The Second Annual #BookDirect Guest Education Day, was yesterday February 6, 2019. This is the day that all independent b & b’s give shout out to let our guests know that booking direct is booking smart.
What is an OTA
Over the past several years there has been an onslaught by OTA’s or On Line Travel Agencies. You have probably searched for hotels, b & b’s, or airline flights on some of them. Do the names Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Trivago all sound familiar? I thought so! Well did you know that they are all owned by the same company called Expedia Group. It is the number two global travel group behind Bookings Holdings which swallowed up Priceline a few months ago. Actually there are about 23 different OTA brands all under the umbrella of Expedia as laid out in the this interesting article on Skift.com. And then add TripAdvisor and Airbnb to the mix and you get even more OTA’s!
How the OTA’s work to get your money
Now unknown to a lot of people who use these sites is the fact that many of them charge you a fee. Some fees are spelled out when you check out and some are wrapped into the taxes and ‘other’ charges. Just make sure to read the fine print. For further reading you might check out this article at airfarewatchdog.com. It is also good to note that OTA’s charge the host or innkeeper a commission on each booking. Some of these fees can go as high as 20-25% of the room rate. They don’t book $10 billion in revenue in one year without charging at both ends of the sale!
The ads from all of these OTA’s flash across our screens daily to tell us that it is much better to book through them for the best available rate, guaranteed! But this is simply not factual and in some incidences it could be deceptive. I remember one time in planning a trip I went on a number of those OTA’s to get the best price on a plane ticket to Chicago. After a few hours comparing prices at the various sites I decided to go directly to Southwest Airlines website. Within just a few minutes I found their ticket price cheaper than any of the OTA’s. Since then I have never bothered to go to an OTA website for any travel needs.
As small B & B property owners we all work hard to get out the word to potential guests who are searching for accommodations. We all maintain our own websites, social media sites, and try very hard to get placed on the first page of a Google search. But that is where we start having problems. You see, the big corporate OTA’s, and we include Airbnb and TripAdvisor in here also, jump in and buy up the advertising to be on the top page of Google, Bing. etc. So what happens when all those OTA’s pay for the top positions on that first page of Google? What happens is that the little B & B doesn’t get a seat at the top spot. We only hope that you will continue your search for those hidden gems called Independent B and B’s. So when you need accommodations just put the city and state you wish to visit in the search bar. Then skip all of the paid OTA ads at the top and scroll down to find all the great independent b & b’s and inns.
Advantages to #Book Direct
And you know there are many advantages to booking direct with a b&b, hotel or inn. To learn more about why to book direct visit another of our BLOG posts . You not only save the fees but you get the satisfaction of having supported a local business instead of a corporate giant. So the next time you need accommodations remember to #Book Direct!