Hi Brian you say:
While RoomKey’s marketing methods may need some adjustment, the idea behind it – a booking site built by the hotels themselves – is a good concept.
This has happened in the past in the hostel industry (or sector) many times with equal bad results. I can think about one example that we all know and few others that never got anywhere.
Of course I’m talking about Gomio. When I started working in this sector it was the next big thing but it didn’t work for a simple reason, no enough money to invest.
It was a great idea, but no one (hostels) was ready to put their money where their mouth was. Or said in a more fair way, at the end was more expensive to pay for PPC than the 10% commission for HWB (HostelWorldBookers)
The best thing it came up from it was the conferences. Bookings... almost none.
This is not the only example, but it is the most known. There is others of some companies that actually got somewhere, but then they stopped being hostel owners and become OTAs owners.
My humble opinion is that Hostels have enough giving an amazing service to clients worldwide. They have revolutionised the way of spending few nights in a destination, they added the social element to it and created something genuinely new. This alone is a huge task. In my opinion independent hostels are better off paying a commission rather than investing money in something they do not know anything about.
Also it is worth pointing out that OTAs (Hostel OTAs) charge a ridiculous low commission, if you compare it to the ones that other accommodation providers like hotels or apartments pay, which is another reason to forget about joining forces to create a new OTA.
Now with mergers and hotel OTAs going into this sector, it may be too late to even think about it.
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