How do you book a hotel?

By | Category: Travel news

the Roman Baths in…Bath

In days long gone by, if you wanted a hotel for the night you rang the hotel. If you didn’t know which hotels were available you could contact the local tourist board and they would provide a range of options and then book.

Later you could use a booking agency or a hotel chain asking them what they had available in  a certain destination. When the internet age dawned, you could contact a comparison website to see what was available and how much it would cost. Or you could go to one of the international booking sites, check the reviews and consider whether you believed them or not. Along came meta search sites that compared all the rates at the other sites.

Meanwhile the hotelier found that he or she was being asked to pay substantial sums to feature at the front of a long list of hotels in that particular destination. Not paying meant that business might be lost and, on top of the high commission that some of the sites charge, it left profits dented.

What was being lost was the local knowledge that often persuaded you to stay, a knowledge that was not completely replicated by reviews.

One city – Bath – is hitting back by operating its own website.

More than 100 independent accommodation providers in Bath, including B&Bs, small hotels and self-catering properties have collaborated together to launch, a new digital initiative to encourage guests to book directly with properties, therefore eliminating booking fees.

At present over 20% of the available overnight options in the city, and all members are independently and locally owned and managed. But who these days, just wants a website to book accommodation. People expect more and has responded by being able to access information, recommendations and exclusive offers in ‘real time’ for the city’s many independent retailers, tours, activities and restaurants.

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