#BookDirect is all about the love

The Parlour

For regular readers of our stories, you will have noticed our piece a few weeks ago about the pleasures of staying somewhere independent for your leisure or business trip. We talked about our members who provide a second to none service with dedication at the heart…

Well, we are loving the #bookdirect campaign on social media right now. Dancing Dave is reminding us that it is booking direct that will put the spring back in your step.

I have spent many years working with tourism businesses and booking platforms have been nothing more than a double edged sword. Time and again I have heard the story that businesses start to use them as a result of a kind of FOMO (fear of missing out) and panic that somehow their business will collapse if they are absent from Booking.com or Expedia. They often get lovely results to start with – more bookings and a fuller diary but then the fun starts. Not only are their very slim margins being squeezed to unsustainable levels, but they lose their connection with their customers. Pressure is applied to discount or offer free cancellation up until the day of arrival and to allow customers to avoid paying a deposit. Not only is this a big ask for a small business but it is also asking them to financially behave in the same way as huge organisations like IHG or the Whitbread group.

The worrying result is that small accommodation owners are then left with empty rooms when uncommitted customers simply cancel at the last minute or don’t show. Credit cards that are entered as security don’t work or, even when customers arrive, they don’t really understand where they have booked. I have heard sad stories of small B&Bs being treated like a low budget corporate hotel with little love or respect. I have heard owners lamenting at guests who arrive very late at night assuming that they run a 24 desk with room service.

I would never say to one of my clients that avoiding 3rd party booking platforms is essential but helping people understand the impact of them is vital if we are to retain the gorgeous, dedicated, quirky, special, small & independent places to stay across Great Britain which are where the love really is in UK travel.

Follow #bookdirect and #belikedave and share with all your friends. Discover independent places to stay in our Member Directory or beyond and find the love in your overnight stays again.