Dick Smith Calls the Internet to Task on Commissions

Dick Smith is always looking out for the small Australian business and in his latest rant he’s called the Internet to task for the way they are siphoning off a huge amount of money from the Australian accommodation industry. I have to agree…the internet is no longer the friend of these small businesses.

10 to 15 years ago you could make a website for a small accommodation operator and it was always good value. Anecdotally we saw across a broad spectrum of accommodation types in many localities (rural, city and destination) that a business could usually fill at least 35% of their room nights with direct bookings made from their website. These are high value bookings because they have the best customer brand awareness and they don’t cost commissions. What’s not to like?

Now direct bookings are down because Google has decided to cash in on commissions. First Google changes the format of search results shifting the business off the top of the page to favour commission paying websites; Booking.com, Wotif, and others. They display availability and rates within the search results directing guests to click into paid ads. It is very unfair, but Google probably doesn’t agree. They own search and they can do what they like.

But I think at the very least they should pay tax.

About Mark

Founder of Web Reservation Systems, focused on helping businesses in the Australian Accommodation travel sector get more value from Internet Marketing. Originally, we opened up in 2001 as a supplier of Front Office Software linked to Online Booking facilities. That allowed motels and hotels to add booking buttons to their websites as well as sell through Global Distribution Systems. You could say this was an early 'Channel Manager' because it allowed the property manager to simply control price and availability for a diverse array of wholesale and retails websites. Next, we started building websites to profile our customers (Australian Holiday Guide). That lead to building websites for customers as a favour. Now do about 80 websites a year using BurgundySky and Joomla. For small businesses I recommend using BurgundySky as it is very easy to start and manage. Joomla is also great, but harder to install and maintain for a small business. Our web design business is based in Byron Bay, NSW. Byron Bay is a great place to live and work. I have 2 kids (15 and 17) who are both born here and my wife, Shobhan Oliver) is a successful artist.
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