A very hot topic today among independent hotels in Europe is its dependence on booking.com as the dominant external channel for bookings. On one hand the perception is that it is a great tool to fill up with bookings without any marketing efforts. On the other hand many feel disconnected from their guests not being able to communicate with them or in an efficient way collect contact details for further communication and repeat visits.
One thing does not have to exclude the other.
However, to be in control of your guest information and communication coming from your own web site and domains should be a strong focus for several reasons:
- Repeat customers are more profitable than new customers. True in almost every industry.
- Commission free bookings.
- The guest experience is the sum of total touch points including communication and service before, during and after a stay. Therefore, you have to take responsibility of the whole journey.
- A visitor expects talking to you on your own domain.
- And simply, your own web site is part of your product.