We all know and hate the current OTA model implemented by the major OTA players and in fact they have recently found themselves under investigation by the CMA and reported by the U.K. Government, amongst others, for the ‘bully boy’ tactics they employ to push their users into booking.
It has been coined “the sense of urgency”. Tactics employed to cause stress to the user and push them into believing that they have no other choice. The “12 other people looking at this property now”, “only one place left”, all aimed at scaring the user into believing that they will lose out if they don’t book. They don’t allow hotels to be contacted directly, they charge hotels, sometimes up to 25% commission on all bookings, and yet we all continue to let them do it.
Why? Because they are the only option right? You hate the power they have over your revenue and the brandjacking they employ to push your own page further and further down the search list, yet we seem powerless to do anything about it, because they bring us bookings. So is there a valid alternative out there? One that conducts fair practice and wants to improve the industry as a whole, for hotels and their guest alike? Read on to find out.
Welcome to the bidroom, more than just an OTA
You may or may not have heard of bidroom.com, but if you haven’t then you need to have a look into them. Bidroom.com was established back in 2014 and originally had a business model where guests could request a weeks stay in London, for example, and then hotels could ‘bid’ on the guest to get their business. It was an interesting model that worked fairly well and was well received by many, but there were problems that could not be overlooked.
They changed to a subscription based model and asked for only 2% commission from the hotels they worked with. Move forward by 2 years and the present business structure was employed to make things fairer for both the hotels and the customers.
Setting things up to change the OTA industry
Bidroom.com now operate on a 0% commission model. Yes, you heard it right, 0% commission on all bookings received through their platform. There are no hidden costs, no brandjacking, no malpractice making their subscribers feel pressured into making a decision. In fact they even give you a free direct link to your own booking website to help drive your direct bookings.
Essentially, bidroom have changed the game. They are handing the power back to the hotels and the industry. They are allowing you to be in charge of your own revenue once again. All they ask from you as a hotel is a very small, one-off, setup fee. Typically this is £149 for Aparthotels, B&B’s, apartments and any hotels up to 2* and just £299 for 3* hotels and above. Once you have paid, you are live on the site and ready for commission-free bookings for life. They are integrated with many channel managers, including some of the biggest and most commonly used ones and as stated before they allow you to have a direct link to your own web page, to allow their subscribers to book with you directly rather than through their platform which is normally charged by the likes of Expedia, rumoured to be around £2500 annually!
Too good to be true?
It may seem as if it is too good to be true, but it really isn’t. Bidroom already have 120,000 hotels worldwide and 400,000 subscribers to their services and it is set to rise. They have recently partnered with Visa to give all Visa Cardholders in Europe, 6 months free access to the platform and then just £24.50 per year after that.
So what do their subscribers get for their money? Well at present they get access to lower prices than can be found on other major OTA’s, typically between 5% – 25% off the prices displayed on those OTA’s, but a minimum of 5% is guaranteed.
They also offer something called “Better Deal”. What this means is, if you have booked your hotel already with another OTA, they will do all they can to get you a better deal at the same hotel on the same dates, and if you choose one of the hotels they are not currently working with, they will do all they can to get that hotel on their site so they can secure the better deal for all future bookings for their subscribers too.
Your help is needed
If you are a hotel, you agree and are hacked off with the commission rates and the tactics used by the major booking sites, then be the change. Joining up with bidroom.com couldn’t be easier. It is a simple 5 step process, then connect your channel manager if you use one, and if you pay by card you could be active and up and running on the same day.
As reported by Forbes Magazine, they have secured funding from Egyptian billionaire Samih Sawiris and with that bidroom are trying hard to BE the change. They have put together a working business model, made everything as easy as possible and as fair as possible. They have done all they can to make it a fair deal for hotels, now all they need is you. If all hotels join bidroom, whether you are a chain, an independent, a B&B or apartment, we can all force the big OTA’s to make a change to their practices by showing them that things can be done differently simply by joining and supporting bidroom.com.
OTC (online travel community), wait, what?
What is next for bidroom? They are always looking for more hotels and apartments to join the site to give their subscribers the best options for booking, the more unique and stylish the better. Of course, they will also be expanding their subscriber levels and with all sorts of exciting features and extras on the horizon, 0% commission to hotels, some of the best rates available to their subscribers and strong backing, it would seem that bidroom are all set to take on the big OTA duopoly that currently exists and they are in a great position to be able to achieve this. It would seem the future is bright for bidroom and for hotel owners and revenue directors too! So stop sitting around complaining, wishing you could regain control of your revenue and help bidroom to give that control back to you.