The price of Hotels on the Internet : the big lie. How to book a hotel room at the best price in 2019
Booking a hotel room : Since customers looking for a hotel are connected to the internet, they are now searching online. And when it comes to booking a hotel room or finding a cheap hotel the list of proposals is long. The booking engines were not mistaken and they trust the first places for the hotel booking.
Hotel booking sites
Since about twenty years that I work as independent hotel, I have experienced profound changes in the booking habits of consumers who are my customers.
Being in regular contact with them at the reception of my hotels, I tried to understand why online travel agencies type Booking and Expedia to name a few, had for some years almost monopolized the hotel booking market online, and how this market had escaped the hoteliers themselves, the latter being forced to pay high commissions on each room sold by these intermediaries that we will call in hotel jargon the OTA (acronym Anglo-Saxon meaning: Online Travel Agency) .
These online travel agencies have seen their turnover grow in recent years in a continuous and sometimes dazzling;
To name a few, BOOKING.COM, a very profitable Dutch subsidiary of the American PRICELINE, now accounts for more than 30% of the bookings recorded on the French Hotel booking Market, for an annual turnover exceeding 6 Billions of Euro, 35% of profit margin … .that’s right!
Of course, you should know that the commissions paid by the hotels affiliated to Booking.com, are paid monthly directly to its Dutch subsidiary, and thus escape most taxes such as VAT through the mechanism of Auto Clearing.
In the hour of economic patriotism, that’s all.
On every booking recorded on BOOKING.COM, the hotelier gives back at least 17% of commissions, and again it is a minima of which we speak, because obviously booking proposes to the hotels which wish it, to increase this percentage substantially in return for a better ranking in the categories of hotels sought by customers eager to make good deals at the best price.
For our readers who would not know it yet, for every booking made by you future and very dear customers through the Internet portals of these unavoidable distributors, the Hotelier pays between 18% and 25% commission to each of the agencies mentioned before.
The room sold can be commissioned to more than 45%, Booking offering for example an option on its website reserved for hoteliers who would have chosen, to put their establishment in the ranking of the first pages of its website booking.com, thus promising to improve the attractiveness of the hotels that would like it, and at a high price.
This is what BOOKING calls in its jargon to seize an « opportunity »
This opportunity is achievable by the Hotelier itself through the website booking.com dedicated to hoteliers that allows him, in three clicks, to target the dates chosen to boost sales of its rooms on slack periods for example, to possibly define the targeted country, and to finish by choosing the rate of retro-commission that the Hotelier thus wishes to release for the benefit of booking.com, as the extracts opposite show it.
Book a cheap hotel directly
Booking a hotel room directly on the hotel website saves you money
For some time google offers when we do a search on a hotel an insert on the right of the page with the main info, customer reviews, a carousel and prices offered to book a room in this hotel.
If you are looking for a cheap room in Marseille, you say « thank you Google to help me compare to find where to sleep for cheap. »
If we go on the principle of Google is my friend, which in this case is not quite true.
When you are looking for a cheap hotel, check its website and more specifically the booking page of its hotel and you will see more than remarkable differences.
In the example of the hotel Edmond Rostand in Marseille, you can book a room for the night from 19/3/17 to 20/03/17 for 45 € live. Hotel booking sites are all more expensive, from 49 € to 53 €.
Edmond Rostand Hotel Booking Marseille
EXPEDIA proposes to its hoteliers to participate in programs in partnership with online travel agencies (SNCF travel type), marketing packages « Train + Hotel » or « Flight + Hotel », for an increased commission of the order 25%.
You will tell me, it does not matter, because for us, who are customers and informed consumers, everything is transparent and we settle for what we would have paid probably by having booked directly with the Hotel.
Why then would we go farther?
Even better, tempted by the good deals, and the promises made by all the advertising campaigns carried out by these big groups (of which not only one is French, let’s remember it here), you the consumer you believe winner by booking on these Internet sites portals, imagining that the price level practiced in these online agencies such as Booking and others, is much lower than you could have found by booking directly, without going through them.
Alas, as always promises only those who listen to them, as our famous politicians like to hide it.
Here are the reasons.
This belief, so entrenched in the minds of each future client of our institutions, takes root as we have already mentioned in the hype carried out by each of these large groups who spend lavishly in social media, traditional or internet by the purchase of keywords paid a fortune to try to convince you that thanks to their effective marketing policy and their great sense of business, they were able to find for you THE best price, by negotiating bitterly business with the hoteliers they were able to convince them to participate in their program.
