If you’re a small accommodation provider and you’re wondering why you keep hearing about the controversial Price Check Widget by TripTease, look no further.

Here’s what happened, and what it means for your bed and breakfast, inn, small hotel, or guesthouse.

What happened?

The largest online travel agency (OTA) in the world, Booking.com, has taken legal action against TripTease because of its Price Check Widget.

TripTease’s Price Check Widget sits on the result pages of hotel websites, showing the prices for a room at a property at 3 different OTAs. The consumer can then compare the hotel’s direct rate to that of the OTAs and select the best deal.

According to the Priceline Group (who own Booking.com), TripTease is “unlawfully accessing” data to collate information provided on the widget.

TripTease maintain that they aren’t doing anything illegal. However, they removed Booking.com from the Price Check Widget shortly after hoteliers were threatened with legal action by Booking.com.

TripTease is now putting Booking.com rates back into the widget because many of the 8,000 clients they have are asking for it.

Why did it happen?

TripTease say that they believe in providing transparency and improving the guest relationship between the guest and the hotel. As such, they aren’t concerned about the implications for OTAs and believe that OTAs shouldn’t have anything to hide.

Accommodation providers love the widget, because it strengthens their most profitable channel: their website. Consumers who click through from other websites to the hotel’s own website will be tempted to book direct as opposed to doing so with an OTA. In fact, TripTease claim that their widget can increase direct bookings by up to 35%.

It’s evident that if these numbers are true across the board, Booking.com could miss out on a lot of would-be commissions paid by hotels.

What does it mean for small hotels?

Hotels of all sizes are starting to recognize the value of having technology in place that – combined with your property’s website – helps you to increase direct bookings.

The challenge is to do it in a way that doesn’t jeopardize your existing OTA partnerships. After all, you still need a healthy split between direct and third party bookings so you’re not putting all of your eggs in one basket.

As for what comes next, we’ll have to sit tight and see how it plays out.

In the meantime, you can learn about how you can master your online channels by downloading our free ebook.

Sources: TnoozEye for Travel

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of Little Hotelier, the all-in-one software solution purpose-built to make the lives of small accommodation providers easier. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at Little Hotelier. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance, and, ultimately, value for small accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations (and live their life).