What can Hoteliers learn from the Thomas Cook collapse?
Thomas Cook, one of the most well-known brands in the history of the travel industry, has collapsed after a financial rescue failed to materialize. The bankruptcy of the 178-year-old travel agency has left thousands of passengers stranded and put thousands of jobs at risk.
While travelers search for answers and refunds after the company went into liquidation, many hotels and resorts who depend on Thomas Cook tourists are worried what will happen to them.
Should hoteliers aim to rely solely on direct bookings?
It is obvious, as a hotelier you love receiving direct bookings. After all, you won’t have to pay any commissions and you will gain more profit. And whenever a travel operator goes bankrupt, like what happened to Thomas Cook, you won’t have to face the consequences of their failure. But you might be missing the point here. It is neither a good idea to totally depend on OTAs nor should you get rid of them. It may seem hard to find the balance between direct bookings and online travel agencies, but it is fundamental to do so.
Why are OTA Hotel Bookings important for hoteliers?
Listing your hotel property on an OTAs website such as Booking, Expedia, and previously Thomas Cook, will help generate exposure to attract travelers to view your property details. Especially small hotels and mid-sized resorts might benefit from the immense marketing budgets and efforts these OTAs invest. According to a survey by Google, more than 50% of travelers worldwide visit a hotel brand’s website only after locating the details on an OTAs website first.
How do you find the right balance between direct bookings and OTAs?
While your hotel may or may not be able to survive without OTAs, you want to be securing as many direct bookings as possible to avoid commission fees. Using an OTA to get a traveler to make a reservation at your hotel the first time is well worth the cost of the commission on the booking. It’s then up to you to exceed your guests’ expectations so that they will want to stay at your property again in the future. Encouraging guests already familiar with your property to book their next stay directly with your hotel is the key to achieving a happy balance.
How to increase my hotel’s performance?
Although the collapse of Thomas Cook has spelt bad news for tourists, staff and hoteliers alike, this should not be a reason for you to panic and make hasty decisions. However, it’s never a bad idea to take a closer look at the percentage of your direct bookings versus business from third-party platforms. It’s always important to create the perfect balance between the two to keep the regular flow of guests visiting your hotel property.
You can schedule a free demo with our team to discuss your hotel website’s performance, the customer journey that your website visitors go through, and “quick-fixes” to increase your direct bookings and reduce OTA commissions.