Expedia VS. Booking.com – Bed & Breakfast Innkeepers Speak Out

How Hilton Might Be Helping You

Hilton Might Be Helping You – Hilton’s second year Book Direct campaign has launched and is giving them big increases in direct bookings – but it might also be working for you.

Consumers are starting to get the message – they might get more value by Booking Direct. One reason Hilton wants more direct bookings is because many of the online travel agencies used by so many customers don’t share guest data until the date of arrival. Sound familiar?

Take advantage of this new mind set Hilton ads are helping with. Make it easy for guests to book direct when they land on your website:

Show quickly how much they are saving. Two great hotel examples for book direct home pages.

More direct bookings require a gorgeous well-crafted & well-worded home page.


Supreme Court ruling last week could mean more ADA lawsuits

The Supreme Court ruling last week (not to take on the Domino’s ADA compliant website case) is predicted to increase ADA non compliant website law suits.

Some lawyers say the high court’s silence is a loud proclamation that inaccessible websites violate the ADA.” Others say it echoes a void of guidance on the issue.

Read on one blog – “Lawyers are … licking their chops over last week’s supreme court ruling.”

Read more on Law.com

Also here


Question of the Week

What reservation system is working for you?

Last week, an innkeeper wrote about their plan to leave Eviivo – what reservation system do you recommend?

Send your reservation system experience to




What We Heard This Week About Expedia VS. Booking.com

“We don’t pay anything to Expedia. We simply tell them what we want for the room and then they can add whatever they want to the price and they keep that. So, if I don’t want to give a discount, I charge the full $200 and expedia can charge an extra $50 if they want a commission.” Inn with 2 rooms.

“We get 90% of our bookings from Booking.com and they are all from abroad. Our direct bookings run 5-9% of our total.” East coast inn.

“I have been on both Booking and Expedia for a few years. Here are the differences I see:

  1. “Communication with guests:  Booking does not allow you to email your guest directly (you receive a generic email) so if they don’t check their Booking.com account, they don’t see messages. Expedia passes along the guests actual email.   
  2. “Cancellations: We have a MUCH higher cancellation rate with our Booking guests – almost 40%. It feels like the guests just make a bunch of random reservations in the general area where they hope to travel and then start weeding them out as their itinerary solidifies.
  3. “Reconciling:  It is MUCH easier to reconcile changes or cancellations with Expedia.  Booking makes it so difficult that I usually end up paying commission on canceled or altered stays because I don’t have the time or energy to call and talk to someone to get the change made.
  4. “The main reason I’m still on Booking is because it does bring in more international guests that I don’t think I would reach otherwise, but the past few months have been so irritating that I’m thinking of using Expedia exclusively. I hope this helps!’ Amy

For the Experience of More Innkeepers Click Here


ForFriends Inn

Dave Pollock On Expedia vs Booking

– Both charge 18% commission for the ‘Hotel Collect’ model. I’m not familiar with their other transactional models but fear they involve them holding funds until check-in which we’ve always found to be unacceptable.

– Both strongly encourage the use of Promotions to convey a sense of value to their site visitors. Our experience has been that simple of discounts of 5% or 10% are inadequate to garner much attention. Instead, in our experience, 25% to 30% has proven to be the threshold.

– Both offer member programs (Expedia calls their program ‘Member’ while Booking refers to their program as ‘Genius’). They are similar in that they offer their best customers additional promotional discounts of 10%.

 inns must ‘Mark-up to mark-down’. Commissions of 18% and discounts up to 35 or 40% will put an inn out of business very quickly. So, inns must ‘Mark-up to mark-down’. Supporting the value proposition of the higher base price structure can be a real challenge.

– Both essentially dictate the cancellation policy and both offer a small group of policy choices. Each consistently encourages the inn to offer Free Cancellation but without any disincentive placed on the guest, we would anticipate receiving an untenable number of cancellations. We recommend the option of 50% non-refundable deposit with the reservation with a 2-week fully non-refundable.

– Both assign Market Managers to service the inns and hotels. However, in the case of smaller properties (such as ours with 8 rooms), we are usually serviced by a team of less experienced hotel support people who we have found to be well intentioned but sorely lacking in any real hospitality experience or any real understanding of the business dynamics of a small operation.

– Both offer last minute promotional tools, but neither comes close to the level of last minute visibility enjoyed by HotelTonight.

 Based on the guest demographic, Booking seems to have greater visibility in Asia and with Asian Americans. Most European and domestic guests seem to come to us through Expedia.

– Booking’s Promo tools are generally easier to use than Expedia’s.

– Booking’s phone support is almost always answered more quickly and by more helpful and knowledgeable folks than Expedia.

– Finally, in an attempt to protect/grow revenue, both have extended their model to include short term rentals and other types of offerings. Further, as a rule, neither applies filters to an initial search. In other words, prospective guests will often find our listing adjacent to types of properties which are completely different – and often unfairly less expensive because they are in the AirBnB/VRBO space (that is, taxes not required). The inn must rely on the guest to then, as a second step, apply a filter to find the exact type of property for which they were likely seeking in the first place. Hope this is helpful. Always happy to chat via phone is someone would like to call to discuss.


Overlook Farm Inns

Fix the Most Painful Website Problems

We developed a Fix-It Package recently as we saw more and more problems that are affecting inn’s bottom line, lowering the search, and countless SEO problems and now – ADA compliance issues.

Some of these problems are complex – but not to our nerdy programmers.

The 10-hour Fixit Package can be just the thing for tweaking SEO, removing or updating old dated material, or fixing the all important title tags that can draw in thousands more searches for what you offer. There’s also back end technical requirements for speed and ADA issues.

Did you read the recent Paii report – the web guy who refused to learn about ADA requirements for his innkeeper client. Just said, “I’m not doing that.”

B&B Inns and hotels have different requirements than a website for a local dry cleaner or dentist so local designers can actually hurt your business

You could pay 10 x the Fixit Package if you have a monthly maintenance fee.

Contact DRingler@iLoveinns.com for a quick turn around.