You’ll be aware by now that Booking.com have rolled out an ‘Early Payment Scheme’ in relation to hotels with the option of payment through credit card – here’s what they themselves have to say about it:

”At Booking.com, we can facilitate guest payments for you – in a way that suits your property’s needs. We pay out to you either by virtual credit card or bank transfer, according to your property’s policies around bookings. Until now, a lot of international travellers might not have been able to book your property because their preferred payment options haven’t been available. Now we support alternative payment solutions like PayPal, Alipay and WeChat Pay, so more guests will be able to make a booking with you.”

OK, so ultimately, what is it?!

The Early Payment Benefit Scheme is essentially an automatic price equalization system through unilateral discounts. By shopping around across sites including your hotel website, Booking.com source the cheapest price available, discount this, and provide the guest with the lowest rate available. So, for example: if your site’s rate is €90, and you’ve given a rate of €100 to Booking.com, they may decide to match your rate of €90. They will cover the cost of the €10 difference themselves to help ensure they secure the booking.

The gentle balancing act continues

The relationship between hotels and OTAs can be beneficial, but it can also be a complex process to manage. We have long advised prioritising your hotel and its book direct strategy over OTAs, however they do provide essential exposure and help to fill rooms during low-demand periods.

It’s just important not to lose sight of your number 1 priority: direct bookings! Direct bookings are the most cost-effective way for your business to receive revenue.

Take a look at some ways to keep your book direct strategy fresh, and remember to consider:

  • Offers that are built for the right audience
  • Add-ons that appeal to the right audience
  • Promotions guests will only avail of by booking direct

In the long run, you’re increasing your hotel’s profitability, guest loyalty and brand, by making book direct your strategic focus. If you want to find out more or talk to us about your book direct strategy, contact us at hello@netaffinity.com