We have seen the commercials and online ads for booking websites. These websites promise to book your hotel room, rental car, and airplane ticket for a fraction of the original fee. While most of these sites are legit, and there are few problems with consumers, the hotel and airline industries hate these sites. They cost them money, as people are booking not through their websites, but through websites that take from their cost, and discount their rates. It is perfectly legal, but many hotels, and Delta Airlines, are fighting these websites.
Delta Airlines is the first to say “no” to these booking websites. While this probably will not Delta’s bottom line, it does look greedy to the average consumer. Perhaps it is, as booking websites are becoming more and more popular. Hotels are jumping aboard, as well, but this may end up hurting hotels more so than it would an airline. Most of the hotels featured in booking packages are bigger name hotels – Marriot and Hilton, for example – but others are smaller, non-chain hotels that can greatly benefit from these websites. While it may take from your overall cash flow, it does garner more business.
Ultimately, it is your business, and if you wish to not be featured on booking websites, it is your right. However, you do need to do your research before withdrawing your hotel’s information. Check over your last few months, or even years, to see where your business has come from. Has it come from telephone reservations, walk-ins, through your website, or through booking sites? The numbers may surprise you, and may cause you to re-think your stance on the industry. In addition, you need to be sure to consult with your hotel merchant account processor. If you had a recent chargeback, check as to where it originated. If the costly charge came from a booking website, this could be enough to steer you away from using it. If not, you should carefully think about the pros and cons of using these websites. Be careful of any changes you make, as you want to make the best changes for your business.