Can a hotel survive without Booking.com?

The answer is YES. Not only it will survive, the revenue amount will increase. But how?

Indeed it will take hard work to increase sales – this might never happen if you do not work for it. But with no presence on Booking.com, as long as the market request is high – you should have the same sales. So where is the catch?

  1. You will have more rooms available for walk-ins.
  2. You won`t have to relocate 1 or 2 early bookings from Booking.com to take a group. If you relocate, you also get a terrible review.
  3. There is no comission for wholesalers, travel agencies, walk-in, groups – unless you want to.
  4. You will afford to keep the rates lower with at least 10%.
  5. If your rates are low – you get more guests. And even more loyal guests.
  6. If you pay attention, when demand is really high – you might have the last room in town and also the most expensive.
  7. No more bad reviews. You can control your own image.

So the main idea is that you get to have the same sales – because there is demand – and pay 0% comission. If there is no demand on the market, not even Booking.com will be able to sell your hotel rooms.

I know that there is a general belief that Booking.com is your worst best friend and we owe that to the high comissions combined with high sales. But that is not actually true. Booking.com is not a hotel`s friend as much as a hotel is not Booking.com`s best friend. It is just a toxic relationship in which the hotel pays for the OTA`s marketing instead of paying on his own marketing.

What should you do? I`m not telling you to give up on this specific OTA (even though you should), but i can tell you what i did.

Due to some situation that i will not talk about because i am not yet sure what actually happened, i had to close the collaboration with Booking.com for few months for one of the hotels. For the other, i did not. It is important to say that the property that no longer works with Booking.com is a new property – zero history, zero guests portfolio. As you can imagine, taking this step makes you invisible in the market. Or at least, that was what i thought in the beginning. And then it happened: the miracle. Same sales – no comission. So i started to invest the 18% comission in my own marketing.

What did i do with 18%:

  1. I invested in my own booking engine for my website.
  2. I invested in local awareness on Facebook.
  3. I invested in AdWords.
  4. I invested in new furniture.
  5. I invested in a better breakfast.

The 18% percent comission is a huge waste for both small and big hotels – even 15% is a lot. Add Genius and other discounts and the only thing you get is a high rate and low revenue.

What did i get in exchange:

  1. Loyal guests – and by loyal i mean loyal to my brand. They are no longer loyal to Booking.com, but to our hotel. Now the guests no longer search our hotel on Google to book a room, they either call or book on our website.
  2. Happy guests – because we provide better services and better products.
  3. Great reviews – because there is a great review system on Google, very honest and accurate even thought it is open to the entire world.

How to survive with Booking.com?

Surviving without it is easy, surviving with it is the real struggle. I`ve decided that i will not close the account since it is a bigger hotel and because of that – it`s a little harder to get 100% occ. all the time. But i did close the availability in most of the days so i can sell the rooms directly to the guests. Unless my occupancy is lower than 40% in a day, i do not open the sales on Booking.com. I no longer feed the OTA, i force the OTA to feed us.


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