Difficult to find a hotel for your stay in Montpellier in mid-August on Booking.com. Most have, however, still rooms available, but they decided to remove them from the platform to the Dutch reservation to encourage customers to book direct. Their target : the commissions deducted, deemed to be too high, but also the "methods dictatorial" company, pointe Camille Galtier, president of the Club hôtelier du grand Montpellier, at the origin of the sling.
Born in Amsterdam in 1996, Booking.com is quickly become a gold mine for hoteliers, tucking customers around the world by referencing them on a single platform and easy-to-use, and which enables professionals to improve their fill rates. But with time, the platform has become a must... and too greedy.
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Commission to the head of the client
On average, it takes 17 % of the total amount (taxes included) for a reservation. "On a room at 100 euros, he remains less than 75 euros after the commission, of which 60 euros of the loads, details of the hotel from montpellier. We get less than 15 euros, this is not enough to continue to invest in the hotel. "
"The commission varies to the head of the customer," says Camille Galtier. It's going to of 10 % for the group or the string that has the strength to negotiate, up to 25 % for the hotel isolated and dependent. "" Not only is there no parity between the institutions, but the commissions vary from one city to another, abounds Frédéric Puech, president of the Club des hôteliers du Cap d'agde. It is 17 % on average when The Large Mound next to it is 15 %. "
They are asking us efforts while they are in better health than us.
As the hotel in montpellier, he and his colleagues in the Cape of Agde had launched a movement of protest against Booking.com last summer by posting their rooms to 1, 000 euros for the night. And they are not the only ones, as throughout France, the anger rises : to Ajaccio, the hotel owners are also trying to boycott it by withdrawing their rooms of the platform, when those of the Vaucluse rose their prices by 400 to 500 %.
For one night in mid-August, most of the hotels from Montpellier are displayed complete Booking.com (in grey). Rooms are still available on their sites. © Screenshot Booking.com
David against Golliath
The ras-le-bol is not new, but the containment has made the vase overflow. The hoteliers have not digested the methods of Booking.com, who has prepaid bookings customers without telling them. "It's not that we didn't want to do it," warns Camille Galtier. But if we take the competitor Hotels.com for example, they called us to say that they were going to do. "
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If war is declared, the battle seems unbalanced in the face of such a giant. So much so that the platform spends fortunes in the purchase of keywords on Google – more than $ 4 billion in advertising spending in 2019 – to be inescapable : when we type the name of a hotel in the search engine, this is his page on Booking.com that appears first. And despite the requests of discussion, rants, and boycott campaigns, the Dutch "do the ostrich," says Frédéric Puech.
"A marketing channel is very profitable business,"
Contacted by The Point, Booking.com promises to be "chosen" by hoteliers " because we are to them a marketing channel is very profitable, which gives them bookings all over the world, creating fair conditions of competition between small independent hotels [...] and hotel chains established everywhere." As to the repayments made during the containment, the platform assumes its policy – "We believe that it is both fair and equitable" – and reminds us that the classic conditions apply to bookings made since 5 April.
" We encourage currently to the travelers to book their trips cancelled because of the pandemic, on which Booking.com does not take any commission to partners ", adds the company. "That it does not concern a lot of people, it is a decoy," says Camille Galtier.
It is necessary for clients to know that the price difference goes into the pocket of Booking.com.
Difficult for hoteliers to completely close the valve Booking.com. The platform represents on average 30% of occupancy rates, up to 80% for the most dependent. "Hoteliers are well aware that they are eaten by these platforms," notes Patrice Mounier, president of the Union des métiers et des industries de l'hotellerie (UMIH) of the Vaucluse.
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Making the pedagogy from customers
Since the State has retoqué in 2015 as a condition of Booking.com that required the hotel to post the best rate on the platform, most of them affecting the commission, and offer a cheaper rate for bookings made online on their site. Professionals rely on the pedagogy to encourage customers to book directly with them for their next stay. "They need to know that the price difference goes into the pocket of Booking.com who does not pay taxes in France ", says Patrice Mounier.
A strategy that is beginning to bear fruit. "It was less of a sales Booking last year and more live : mentalities start to change," says Frédéric Puech. In his hotel, 25 000 euros, which leave each year into the coffers of the platform. "If I can already retrieve 10 000 euros, it is all that we can reinvest in the hotel. "What dream of for a rebalancing of the forces in collaboration with Booking.com. "We must work with them, we need them", he acknowledges. But they also need us to, and we cannot be taken by the throat like that. "