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Look who was caught red-handed! 

After working with the hospitality industry for a few years assisting hotels to combat the lies and deception promoted online by the large international Online Travel Agencies (OTA’s), it comes as no surprise that their treachery has now been discovered!

According to the Australian Federal Court, Trivago, the Netherlands-incorporated giant has been caught in its deception of promoting hotels that provided the most revenue to them through advertising.  Trivago has been promoting itself on TV screens every night during the Australian tennis season, as being impartial, objective and a transparent hotel price comparison website. Instead it was announced to the world last night by all the major Australian news feeds and papers, that Trivago is actually a conniving, hypocritical,  insincere trickster of the general public. The Guardian What a surprise!

For years hotels have struggled to compete against these massive OTA’s, who have been extorting 15 -20% of their earnings.  It is difficult to compete with these giants who have bottomless pockets of marketing dollars. Hence our Chat2Concierge service has evolved to assist hotels and tourism to meet this challenge.  When a visitor arrives on a client website, our team of professional engagement specialists are there to engage, promote the business by sharing specials, answering questions (pre-approved responses) and placing the buying and booking link directly in front of the visitor to click and buy in the moment they are looking to buy!

Dick Smith alerted everyone to the treachery carried out by the OTA’s 18 months ago when he explained in a video of how millions of dollars were being extorted from businesses into the pockets of huge international conglomerations.   You can view this video at Dick Smith reveals OTA extortion

Trivago has been holding hotels for ransom, as Trivago’s contractual terms work under a “cost per click” (CPC) agreement, where hotels have to pay Trivago a fee, if a consumer clicks on the booking site’s offer through Trivago. The CPC was payable by the hotel whether the consumer made a booking or not! Trivago fined as ACCC wins case in federal court over misleading conduct

The company was also found guilty of providing false and misleading price comparisons as they compared a standard room rate with a luxury room at the same hotel, saying they were providing a cheaper price when they were just offering the normal priced standard room in comparison to a luxury suite. 

Working with our hotel clients and conversing with their online visitors, we regularly receive questions regarding price comparison with OTA’s.  Questions come in the form of: 

“I was just on agoda.com or booking.com etc etc  and they are offering $150 for the deluxe room, but on your website it is more expensive.  So why should I book direct?”

We educate these visitors on the importance and benefits of booking direct on the hotel website. Benefits like no booking fees, no cancellation fees, easy to add to and amend booking, supporting the local economy and many hotels offer incentives for booking directly like upgrades, cheaper breakfast, vouchers to use in the hotel or a discount on the displayed price through free memberships.

Even yesterday, a visitor from the Agoda website arrived on our client’s hotel website and asked:

“Hey, Agoda are offering $30 breakfast – what is included?”

We reply along the lines:

“I am so sorry, we don’t know what Agoda offers, though we offer a $19 full buffet breakfast when you book direct with us!”

In this instance, the visitor replied with: “Great, I will book direct in that case.”

By encouraging direct bookings with hotels, our clients get to pay less commission to the OTA’s and keep more revenue in-house for spending in the local economy either through employment, refurbishing using local trades or even sponsoring the local footy club!

Now the deception of the OTA’s has been revealed publicly through the Australian courts, it is likely more and more visitors will now be visiting hotel websites directly to ask the question.  It’s important for you to be there when this influx of visitor traffic arrives through this current news story and your vistior is looking to book! So be there in that moment your online guests can be guided around your website, have their questions answered, promotions shared and most importantly quick access to the direct hotel booking link.

We have 2 upcoming free live sessions online to share with you the results our hotels are seeing online with an increase in direct bookings.  If you are interested in attending any of these four sessions just click on a link below and we look forward to meeting you online. We have a special offer in these sessions for January only and if you are in any of the fire affected areas in NSW, QLD or  S.A. currently we are offering our services at no cost for 2 months.

Click to book Tuesday, January 28th 10.30am – Hospitality/Tourism live session

Click to book Thursday, January 28th 6.30pm – Hospitality/Tourism live session

With Trivago, the court is still out on the fine to be paid but it looks potentially in the realms of only $1  million, despite this extortion has been going on for years! Thoughts?