About Booking Basic and other news: although the OTA dresses in silk

Revenue 14/04/2021

At this point, we are all familiar with the Booking Basic program, through which the OTA offers third-party inventory from its group (Agoda, Priceline, etc.) if it can provide the end user with a better price. Nothing new.

However, what is new, and by "new" we mean something that has not been around for too long and is, to our knowledge, in the experimental phase, is the custom disguise they have tailored for it.

Yes, we have a mole at Booking, and it's called Price Seeker. Thanks to our price monitoring tool, we detected the arrival of the Early Payment Benefit in the past and more recently, this change that Booking Basic has undergone, and its possible consequences for price monitoring.

Find the seven differences

In its renewed attire, which they wear only on certain occasions (according to them, the choice of appearance depends on customer purchasing behavior patterns), the striking combination of black and orange is replaced by a more discreet aesthetic in soft blues, dark gray texts on white backgrounds, accompanied by a quite explanatory message that bluntly attributes the offer to a Booking.com partner company. Surely, it sounds familiar. Additionally, as before (this has not changed), the user is informed of the reservation conditions: prepayment and non-modifiable.

But we wouldn't go to the trouble of writing an article just because Booking Basic opts for a more casual look, at the expense of its corporate uniform. In fact, we noticed the good news when reporting an incident in one of the periodic reports from Price Seeker. The functionality in question comes with a small delay between the first price shown on the screen and the final, resulting from the offer. We're talking about just one or two seconds that, while practically imperceptible to the user, can be a headache for scrapers.

Booking Image
Alternative to the usual aesthetics of Booking Basic

What is the reason for this evolution of such an established product?

Honestly, we don't know. Perhaps, the term "basic" doesn't quite convince, giving the impression of devaluing the product. Or maybe modernity, implicit in the original chromatic aggressiveness, causes rejection. Or it could simply be that they are testing the effectiveness of a clearer and more direct message, synonymous with transparency, to see how their target audience reacts.

What seems obvious is that behind this initiative is the intention to find new ways to attract a specific profile of traveler, in addition to minimizing the impact of price monitoring tools that detect and correct disparities, benefiting direct sales. If it has affected us, it is more than likely that it is also disrupting the results of your technology provider. And worse, Booking is fully aware of it. Obviously, we are already working on it, and it's just a matter of days before we overcome this unexpected obstacle, but we still wanted to alert you.

Updates in online payments

With the entry into force of the new payment regulations, Booking.com has once again struck gold, a topic we already mentioned in March in our article "Booking.com starts 2021 very strong." So much so that just a month after that, there are significant changes in its payment policies, aimed at making things even easier for hoteliers and, in the process, ensuring payment management. A juicy piece of the pie that leads them to air the new conditions on their Extranet, undoubtedly more favorable for their clients, as an enticing bait. Will you also take the bait?
  • Now online payments are only made with Virtual Credit Cards: this is the solution they have given so that the hotelier can charge the NRF at the time of booking, previously the main drawback of this payment method.

  • Reduction in the commission of virtual cards: they have negotiated with banks to reduce the commission from the previous 2-3% to 1.96%. Another argument in their favor.

  • Very soon, also real-time transfers: in a few months, they will again offer the option of charging their payments via bank transfer. However, by then, they will have completed an internal development so that the NRFs can also be charged, at the time of receiving the reservation, through this payment method.

Image improvements in online payment conditions on Booking's Extranet
Announcement of improvements in online payment conditions on Booking's Extranet