Know that in the majority of cases now, it is not.
You, future customers, should scratch the coat of varnish of the media packaging that is proposed to you by the OTA to go further in your search for the best prices and benefits, and for the following reasons:
1- It is the Hotel itself that sets the number of rooms it wants to sell on the Internet:
And of course it is in direct sales with its customers, or it is on the platforms of distribution of OTA type Booking or Expedia.
It is also the Hotelier himself who decides to submit its offers as well as its availability of rooms on OTA booking sites, by closing a rate offer or by deciding to increase the price of the rooms he has chosen give them back.
And of course, OTAs have every interest in hiding it.
Take the test yourself, trying to make a fake sale on an establishment that is marked as « complete » on the site booking.com, and try to make a direct booking with the Hotelier, either by phone, or well on its official website if provided.
You will find that in some cases (not in all, of course), you will find a miracle of availability where a few minutes ago the hotel that you had targeted at your favorite OTA had yet been reported as having sold all its rooms.
Why will you tell me ? And quite simply because the Hotelier obviously seeks to preserve a part of the margin that the distributors claim, and that in case of direct sale it will thus avoid having to pay the famous commission to these OTA.
2- It is the Hotel itself that sets the rate of rooms it wants to sell on the Internet:
We have already mentioned and we come back on this crucial point, the Hotelier will seek to sell at the best price available rooms by offering them on the internet or in direct sales by phone including.
Keep in mind one important thing: the hotel sets all the prices it gives back to the OTA, this price level can be revised downward or upward almost instantaneously by the Hotelier himself, thanks to the famous website dedicated to hotels that OTAs encourage each of the affiliated hotels to connect to daily.
So why choose a live offer rather than give in to the disconcerting ease with which a hotel can be booked in less than 5 minutes via these OTAs?
Simply because the hotelier will increase the price of the rooms sold at the Booking et consorts, so as to recover a portion of the commission he must pay them monthly.
And yes dear customers, it is YOU who pays the commission of these operators for your hotel room.
The famous 15% to 30% commissions are reflected in the prices charged to these operators.
For example, be aware that our hotel offers a more elaborate price range than that dedicated to Booking and Expedia, less an average of 10% off the prices charged for these same OTAs, for the same room and the same services.
Single, double or triple it will be the same thing … ..
So why in this case hesitate?
Why, dear customers, should you continue to pay a high price, which is more the purpose of which is to self-feed a process that ultimately serves only to serve you?
Why continue to play the game of OTAs that obviously have no desire to see the celestial manna escape by making you glimmer like the lark that a better deal will always be a deal concluded with the help of their intermediary, and who live therefore only thanks to you, and especially to your wallet?
By booking directly to the Hotel without going through Booking, Expedia and all the others, you will get in the majority of the cases better rates, and better conditions and for the same room or the same service.
Still, do you know how to get there ……
Nothing is easier for that as we will see together in the next chapter.
3-How to book a hotel at the best price?
That’s it, you have targeted your hotel, watched carefully the comments that were posted on the websites of these OTAs, and finally you have chosen to book the offer that seemed to be the most interesting.
There, you must stop your move to take the credit card out of your wallet, and start going a step further in your approach.
Before paying or giving a credit card number, open a new window on your computer or mobile phone screen, and enter the name of the hotel you have targeted in the Google search bar, for example.
You will fall in 80% of cases on the official website of the Hotelier, which you can contact directly by phone or by trying if it is to book online directly at the best rate guaranteed.
And here it is thanks to this little research that you will recover purchasing power, on the basis of a « win / win » system
Win for you, dear customers, because you will be sure to make real savings on the offers that are available to you.
Do not forget to check the offers of hoteliers who can offer great opportunities depending on the filling rate in low season for example, or specific offers for weekend lovers or holidays.
Hotel promotions are not lacking, just know how to search.
Winner for us hoteliers, because you will be certain to be in contact with the real decision makers, and that we will have hotel us all latitude to try to find with you solutions to the possible problems concerning your specific requests on your bookings carried out on line ( last minute cancellations, modification of dates of stay, etc) without having to go through an intermediary who would sell pollute our joint action.
To conclude this article and to give you an idea of the stakes, know that BOOKING and its parent company PRICELINE spent more than one billion Euros on keywords on Google
Also remember that the money used to buy these keywords goes out of your pocket.
So, why hesitate longer?