How they steal your direct bookings!

So, you sign up an online booking company and you start paying your 15% commission. But do you really know what you’ve let yourself in for?

We expose:

  • The Online Advertising Myth
  • The Pimping your Name Ploy
  • The Great Pay-Per-Click Con
  • The TripAdvisor Trick
  • The Swindle

The Online Advertising Myth

Once you’ve signed up with or for example, you might, quite rightly, feel that you are making your business completely accessible to the online marketplace. And you are… but in name only! In reality, these sites hide your contact details and your e-mail address so that it’s impossible for customers to contact you direct. They are, of course, protecting their 15% stake at all costs!

This is unlike sites like for example which, while they charge 10% commission on every booking taken, will openly display your contact and website details for any customer wishing to book direct. A much fairer system by far and much better for customers who may wish to speak with you directly about their specific accommodation or catering needs.

The ‘Pimping Your Name’ Ploy

How many times do customers arrive at your premises thinking they have booked directly with you but actually they have booked via an agent’s site?

Online booking companies, such as Expedia, will take the liberty to list you on other sites. You will know nothing about this of course, but if and when someone does book via these sites, you must pay them 15% + VAT.

The Great Pay-Per-Click Con

Did you know that you may regularly be the victim of underhand PPC tactics designed to steal away your direct bookings?

Check this out for yourself: Google your hotel name and town and, hey presto, although your hotel may be listed, there’s a strong chance that above it, in a larger, sponsored link, is “ hotel name”.

Now, imagine a Customer does exactly the same search. Unfortunately, although your Customer was looking for your hotel by name with plans to book direct, he or she will very possibly click the first obvious link and end up booking via It makes no real difference to the customer at this stage, however this ‘stolen’ opportunity will cost you 15% + VAT for the pleasure!

The TripAdvisor Trick

TripAdvisor doesn’t automatically display your website details or phone number so that people can contact you! And why? Because this site is fully-owned and operated by Expedia of course – a tremendous touch of wizardry on the part of the world’s biggest online booking corporation!

If TripAdvisor truly was a consumer-driven site and completely unbiased in its approach, then surely it would include direct contact details or at least have weblinks for free? It also wouldn’t be reliant on advertising and affiliate income. But, hey! Parent company, Expedia, is one of the 15% or more bunch who work extremely hard to direct traffic to their or other high commission booking agents!

Even if you do pay the large fee to put your contact details on TripAdvisor, they place this above the compare prices box connecting to all those 15% agents!

One Yell of an Experience on

If you list on the UK’s but fail to take out their preferred (and more costly) advertising option?  Then guess what… it’s not your phone number that appears. Instead your customers will be given the ActiveHotels 0845 number. This means that your calls will automatically be directed to the ActiveHotels Call Centre.

Similarly, if your customer clicks on the link that provides it takes them straight through to and that’s another 15% + VAT hit coming your way! Happy days!


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