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BookingSuite is now offering hotels a 'free' website in exchange for a 10% commission.  It is important for hotels to realize that in exchange for a free website, BookingSuite will include its own booking engine (replacing the hotel's existing booking engine) and any direct booking through the hotel website will incur a 10% commission.  This means that hotels are now entrusting their most valuable sales channel to an Online Travel Agency (OTA), and as an industry, this raises some important questions.  

1. What is the impact of syncing the rates and availability offered through the hotel's direct channel with Booking.com?

Hotels have spent the last decade strengthening their own hotel websites, implementing innovative booking engines that give them a competitive advantage over the OTAs and spending more marketing dollars than ever to attract people to their own websites.  Traditionally hotels offer the best rates and availability on their own website, and we have seen the practice of rate parity deteriorate lately as hotels have grown more confident about attracting more direct bookings through their own websites in an effort to reduce the amount of commissions paid to the OTAs.  Having direct access to rates and availability on the hotel website would most certainly give Booking.com an edge over Expedia, but it also eliminates the hotel's ability to reserve any price advantage for its own direct channel.

2. Can BookingSuite tag visitors to hotels' direct websites and then start re-targeting them with Booking.com advertisements?

Delving into the details of the privacy policy, it states that BookingSuite uses cookies and web beacons (sometimes from 'third parties').  The policy states, "Either directly or through service providers, we use these pixels as part of our online advertisements either on our website or on third-party websites to learn whether a user who is being shown an online advertisement also makes a reservation; to track conversion with partner websites and to analyze the traffic patterns of users to optimize the travel-related Services we bring to our Customers."  Can the advertisements on third-party websites direct users to book on Booking.com instead of the hotel website?  If so, then hotels that are using BookingSuite to power their hotel website and booking engine are potentially allowing their own direct customers to be more easily poached by Booking.com.

We asked BookingSuite about this last week but they politely declined to comment.

3. While other booking engine providers are creating tools to help hotels capture bookings from OTAs, can BookingSuite be expected to do the same given their new ownership?

Hotels should determine what 10% of the revenue through their own website will amount to on a monthly basis and compare that price tag with other solutions that are on the market.  There are plenty of more cost effective options for hotels when it comes to high quality websites and online booking engines, and some of them provide hotels with revenue management and promotional tools that give the hotel website a competitive advantage over the OTAs. 

Can hotels feel confident that BookingSuite will create innovative tools to help them attract more bookings to their own hotel website and away from Booking.com, Expedia and others?

Is the hotel giving up their competitive price advantage on their own hotel website by allowing BookingSuite to sync their rates with Booking.com?

Are hotels wasting their marketing dollars by driving traffic to their own sites if those visitors are then tagged and retargeted by Booking.com?

About Regatta Travel Solutions Inc.

Regatta Travel Solutions offers a patent-pending booking solution for hotels and attractions that incorporates booking capability never seen before in the industry.  The system is widely used by independent hotels and hotel chains to increase direct booking volume.  Regatta also provides a private label Online Travel Agency platform, used by DMOs (Destination Marketing Organizations) across the globe, as well as a sophisticated sports housing platform. Visit www.regattatravelsolutions.com for more details.

Contact: Holly Settle

PR@RegattaTravelSolutions.com / 434 806 7653

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May 4, 2015 6:44pm

dave@tambourine.com says:

Bravo!
Your point #2 is genius.

Dave Spector
Partner
T A M B O U R I N E
New York City • Fort Lauderdale