Believe me, nothing wrong making some money. But I do think it should be in a more ethical way than the OTAs do. For example how Booking.com handles. At the beginning of the pandemic they single handedly cancelled all bookings without consulting the hoteliers. Then they went on to receive €100 million in state aid. Only to lay off 6,000 employees of which 1,000 in the Amsterdam headquarters. After changing the rules, Booking awarded the 4-strong management team with a €26 million bonus. Only after pressure from the public Booking decided to return the €100 million aid. That is not the way to run a business.
Hoteliers and hosts have become too dependent on the OTAs. And as all accommodations are presented in the same standard manner, and usually selected on price and location only, customers tend not to fit the niche a hotel is looking for. Certainly there are alternatives. There are niche specific OTAs like Mr&Mrs Smith, HIP Hotels and Tablet Hotels. Or ‘soft brands’ like Small Luxury Hotels, Design Hotels, The Leading Hotels of the World and Relais & Châteaux. But distribution costs with these organisations are even higher than the regular OTAs. Direct booking would be the most cost effective solution, but how do customers find your hotel on the web? And niche websites and blogs promoting hotels like The Aficionados, WelcomeBeyond and Pretty Hotels lack a booking service.
DNA Hotels provides an answer. With our highly targeted website/blog and other media channels we reach the people who care where they stay. Who are looking for authenticity, real experiences and true connection. Not the bargain hunters who just want to have a place to sleep for the lowest price possible. And we connect those customers directly with the hotel, without the use of a middle man. Without an OTA customer service, as we believe the hotel knows best.
My experience is that DNA Hotels lacks a booking service and that an annual membership fee system does not resound with most hoteliers. And that I could significantly could grow the number of members – the feedback from targeted members is promising -, and therefore visitors to the site, with such a booking service. Plus, other websites and (social) media channels who also lack a booking service could benefit as well*. At 10% commission entry into the DNA Hotels platform should be a low threshold.
I have tried to built such a booking system myself, but it turned out to be to large and to far away from my real passion, which are independent, authentic and inspirational places to stay. That there is a market for this idea proves Moonback, another Dutch initiative taking on Booking, who raised €2 million in crowdfunding for a similar idea. Moonback uses a system called OpenGDS, which I want to purchase and built my direct booking system around.
As I operate in this specific niche, the costs setting up this direct booking system is much lower. I am looking for one or more co-founders. For a one-time investment of €3.500 I offer a three year period of commission free bookings for all your properties, in stead charging a 1€ fee on each sale. After this period benefit from the low 10% commission rate. This way it is possible to completely earn back that investment. Plus I offer extra exposure on the site. Not to mention you are making a difference for independent hoteliers and offer a true alternative to the OTAs and high cost marketing associations.
Like to know more and discuss? Let’s talk!
My name is Chiel Nobels (that is me in the picture), Dutch but South African born and Amsterdam resident of 30 years – which by the way I am soon swapping for a small place on the beach. I also lived in the Dutch Caribbean and in Portugal. From an early age on I have been fascinated with hotels. I started collecting brochures, touring hotels and setting up my own archive. My dream was to go to a hotel school, but as I was most interested in sales and marketing, choose an education in that specific field. After university I ended up by chance in the world of social housing and real estate. But my passion for the hotel business never died and with the internet came the possibility to become an expert in the field of boutique and design hotels. After learning about affiliate marketing I decided to take the plunge and – 10 years ago – start my own website called stylehotelsweb. A little later I launched charmhotelsweb, which featured small, usually family operated hotels. Together they were merged in present-day DNA Hotels, a curated guide to authentic and inspirational places to stay.
With DNA Hotels I am on a mission to become the #1 platform for authentic and inspirational hotels. A one-stop website where people can find little pockets of happiness. Places that make people smile. To enjoy local culture, food and drinks. Living a sustainable lifestyle as much as possible. From old time classics to new hipsters. For everyone, #inclusive. You can be a part of it too.
*affiliate partners (publishers) would share in the commission earned for any sale promoting your hotel(s)