We all know that the most important thing in traveling is to take care of all the crucial aspects of your accommodation, such as location, standard, facilities, etc. This is where Booking.com helps. If you plan to spend more than one day somewhere far from your place, you need your hotel to be trustworthy and proven. With the help of this invaluable online service, you can be sure that all the accommodation that you book is always checked beforehand by thousands of users and the owners of the site themselves.
What is Booking.com?
If we agree then that accommodation is a quite important aspect of our trip, we should think about the best way to book it. In fact, we could hope that the hotel we choose will have free rooms when we get there, but do we need that additional stress? Prior booking is a much safer option. Thanks to the newest technology, we can book a room without going outside. We don’t even have to call the hotel, because all we need is an internet browser or a mobile application.
Booking.com is an example of an Online Travel Agency (OTA) which differs from traditional travel agencies significantly. First of all, you don’t need to talk to a physical person who will present specific offers to you. Instead, you’ll be able to personalize offers according to the criteria chosen solely by yourself.
How does Booking.com work?
Booking.com is equipped with its own search engine that allows you to find the perfect accommodation for you. All you have to do is type specific criteria that will allow the engine to present offers adjusted to your preferences. When you type your destination, you’ll see a list of hotels in the vicinity of a chosen location. It’s much more convenient than looking for each offer separately, using Google. This way you can easily compare the results. When you look at the prepared list, you’ll be able to compare the offers according to prices and distance. You can also type the price bracket so that you can see only those accommodation offers that you can afford. Booking.com also allows you to specify what type of room you look for, which means that you don’t have to check detailed offers of each hotel.
When you choose the perfect room, you’ll be able to book it without the necessity to leave the website or application. Just follow the instruction and you’ll easily book a room and make a payment. Thanks to this, you don’t need to focus on bureaucracy so much because Booking.com will do much of the job for you. Once you’ve booked your room you can be sure that it will be ready for you on the day of arrival. But remember to make sure you’ve typed everything properly so that you don’t have to worry later.
Where does Booking.com get its traffic from?
Booking.com gets a significant part of its traffic from referrals. One of its leading sources of referrals are TripAdvisor and Trivago. Such a tendency was noticed especially in Russia but of course, it may differ across countries. In the U.K., Germany and the United States, Booking.com doesn’t rely solely on external referrals because most of the traffic comes to it directly. But it doesn’t mean they are not useful. On the contrary, the second major source of Booking.com’s traffic are referrals from Trivago, TripAdvisor and Kayak. Although generally, OTAs compete with one another, a lot of them are incorporated by bigger companies. That’s why these brands cooperate when it comes to referrals. It allows them to get much bigger traffic which, in turn, leads to a bigger income. The biggest company that owns travel search engines is Booking Holdings. Apart from such giants as Booking.com and Kayak, it acquired many other companies including HotelsCombined and Venga. The only genuine rival of Booking Holdings is Google. The tool called Google Hotels is quite profitable but does it really pose a threat to Booking.com? The Google Hotels’ search results include external websites and of course such OTAs as Booking.com or Expedia belong to them. It means that instead of fighting against Google Hotels, Booking.com gets traffic from it.
How does Booking.com make money?
You probably used the services of such booking systems as Booking.com, Expedia or Trip Advisor, but have you ever wondered how they earn money? Of course, when you book a hotel, using Booking.com, you have to pay for the hotel room but you don’t pay Booking.com any fee. How is it possible that it can exist without any direct payments from its users?
Booking.com belongs to Booking Holdings, a company with annual revenues of about USD 11 billion. It makes it ten times more profitable than Tripadvisor. 74% of them come from agency business model. What is agency business model? Although OTAs differ from traditional travel agencies, there is one similarity, i.e. commissions. It’s all due to the contracts that Booking.com concludes with hotels. It means that whenever you book accommodation through Booking.com, Priceline Group gets 10%-30% of the booking value. As we can see, they don’t need to take money from you to earn.
Why is it profitable for any hotel to invest in this booking system? Booking.com is the unquestionable king of all OTAs, which means that most travelers know about it and use it. There are a lot of travelers who don’t visit official websites of hotels because using an OTA is much faster. That’s why it’s highly probable that when you run a hotel, you can attract much more guests by using Booking.com. Without it, you’d be able to rely only on your official website and social media. It may be not enough in modern times when people tend to choose fast and convenient options, whatever they do. Some hoteliers may be discouraged a bit when they find out that having a contract with OTAs is necessary for them to keep their business going. But on the other hand, that may be the key to run very effective marketing. Especially if you have attractive offers.
Online travel agencies and digital advertising
It goes without saying that when it comes to popularity no individual hotel can compete with such a giant as Booking.com. The reason is simple: no hotel can afford it. Hoteliers must balance their costs in a detailed way because they can’t afford a situation in which the cost of advertising is not adequate to the hotel’s income. In the modern world, digital advertising is the most important aspect of marketing. If a hotelier spends an exorbitant sum on a large campaign, it will surely bring some attention but they can’t be sure the results will be as satisfying as expected. Is Booking.com different in these terms? Yes, it is. Since this online travel agency cooperates with many hotels around the world, its owners don’t have t worry about stable income. They’ll get their money no matter what, simply because it’s the number one in the travel market. That’s why Priceline Group can afford to pay a lot of money for digital advertising. There is no doubt that it’ll pay out. The owners of individual hotels don’t have such a certainty, which is why they must be more cautious. Instead of trying to compete with the market giants, they should – and they do – cooperate with them.
It can be easily checked by a simple experiment. If you start googling names of random hotels, you’ll see that in most cases Booking.com links will be higher on the Google ads than those belonging to the hotel itself. Such a rank can’t be ignored by any business owner, including hoteliers. As a result, Booking.com deals much better with customer acquisition than any individual hotel. That’s why hoteliers don’t hesitate to sign a contract with Booking.com. Although it may seem expensive (10-30% of the value of online booking is a lot of money if we talk about the most popular hotels) it can result in a bigger number of guests and, of course, bigger income.
Can Booking.com be trusted?
Can Booking.com be trusted? It can, which of course doesn’t mean it’s one hundred percent safe because nothing is. Especially when we talk about something as popular as Booking.com. There are so many users that it would be impossible to guarantee total safety to all of them. But if we compare it to similar websites it really stands out. Why is booking.com better than the competition? In the market, you can find a lot of websites and applications designed by some random IT students who don’t want to rely on their pocket money anymore. There’s nothing wrong with it but the lack of experience and lack of professionalism may lead to some serious problems. That’s exactly what makes Booking.com stand out. It was designed by professionals and is operated by professionals. They can provide you with special packages that increase your safety. If some unfortunate event occurs they can compensate your costs.
Star rating and reviews at Booking.com
Another aspect that makes using Booking.com safer is the system of rating. Whenever you use the services of a given hotel you can rate it. How does rating works? When people rate a specific offer, Booking.com displays the average grade the hotel gets. Of course, it’s not entirely reliable because we can’t always verify if everybody rates justly. It’s the same with reviews. Many guests rank a hotel with the lowest star only because of one small problem that made them angry. On the other hand, there are those who give the maximum of stars simply because they want to be nice. However, it may still be helpful. When you see a hotel with a thousand of responses and 80% of them are negative, you can assume there is really some problem with it. Thanks to this, you can avoid shady offers and choose only those promising. Remember that when you already use the services of a chosen hotel, you can also rate them in order to help other travelers make a decision.