It’s not always sweetness and light for small hotels when it comes to booking commissions.
New research indicates small hotel owners are falling into passionate ‘love/hate’ relationships with Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) which help them sell room space, but often in the face of high commissions of between 15-25%.
Hotel booking software provider, Welcome Computer Systems Ltd, devised the ‘Big Question?’ survey to better understand how small hotels and OTAs are interacting, and to see improvements could be made to the industry’s booking management services.
The Big Question asked small hotel owners: ‘Can your customers obtain your hotel’s best rates only by booking directly?’
“We’ve been surprised by the strength of feeling generated on the pros and cons of working with OTAs,” explains Welcome Computer Systems’ Director, Mark Ellis. “The subject has hit a nerve and given voice to significant opinions on the future of the sector.”
Initial responses to the Big Question from hoteliers include:
“OTA’s are very good at threatening hotels by saying that they must have the best available rates!”
“What guests booking via third party sites don’t appreciate is the huge commission the hotel/I have to pay.”
“It is always frustrating when you search your own website to find two or three entries showing your name before your own webpage.”
“Anything that can be done to let people know that many hotels do offer the best price on their own sites needs doing.”
Mark Ellis continues: “Over 80% of respondents to the Big Question say they are giving their best offers to customers who contact them directly, despite being obliged to deliver these deals through OTAs.
“However, with an average £30 per booking being saved through OTAs, it is clear that they perform an important role by introducing new business and giving greater visibility to hotels. We’ve also found that hoteliers need to invest much more in their online presence, and ensure guests can easily check room availability and make bookings.”
“We look forward to expanding this debate and the scope of the Big Question over coming months, and to giving OTAs their opportunity to have a say on the changes they would like to see across the small hotels and guest house sector.”