The struggle for a direct booking

Just recently, I booked a hotel room via an OTA because the hotel website was looking kind of lousy and there wasn’t a booking engine to make a direct booking online.

After a few days, the hotel owner called me and offered me a bottle of wine if I cancelled my OTA reservation and made a direct booking. I told him that this was basically illegal and advised him to increase his efforts in catching people on his website.

His reaction revealed the dilemma that a lot of hotels are experiencing in 2016.  A member of the older generation, he was unaware and a little scared of the possibilities offered online. At the same time he seemed a somewhat desperate because a good portion of his bookings were coming from OTAs, costing him a significant amount in revenue.

Where there are risks, there are rewards

“If I were to look at the world through the lens of Expedia and Booking, I would probably argue that my biggest competitors are not other OTAs or suppliers, but the hotels themselves.”

– Mike Ford, co-founder and managing director at SiteMinder–

For many hoteliers, the internet emerged as a shadowy threat while being a lifesaving necessity at the same time. It is this love-hate battle between hotels and OTAs, which is dominating the 21st century hotel industry. And since the big OTAs have huge financial and technological resources at their disposal, it’s not a battle fought on equal terms.

This is why I cannot really blame this hotelier for trying to convince his guests into making a direct booking. How could he know that within all the virtual connections, all the tech-savvy online offers, there lies a concrete chance to take his hotel to the next level. How could he know about efficient ways to catch my direct booking online and save on commission. How could he know about offering an up-to-date website, including an option to book directly.

It’s just about taking the risk to leave your comfort zone for the potential reward of becoming a real competitor to OTAs.

Need a strong partner? Talk to us!

The good thing is, you don’t need to be groping in the dark all alone. Get a partner that shares their digital power and experience as well as providing you with the equipment necessary to take on this battle.

At Customer Alliance, our work is entirely aimed at supporting hotels in doing their daily work and handling bookings, reviews and pricing online. Talk to us without any commitment. Learn more about the possibilities to stand on your own two feet. Don’t be forced to offer a bottle of wine in exchange for a direct booking, but get that direct booking right on your website.

Get your free demohere, talk to us and grow stronger! Be prepared for the 21st century