For years everyone tried to cut out the middleman to ensure that we got the best deal. Consumers got wise and clever and started buying direct and for a while everything was rosie. Then came along the internet and we have seen a rise in comparison websites and for the hotel industry the rise of the Online booking agents like Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Trivago and Tripadvisor.
Whilst they provide great a platform to research hotels, B&B’s, Holiday apartments, Villas and entire houses there are some draw backs….
Yes they provide an easy booking platform which is Free to the consumer, you can read reviews and they even offer you “Free” cancellation….. but someone has to pay for this all singing & all dancing website plus all the TV ads and marketing. Who do you think pays? Well its all of the Hotels, B&B’s & Accommodation that are advertised through commission charged by the Online Booking Agent.
You might say well that’s fair enough, they are getting a service why shouldn’t they pay and I partly agree. Whilst we try and swallow this fee it does hit our bottom line. By the time we pay commission, VAT and card charges we loose a third of the rate charged before we have paid any bills, staff etc.
At the end of the day most operators will pass this charge on to the consumer by raising their tariffs, so who is really paying now? Well its you the consumer! Save money Book direct …. better the money in your pocket.
If you missed the national news on the 6th February you would have missed the news article about how these online booking agents are misleading consumers. You will see in the interview that they speak to a Which Magazine reporter who advises…. “do your research online then phone the hotel direct to book…. you’ll often get something free”