Online hotel distribution? Who needs it.
So may scoff untold numbers of independent hotels which are popular enough and set in their ways to shun electronic distribution.
Take Hotel Tiquetonne in Paris. EuroCheapo, a website specializing in European hotel deals and reviews, describes the one-star Hotel Tiquetonne as "a massive, creaky and fabulously feminine place, providing 45 homey rooms at very low rates."
EuroCheapo lists Hotel Tiquetonne as an Editor's Pick even though you can't book the hotel through EuroCheapo.com using affiliated booking engines such as Booking.com, Venere, LateRooms, HostelBookers or HostelWorld, for instance.
Pete Meyers, co-owner of 11-year-old EuroCheapo, says hotels such as Hotel Tiquetonne, the two-star Celtic Hotelin London and Larchmont Hotel in Manhattan "do not offer online booking because they don't need to."
Hotels of this type "are often small, family-run one- and two-star hotels that have a faithful clientele and fill up quickly," Meyers says. "They don't want or need to sign a contract with a reservations agency and pay a commission."
EuroCheapo takes in about 78% of its revenue from hotel commissions, but isn't making any money directly from listing these types of non-bookable properties and informs users that you can't book them online.
And, you can't even perform an online booking for Hotel Tiquetonne on its own website. Instead, there is an online form you can submit and the property's phone and fax numbers are displayed.
So why does EuroCheapo even list these types of properties when it earns its keep on hotel commissions?
"We feel that including hotel recommendations in our guides regardless of their bookability makes us a more comprehensive and helpful resource to our customers, who are focused on finding great budget hotels," Meyers says. "And not surprisingly, some of these small non-bookable properties are among the most popular on the entire site. Taking them down would be a disservice to our readers."
You won't find any information about Hotel Tiquetonne on Booking.com or Expedia, but to its credit, TripAdvisor displays the property and offers 115 user reviews about it.
TripAdvisor has a booking widget, with links to Booking.com, Expedia.com, Hotels.com and Agoda.com, within its Hotel Tiquetonne display, but clicking "See Hotels" will trigger a general Paris hotel search with no trace of Hotel Tiquetonne.
In these times when much attention is focused on Priceline's and Expedia's global hotel growth and how many properties they feature in their online portfolios, it is easy to forget that there are a ton of bargain hotels that don't see electronic distribution as their calling.
Note: Slightly off-topic, but...
Pete Meyers of EuroCheapo discussed these non-bookable hotels and provided an update about EuroCheapo at the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) conference in Brooklyn, New York, May 5.
In a priceless anecdote, he revealed where EuroCheapo got its initial $20,000 seed money -- by selling the rights to the URL www.antsypants.com.