage to your website. That’s because it will be driving your customers out of their site. Note that this traffic was headed to your website, but because Booking will rank higher, customers are likely to trust them. You don’t know that the same customers might be willing to contact your website directly only to be redirected to Booking.
Booking.com is an efficient marketing piece for hoteliers, but you’ll have to regulate your relationship with them and how much they will control your prices. As you grow the direct sales share, you will gain independence and inventory control over your hotel’s revenue. Therefore, when working with Booking.com, adjust the settings depending on your needs without letting this take action on behalf of your hotel because it might be a lower cost.