Love it or loath it the internet is definitely here to stay and like many other areas it has revolutionised the hotel industry. I am old enough to remember telex machines, rack rates and even paper booking sheets to record rooms booked and length of stay. In many ways the internet has given hotels the opportunity to become more efficient and customer focused but it has also brought with it significant challenges.
One of those challenges is the rise of the OTA (Online Travel Agent) and the cost of doing business to the hotel of that booking channel.
Many guests now choose to book through an OTA - Booking.com, Laterooms or Expedia for instance. I can understand why…they have state of art websites which are very easy to use, meta search facilities so that you can compare prices for different hotels and the advertising and marketing spend that they have at their disposal means that their brand is well known and they are high up on any search that you make on the internet.
However, as a business we limit the Online Travel Agents that we work with and we would always encourage our customers to book direct where we think that you will get the best experience, after all it is our hotel. Booking direct means we can allocate the most suitable room, talk with confidence about our restaurant and pub and explain about all the exciting things there are to do in the area.
We have a fantastic website which is suitable for any device from desk top to tablet and mobile. It is packed with lots of information on the hotel and if you prefer to book on-line we have a quick and easy booking experience that takes the reservation straight into our system.
Whether it is calling the hotel direct or booking on our website we know our product better than anyone and we have a team that want to ensure you receive the best Castle Green or Pinewood experience.
What guests generally also do not know is how much OTA’s charge hotels in commission. It may surprise you that the commission costs on each booking start at 15% and go as high as 30% depending upon the OTA. This means that for a £100 accommodation booking via Booking.com we will pay £18 before the VAT is taken off.
But why should the guest care about that? The rate will be no higher than booking direct (that is one of the conditions of the contract) and the terms and conditions are comparable.
Well, I think it matters because those costs need to be absorbed by the business which means less money to spend on other things – refurbishment or payroll for instance. We still make sure in our hotels that we provide value for money and always aim to exceed the customer’s expectation but costs of this significance ultimately have an impact.
We also encourage customers to book through Best Western where the costs are lower and the profits of the organisation go back into marketing and services for the benefit of the Member hotels and customers.
Of course, anyway that you choose to book we would like to welcome you to the BEST WESTERN PLUS Castle Green and Pinewood Hotels but we believe that direct is best because we can tailor the booking to your requirements and use the money we save in commission to invest back into the business.
Why don’t you give it a go?