Trip Advisor, Booking.com and Shameless Self Promotion

I’ve been reading with interest the comments on a forum I contribute to about how Trip Advisor is encouraging potential guests to book through their sister company, Booking.com, rather than direct them to the B&B websites.  How could that happen?

First we need to understand that what they are doing is maximising their position as the leader in travellers’ reviews, (Trip Advisor) and also as a booking engine (Booking.com) where B&Bs and hotels can get more exposure for themselves.  I know that many B&B owners subscribe to booking.com and other major booking engines such as Travelocity and Expedia and I did consider this myself when I first got started.  I know they bring lots of bookings through their domination of the search engines for which they pay and of course as partners with them, we can leverage off that exposure.

But at what cost?

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, for sure, and on closer inspection, I believe we need to think very carefully about how and where we promote ourselves as small B&B owners.

Here’s why:

  1. Every time someone books a room via one of the big booking engines, we pay a commission and it could be as much as 15%.  Great leverage for them, but less money for us.
  2. When listing our B&Bs here, we are exposing ourselves to price competition and discounting, and that can only lead to one thing – the poor house
  3. People who trawl the internet looking for the cheapest price (not just for B&B accommodation) are not our clients.
  4. Exposure to the tactics such as we’ve talked about above.
  5. Abdicating responsibility instead of learning how to do it ourselves is a risky business.

My belief is that we need to take care of our own marketing, instead of relying on the big boys to do it for us, where we’re in danger of losing control and losing money.  We need to ask ourselves the all-important question “what is that I do which is unique, and that guests appreciate the most?”  And if the answer is not forthcoming immediately, then keep asking, or better still, ask some past guests.

When we focus on adding value, and providing a quality experience for our guests, we’ll have no need for the big boys.   We’ll be minding our own business and we’ll be in charge of our own destiny, using the services of Trip Advisor in a way that suits us and our guests, not them!

Learning the skills and using the online tools available to market ourselves in a way that offers an amazing experience for our guests, plus more money for us and our businesses is what we focus on throughout our Website Mentoring Programme, and you can read all about it by Clicking Here.

Is it time to let Booking.com go and serve someone else now?