|Travel Affiliate Warnings|
If your an travel affiliate with any major network, be warned that a small percent of hotels are starting to disable their available inventory through a system call Pegasus "hotel booking back-end used for all hotels"
What does this mean:
Hotel are still showing on your White Label or non white label sites, and the links are available from any links to from your websites", BUT if a customer attempts to make a booking they will be warned that the hotel doesn't have any rooms available.
But if the user calls the hotel directly or visit the hotels own website they will be able to make a booking. "without you earning a commission"
1. You could be promoting a hotel that you can't earn commission own.
2. Hotels don't want to remove their site completely because people would not be able to find them, so basically they are using your sites as free advertising to direct people to them, who after attempt a failed online booking calls them directly and make a booking.
Use Hotel Search where only hotels with available rooms are shown, and force users to enter a date "instead of browsing Hotels, then entering dates"
Identify hotel that are claiming no rooms available, call and verify. If the online status and offline status disagrees, remove that hotel from your system, and send a email to your affiliate manager.
I just found this out the hard way. after about a month of paid and non paid promotions.
Why are some hotels doing this?
Money. typically hotels have to pay a 10% commission to the network, which is shared with the affiliate.
Hotel want to cut out the middle man, keep the 10% commission, and instead have people book through their own site instead of large network or affiliate sites.
Book people don't usally find hotel by browsing their sites, they search using online hotel site that list all hotels.
Good for them, bad for affiliates.
Nice catch, however
|But if the user calls the hotel directly or visit the hotels own website |
What are the chances of someone using a booking engine ends up calling or care to find the hotel's website? Phone numbers and URL-s are typically not listed in booking sites.
What's a good affiliate program to use?
Well if word gets out that certain booking sites/networks are shaving from the affiliates, they will soon have a mass exodus of affiliates and a bad name.
Have you ever tried to find an independent hotel? Unless you already know the name and location you will usually have the first page of the SERPS swamped by booking sites giving you a choice of chain hotels miles away from your preferred destination. Frustrating though it may be for affiliate marketers I can understand why hoteliers may try and game the system to actually get found through Google, even if at one remove.
sounds pretty normal to me.
i used to work in the travel industry and hotels only sell a fixed number of rooms to the middle men. the rest are sold to the public at a higher rate (the normal rate).
if you look at expedia now, for example - or any other hotel site - then there will be loads of hotels showing as unavailable, but i bet you any money they still have plenty of rooms. they wont give them to the middle men though, because they'd have to offer them at a lower rate.
expedia won't remove the hotel from their site though, just because they've sold their allocation of rooms, because they still want it showing up in user searches. its normal.