Why did I start BookBetterDirect?
I find it unbelievable that an accommodation is paying the same or more commission for bookings as 20-30 years ago. Costs of hotel bookings are supposed to go down. Not up.
In the old days, you had your devoted travel agent, who was selling your rooms in actual physical stores, usually on high street locations.
They produced high gloss thick and heavy catalogues with pictures and text they wrote for you. They did one catalogue for the summer and one for the winter season.
They even had a representative present in your village, which you, or your guest, could call at any time to sort things out.
They did all that; the high street stores, the friendly sales people, the glossy catalogues and the helpful reps on a margin of 15 to 20%.
And now? Now the hotel pays the same or even more commission for basically a piece of software.
A radical change! The high street stores became google ads. The catalogues became a website. The helpful lady in the store is replaced by a FAQ section, an online payment system and automated emails. And the good old local Reps have become chat bots, or if you are lucky you catch a warm body in a Call Centre far away in the middle of nowhere for your urgent questions.
The hotel and guest have become nothing more than a commodity. A number. The personal touch is gone!
And if you want to book direct, the hotel is so hard to find. Literally overwhelmed with Online Travel Agents advertising for that exact same hotel. Even if they don’t have rooms available.
I guess the new travel agents, the online travel agents…. they were ok in the beginning.
People expect products, services and information to be available in a digital self-service way in near real time. And that is exactly what the OTAs were doing. They had technology advantage, as not many hotels had a website or an instant booking in place.
But now? Nearly all hotels have websites. Nearly all of them have better or equal prices and conditions. With lots of hotels you can book directly online. Lots of them want you to book direct. Lots of them offer direct booking benefits. BUT still direct bookings are not improving!
That’s because nobody is helping these hosts. There is no support. They have to vent for themselves to get their direct deals noticed on search engines.
For that they have to fight with the big OTAs for ranking and ad space. Always outnumbered, most of the time outbid and sometimes even outranked for their direct search result.
So that’s why we are here:
• To make sure that, who wants to book direct, can easily book direct
• To make sure that, who wants to have the best deal, can easily find the best deal.
• To make sure that, who wants to compare, can easily compare, in a fair and consistent way.
And if along the way we can motivate the behemoths to lower their commission fees and play fair, that would be great! But we are not holding our breath.
Founder of Book Better Direct