Booking.com’s rise in Europe seems to be unstoppable. Though they may sometimes resent its dominance, it has offered big new opportunities for independent hotels and B&Bs in particular. Smaller properties that can’t rely on the “brand” advertising of a large chain are able to use Booking.com as a platform to massively increase their visibility. They frequently pay a pretty big cut for the privilege, but there’s always the opportunity to convert Booking.com customers into repeat, direct bookers.
There are signs, however, that Booking.com is trying to control hoteliers – and squeeze them financially – more and more. Some of its strategies are outlined by Pedro Colaco (president of GuestCentric) in a recent guest article for travel tech website Tnooz…
Fairly or unfairly, the classic image of B&B owners is of people over a certain age: usually a couple who have either retired or decided to get out of the rat race. This not only underestimates how stressful B&B ownership can be, but also ignores the growing trend for people to choose it as a career much earlier in their lives. At theBandBer.com we’re always keen to challenge outmoded views of the business, so we were delighted to hear from Marin & Allison, who own the lovely Pines of Dresden B&B in Dresden, Ohio, an hour away from the state capital, Columbus.
Having met one another in Malibu, fresh out of college, Marin & Allison spent seven years travelling across large parts of the western and southern United States along with a large part of Asia. In 2006, after four years of living in Japan, they decided to return to the USA and open their B&B. I was intrigued to find out what made them choose B&B ownership as a career and what their experience of it has been like so far.
In the past, we’ve talked about the fact that female travellers (particularly female business travellers) tend to favour B&Bs more than their male counterpoints, because they appreciate the friendliness – and feeling of security – that comes from staying in a smaller property that is often family-run.
The good news for owners of B&Bs, inns and guest houses is that, according to new research, women are not only travelling more, but are also having a greater influence on travel decisions – both business and leisure.
Premier Inn and Travelodge continue to expand aggressively into the UK accommodation market. Premier Inn now has over 600 hotels in the UK and Ireland, while Travelodge is not far behind with 499 at the last count. Both brands also spend a huge amount of money on advertising. It’s hard not to miss their deals on the web. “Rooms from Just £19 Per Night!” “£12 Hotel Room Sale!” they scream. It’s easy to imagine owners of bed and breakfasts and independent hotels feeling somewhat overwhelmed as these corporate monsters devour everything in their path.
As we’ve mentioned many times already, B&B owners benefit enormously when they don’t have to struggle in isolation. Strength in numbers is what theBandBer is all about. So it’s great to be able to talk about an inspiring example of B&Bs getting together to support one another, boost their collective profile and drive new business.