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.