Your worst best friend? - Insights
Suppliers Your worst best friend?

In a time not so far away…

In recent years, mostly in Europe tour operators would book entire hotels to fill up with guests that would travel on the tour operator’s planes. Hoteliers loved this model, because while price was low, occupation was guaranteed and often paid upfront.

However, as service degraded or competition increased, Tour Operators would book other hotels. Hoteliers that relied solely on a few Tour Operators would struggle establish new channels, or fail and go out of business. But what does all of this have to do with’s success for independent hotels has taken Europe by storm, and is now making inroads into the US. Studies show that over 50% of all hotel nights booked in Europe are booked through

This level of market consolidation has been a bonanza for independent hotels. Without any brand recognition, has become the ideal digital marketplace to promote and sell their rooms to guests from all over the World.’s has been able to create a formidable marketplace with a large amount of inventory (many consumers consider that “all hotels are on, at least all that matter”), it does not take payments upfront, and’s increased focus on user reviews provides a one-stop-shop for consumers. now claims to be the number one online hotel reservation service in the World. From our experience with hoteliers, certainly has significant distribution power, and there is no doubt that it represents an increasingly significant portion of the income of numerous hotels throughout the World.’s obsession with price is obsessed with providing the best possible prices to consumers. J.D. Power and associates reported that has the highest customer satisfaction rate of independent travel websites, mainly due to competitiveness of pricing.

This obsession with price causes the relationship that hoteliers have with to frequently be one of love-hate. They love the reservations that brings in, but they hate it when they have to sell for low prices, preventing them from differentiating their hotel on any other factor.

To add insult to injury,’s flat commission model has been replaced by one of bidding for position on the first page of a destination. It is not infrequent that hotels pay over 20% in commission to be on the first page of the recommended properties in their city.

These issues and’s market power, make its relationship with hotels uneven. Hotels might be receiving significant revenue from the reservations that are made through the site, but if they depend on for their reservations, they have little bargaining power.

The playing field is tilted recently started taking one-sided decisions on how their system operates and forcing hotels to adapt. For example, recently reserved the right to automatically resell a room that one of its customers has canceled, apparently to protect their  commission. also changed their information policy and now blocks access to the customer’s information, e.g. by eliminating customers’ e-mail addresses apparently to prevent direct contact between hotels and customers.

Even appreciating all the revenue they get from, most hotels’ situation may be so precarious that if were to raise its commission margins there is little that they can do about it.

In a recent debate at Phocuswright Conference, hoteliers divided channels between good channels (the ones that extend reach or create new markets) and bad channels (the ones that cannibalize their natural markets, e.g. by bidding on their keywords, e.g. Hotel XYZ).

With taking all these steps, how can hoteliers really trust that has their best interest in mind and is not their worst best friend?

Balance your presence through hotel digital marketing

Hotels need understand how to use for their benefit, but not be overly dependent on it. They need to understand how to keep the reservation service at arm’s length by having a sound hotel digital marketing strategy.

It’s important to have a multi-channel digital marketing strategy that gives hotels digital presence. Achieving such online presence would include, among other factors:

  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/,, 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,,;
  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;


No hotelier wishes to have their hotel completely booked this year if they are to find themselves empty and helpless next year, because their reservations only came from one channel and they didn’t have any other channels established.

Hotels need to have a multi-channel digital marketing strategy, so as to avoid any kind of dependence on any one service for their online revenue. They need to have a digital presence that safeguards them from other companies having power over them. One that guarantees that they are sought out by potential clients no matter on what search engine these are conducting the search.

Request a demo of GuestCentric’s innovative solution

Tags: , ,

Related Courses

Related Articles

mycloud Has Been Awarded Summer 2019 Best Usability and Expert Choice by Software Suggest Awards
EHL Group: new appointments to the Board of Directors of the consulting entity EHL Advisory Services

You might also like:

Join over 60,000 industry leaders.

Receive daily leadership insights and stay ahead of the competition.

Most popular:

Popular this week: