Friday, 25 September 2015

Spare a Thought for Motel Owners...

The way you book online makes a huge differences
to small business. Go direct whenever you can.
And not just for the reasons you're probably guessing(!)

I'm lucky enough to have designed and built websites for a few clients in the accommodation business now, from Chinchilla to Ballina and in between.  Speaking with those clients, I get to understand a little more about their particular industry. And I learned something today that I thought I should probably share...

Independent hotel (and motel) owners are doing it tough lately.  Not only is the industry very competitive and seasonal, but it's also getting more expensive to run.

One of the biggest factors in this, is the influence of the large online-booking corporations (let's call one, "") which save consumers time by presenting a selection of accommodation choices, relieving the need to search and look at the choices individually.

These online booking corporations derive income from both advertising, and by a set commission payable by the motel upon bookings made. These commissions are often as high as 15%! That's a big slice of any businesses' profit.

To make matters worse, these booking corporations currently prohibit their subscribed businesses from listing a price lower than their advertised price.  This action (which arguably amounts to a form of price-fixing and is set to be challenged in the courts) restricts businesses in their ability to compete at a fair price for their services.

To unsubscribe from the big online-booking websites is not a simple choice for businesses either, because the big corporations' advertising and web-traffic levels means that small businesses will almost never beat them to the top of the Search Results.

The cost of convenience in this case is not borne by us as consumers, yet. The hotel pays it. But as the trend to use corporate booking websites increases, that cost will inevitably have to be shared and passed through.

So what can be done about it? 

Simple... next time you're looking to book online through one of those big advertised websites, take another moment to visit the actual website of the hotel (or motel) concerned.  You'll probably find they have their own online booking portal on there. You wouldn't pay any more than the discounts offered on If the hotel site price is higher, it probably just hasn't been updated yet (they've got a lot to do!) so just flick them an email or make a call asking for the price.  Chances are they'd be very glad to give it!

If you like this article, I urge you to consider sharing it.  It'll help to start making a significant difference to the hard working people in our tourism industry.

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